Washington – Mayor of Fort Myers, Floridaone of the worst affected areas Hurricane Jan last week defended the timing of evacuation orders issued by Lee County officials as the storm approached the southwestern region of the state, saying they “acted appropriately.”

“Hurricane season warnings start in June. And so there’s an element of personal responsibility,” Mayor Kevin Anderson said on “Face the Nation.” “I think the county did the right thing. The fact is that a certain percentage of people do not heed the warnings.

Lee County officials issued their first mandatory evacuation orders Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours before Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane. The orders also came after neighboring counties urged their residents to evacuate Monday ahead of the storm’s approach.

Hurricane Ian devastated the region, and CBS News found that at least 82 people in Florida have died directly or indirectly from the hurricane. Of those, 42 were in Lee County and 23 in Charlotte County. As of Saturday morning, officials from the US Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said about 4,000 people had been rescued in Florida.

In Fort Myers, crews are working 16 hours a day to restore power and water to homes and businesses in the area, Anderson said.

“Most of the damage was along the river and that was caused by the flooding. Yesterday I was in one of the hardest hit areas on the east side of the city,” Anderson said. “You can see that the new houses are intact and they are fine. But older houses, which were built lower and do not meet the current norms, suffered more damage. So having solidly good building codes is the key to this problem.”

Deanna Criswell, FEMA’s administrator, said the agency’s focus is on helping those Florida residents most affected by the hurricane.

“Right now we have a lot of staff, we have a lot of resources that are working across the state of Florida to make sure that we continue to do our first priority, which is to save as many lives as possible and get immediate help to those who need it the most right now ” she told Face the Nation.

Criswell, who visited Florida on Friday and Saturday, said she saw the scale of the storm’s destruction, with many homes “completely destroyed.”

“We’re going to make sure we’re bringing in the right people to help provide temporary support right now, but the long term is to help these communities recover,” she said.

She said the victim assistance agency is also going to work with partners like the Small Business Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help families and communities.

“We’re going to work together on what those unmet needs are and what their long-term needs are and make sure that we provide resources and support to those communities, temporarily and then long-term, to get those communities back on their feet as they recover.” Criswell said.

Sen. Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, told “Face the Nation” that when he worked with FEMA as governor, the agency was a “good partner.” But Congress also may have to provide emergency aid to help the state recover.

“We’ve made a commitment and we’re going to help our families, our businesses, our state and local governments, and as a federal government, we have to do our job,” he said. “Now we have to watch how we spend our money. So always try to find out how you pay for things.’

Scott noted that after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and while he served as governor from 2011 to 2019, the state updated its building codes to reduce the risk of hurricane damage. After that, he said, “we know we’re going to, you know, continue to improve our building codes.”

Criswell also said that people who lost their homes in the storm need to understand the risks as they begin to make decisions about rebuilding.”

“We have to make sure we have solid building codes because we have risks everywhere, we’ve seen damage domestically, and we have to have building codes that can ensure that our facilities can withstand the impacts that we given these severe weather events,” she said.