The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is in south Florida on Sunday, coordinating with officials as the official death toll in the Miami-area condominium collapse rose to at least nine people, with some 152 building occupants remaining unaccounted.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell met Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Surfside, Fla., Mayor Mayor Charles Burkett and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. Criswell tweeted that she made the trip to Florida “to support the ongoing response efforts in #Surfside. We are working with state & local officials to provide resources and help alleviate the hardship and suffering caused by the recent building collapse.”
And she added that FEMA’s seeking “to identify any federal support that’s needed” as first responders “work around the clock on response and recovery efforts.”
DeSantis on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Miami-Dade County, shortly after the building collapse of the Champlain Towers South. The governor’s move cleared the way for President Biden on Friday morning to approve emergency aid from FEMA, which is sending technical experts and staff to support the recovery effort. FEMA added that three urban search and rescue teams are also poised to help.
Biden emphasized on Friday said his administration was doing everything in its power to assist the response efforts. “It’s a tough, tough time. There’s so many people waiting. Are they alive, will they be, what’ll happen? And so our heart goes out to them,” Biden said.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday he walked the site of the building collapse that morning and has seen “substantial progress” since Saturday afternoon, pointing out that despite complications caused by heavy rains overnight “that hasn’t stopped the waves and waves of rescue people here on sight all the way from Mexico and even Israel to pull our residents out of this rubble.”
Fox News Danielle Wallace contributed to this report