Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Missoula County All-Hazards Incident Management Team continues its efforts in Florida to help those displaced due to Hurricane Ian as they begin to dig out and rebuild their homes and businesses.

Communications Director Nick Holloway has been checking in with the KGVO Newsmaker’s line every morning with an update, and he started with Monday’s visit by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, after the Missoula team provided a tour of the affected area in an airboat.

Governor DeSantis holds a 'Meet and Greet'

“He went on that tour and then he did a little sort of impromptu press conference right after the tour where he talked to about 10 folks,” he said. “He talked about how Debris Removal is a huge concern down here. I think he did a great job and it was good to see him down here to show that we're doing something for the folks on the ground.”

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Holloway described more of what the Missoula team has been adding to the recovery effort.

“We brought in a Disaster Medical Assistance Team,” said Holloway. “The hospital here in North Port has been down for a couple of days, so we're setting up a mobile hospital with 80 beds to replace that hospital temporarily. The neighboring town has a hospital as well that's been closed but they're close to opening again.”

70 Percent Power Restored, with 95 Percent by Friday

Holloway said basic necessities are beginning to be transported into the area, as well as utility workers restoring power as quickly as possible.

“Things are looking pretty good here as far as fuel goes,” he said. “We had long lines for a couple of days but more fuel is coming into the area so the need for security has diminished as fuel becomes more available to people. Utilities are improving. Water is coming more online and power is also coming more online. I think we're down to about 30 percent of the community without power and we hope to have 95 percent of the town’s power restored by Friday.”

Temporary Funding Help for Rebuilding

Holloway said residents and businesses in the area are receiving temporary financial assistance as they begin to rebuild their town.

“We're just continuing to get utilities back on,” he said. “Debris removal is the really big one. Florida has a 30 day window from the time of the incident to get debris cleaned up and they'll get reimbursed at 100 percent. After that, they'll have to start paying it out of Floridians pockets with their taxes, so the quicker we can get that up and going, the better. The other thing we're trying to get going as quickly as possible is damage assessments. We've got 17 teams out there. We'll probably increase that in the next couple of days yesterday. We did 1,700 damage assessments and we just want to keep ramping that up.”

Holloway has been providing images of the hurricane’s destructive power that swept through the area last week.

KGVO hopes to continue with the exclusive daily updates from the Missoula County All-Hazards Incident Management Team.

The team is scheduled to remain in Florida for about two weeks.

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Widespread flooding wiped out roads, bridges, buildings, and powerlines throughout riverside communities from Yellowstone National Park and Paradise Valley to Red Lodge. The Yellowstone River winding through Billings crested Tuesday, June 14, 2022. At 11:30 a.m. the National Weather Service in Billings reported the river rose above flood stage and was forecasted to hit 14.7 feet, nearly hitting the 15-foot record set in 1997.

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