President Biden addressed Federal Emergency Management Agency staff and the public on Thursday, following a briefing from FEMA experts, as Ian, now a tropical storm, continues to batter Florida.
At FEMA headquarters, the president declared in a grave tone, “This could be the deadliest disaster in Florida’s history.”
The National Hurricane Center reports that the storm is causing “catastrophic” floods in the state’s east-central regions, along with storm surges and wind gusts that will extend over the southern states. Ian slammed the western coast of Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, weakening as it moved inland.
Thursday morning, the president approved a disaster declaration for Florida, releasing government aid for the state. The major disaster declaration provides federal funding to Floridians in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties for temporary lodging and house repairs, in addition to low-interest loans for uninsured property loss. The federal government will fund all qualified debris removal and emergency protection measures for the first 100 days.
Mr. Biden met with Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, an outspoken critic of Mr. Biden’s economic, immigration, and COVID-19 policies, on Thursday morning to discuss what the administration is doing to assist Florida in the midst of the hurricane. The White House reports that the president and the governor have “agreed to ongoing close coordination.”
This morning, I spoke with Governor Ron DeSantis about the steps we are doing to assist Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
In addition, I’ve instructed FEMA Administrator Criswell to travel to Florida tomorrow to assess the response and determine where extra assistance is required. pic.twitter.com/W6MDDDepe2
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 29, 2022
This week, the administrator of FEMA will travel to Florida to inspect response operations and determine whether additional assistance is required.
In addition to U.S. search and rescue activities, the Pentagon has more than 1,200 high-water vehicles and 25 watercraft to support search and rescue efforts in Florida. Coast Guard efforts to save lives
Mr. Biden told FEMA employees that they are “doing an outstanding job” and “reinforcing people’s faith in institutions.”
Ian has disturbed the normal schedule in Washington, as the House select committee investigating the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 has postponed its Wednesday session.
Nicole Sganga provided assistance for this story.»Biden discusses Hurricane Ian with FEMA«