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Florida death toll rises as criticism mounts

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Florida death toll rises as criticism mounts

The death toll from Hurricane Ian has reportedly risen to over 90 in Florida as rescue personnel continue to search for survivors.

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Officials in Florida have come under fire as critics allege residents in some hard-hit areas did not receive enough advance warning to evacuate.

At least half of the deaths recorded so far are in Lee County, where Ian made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane.

President Joe Biden is expected to visit Florida on Wednesday.

On Monday, Mr Biden visited Puerto Rico - which was struck by Hurricane Fiona just days before Ian truck Florida - where he promised $60m (£53m) in aid to help the US territory.

"We're going to make sure you get every single dollar promised," he said in the municipality of Ponce, parts of which were still without power on Monday.

According to the BBC's US partner network CBS, the hurricane's death toll in Florida climbed to at least 94 on Monday afternoon. Another four deaths have been confirmed in North Carolina.

The Florida District Medical Examiners Commission, however, has put the death toll at 58. The figures differ as while local officials may report additional storm-related deaths, the medical examiner's officer is only attributing a death to the hurricane after an autopsy is performed.

The majority of the deaths - 54 - have been reported in Lee County, which includes the hard-hit areas Fort Myers, Sanibel and Pine Island, Sheriff Carmine Marceno said at a news conference on Monday.

Mr Marceno said access to the Fort Myers beach area was being restricted to allow authorities to investigate deaths and to preserve potential crime scenes. He added that several arrests had been made after looting incidents were reported.