MIAMI – With the full picture of the widespread fallout and damages Hurricane Ian brought to southwest Florida still coming into focus, the Miami region looks on with a collective sigh of relief: What if that had hit here?

From Naples, just two hours west of Fort Lauderdale across Interstate 75, up throughout the greater Fort Myers, Port Charlotte and Sarasota region, many residents and parish communities are facing a challenging close to 2022 and with the holiday season just around the corner.

The post-Hurricane Ian landscape is expected to trigger housing, employment and other cost-of-living complications for the entire state and in particular on the Gulf Coast.

"We saw wind damage and heard stories of those who stayed for the hurricane and the trauma they went through but some areas we have been to saw significant flood damages, the waters had subsided but the needs are going to be there," said Peter Routsis-Arroyo, CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami.

He served as CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Venice before moving to Miami.

Routsis-Arroyo's remarks followed a second tour he took of the area following Hurricane Ian. He connected with his Catholic Charities counterparts in the Venice Diocese and offered moral support during stops at Churches and drive-up emergency distribution sites Fort Myers, Arcadia, Bonita Springs and more.

"When you have a house with 4 to 6 feet of water coming in, I don't know if this means your house is not going to be habitable or if you get some mediation done, but you will go through some pain and suffering while all of that goes on," he said Oct 5.

"And then there is the dealing with insurance companies, if you have insurance, and those who don't may be dealing with loss of employment or work, inflation, higher costs. It's all going to lead to making this a humanitarian crisis," he added.

Lee County, which also includes Fort Myers Beach, Pine Island and Sanibel, suffered most of the 119 fatalities related to Hurricane Ian, which made landfall on the state's west coast as a powerful Category 4 storm Sept. 28.

Eddie Gloria, Venice Catholic Charities CEO, has said the easiest way to understand where the damage is greatest is in terms of the central corridor of Fort Myers and Lee County along with dispersed pockets of rural communities throughout the greater 10-county diocese. These areas suffered flooding as river waters spilled over into neighboring housing.

Hurricane Ian brought heavy rains and gusts of 140 mph, but "it took a few hours to cross the town," said Father Luis Pacheco, the Venezuela-born administrator of St. Paul's Catholic Church in Arcadia in DeSoto County.

The parish of 600 families is in a farming and largely Spanish-speaking community inland from Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte.