(CNN Spanish) — Terror. Loss. And thanks for being alive. Some of Ian’s victims speak out from behind the onslaught of a cyclone stronger than many had seen so far in their lives and also than they had imagined.

Roberto Maqueira remained at his Sarasota home with seven other people as Ian passed by. The living room was the only room in the house in which they could stay. “It wasn’t easy, really. it was pretty scary“, he said about the passage of Ian, now a tropical storm, which according to forecasts will make landfall again in South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane. Maqueira explained that what he heard from outside seemed like roars: it was the sound of bushes colliding with each other. against others and trees falling.

By 07:00 pm the power had already gone out in the entire neighborhood and so, without electricity, they remained locked up. “Imagine yourself locked in four walls, all dark, then you just heard ‘boom, boom, boom’ on the roof of your house”, told in an interview with Ana María Mejía. Added to those noises, she said, was the sound of the windows: it was as if someone was pushing them to try to enter.

His is just one of the testimonies of the fear that the inhabitants of Florida experienced with the passage of the hurricane, which left at least 15 dead according to the records until Thursday afternoon. One such death occurred in Osceola County, where a woman spoke to a reporter from CNN affiliate WFTV as she walked with a young girl by the hand. “We lost everything,” she recounted.

Ian is affecting the citrus industry in Florida 1:14

In his family they were only able to rescue a few things that they were carrying: some clothes and important papers in a bag. But along with despair, the woman also felt gratitude for having been saved. “Thanks god, thanks to the neighbors who took us out the window“he counted.

Ian is carried up to the roof of a hospital with patients

In Port Charlotte, the cyclone took away the roof of a hospital ICU on Wednesday where there were patients. “It’s pretty terrible,” Dr. Birgit Bodine, an internal medicine specialist, told CNN at the time. The staff had to move patients to another room, but then the water came down the stairs to other floors and more patients had to be moved to beds that were placed in the passive and another area of ​​the hospital that remained dry.

As of Thursday morning, they still had water in the hallways but the patients were safe.

Caught in a “war zone”

A war zone. This is how the mayor of Fort Myers, Kevnis Anderson, described the situation in one of the areas strongly affected by the hurricane. “I have never seen a cyclone cause so much damage in this area before”he told CNN.

In Fort Myers, Thomas Podgorny remained trapped in his two-story house with three other people, watching vehicles float outside and worrying about others who had not evacuated.

“I lost my house. There’s water and gas flowing downstairs,” he told CNN Wednesday night. The situation of his neighbors, according to him, was also complex since they had very little space in which to breathe normally inside their one-story house.

Another couple was trapped in their home when the roof collapsed. Belina Collins recalls her partner saying, “There’s something dripping on me.” She got up and immediately the ceiling collapsed.

Multiple homes were destroyed. For example, that of one of those affected who told CNN en Español the following about her house: “She’s screwed up, completely screwed up. The refrigerator is on the floor, the sofas are upside down, the toilets are on the floor, there is water in our closets, everything is flooded, everything is ruined. We took as much as we could, but we didn’t think it would be that bad.”

Fast-motion video shows Hurricane Ian flooding streets in Fort Myers 0:53

In his case, according to the testimony, there is at least one standing structure to return to. Many don’t even have that.

On Fort Myers Beach”there’s literally nothing to go back to,” Councilman Dan Allers said, describing the devastation that reached a level “that no one anticipated or expected.”
Allers estimated that 90% of the island is gone, including businesses that have been there for decades and have withstood multiple hurricanes.

“When I say it’s gone, I don’t just mean the inside of the houses. They’re brick houses, they’re houses that were on stilts, they’re wooden houses,” Allers said. “Everything has disappeared.”