Biden approves Major Disaster Declaration for Florida; federal response efforts underway

by | Sep 29, 2022

  • The federal government on Thursday approved federal disaster assistance to Florida for local recovery efforts 
  • The Biden administration made available 1,300 federal response workers, 110,000 gallons of fuel, and 18,000 pounds of propane to directly respond to afflicted areas
  • Stateside, more than 800 local search and rescue teams are active throughout southwest and central Florida 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced on Thursday that federal disaster assistance has been made available to Florida to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Ian.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties.

The Biden administration allocated 1,300 federal response workers in Florida and has prepared 110,000 gallons of fuel and 18,000 pounds of propane to directly assist in immediate response.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell is scheduled to travel to Florida on Friday to observe response efforts and ensure recovery resources are available to survivors, making any changes if necessary.

The federal government additionally deployed a Search and Rescue Coordination Group comprised of FEMA Urban Search and Rescue teams, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, Customs Border and Protection and the state of Florida to help coordinate rescue efforts with local officials.

“Thank you [President Joe Biden] for quickly approving a major disaster declaration for Florida,” said Criswell on Twitter. “Everyone affected is — and will continue to be — a top-line priority for myself and the FEMA team. We’re committed to being present through the entirety of Ian’s response & recovery.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis this week said that he was optimistic that Florida would receive federal assistance, stating on Tucker Carlson Tonight that he spoke with President Joe Biden and got the sense that the government wanted to help.

“So, I actually spoke with the President, and he said he wants to be helpful,” DeSantis said. “So, we did submit a request for reimbursement for the next 60 days at 100 percent. That’s significant support, but it’s a significant storm.”

Massive damage was sustained as Hurricane Ian struck Florida’s Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm, taking an agonizingly slow-moving course through the region.

Flood waters were recorded as high as 12 feet in some areas, with videos on social media showing videos of entire houses being swept away in the undertow.

More than 2 million Floridians are still left without power, with the state’s largest electricity providers stating that damage to power grids was so severe that it may need to be entirely rebuilt in some areas.

Further, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said on Good Morning America that he fears there could be upwards of 100 fatalities in his county.

Stateside, search and rescue operations are underway with more than 800 team members performing search and rescue. The National Guard and the Coast Guard are landing helicopters on barrier islands to perform search and rescue.

Following DeSantis’ authorization, a total of 5,000 Florida Guardsmen have been activated to State Active Duty for storm response operations with approximately 2,000 Guardsmen from neighboring states also activated to assist.


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