Gov. DeSantis lauds FEMA in latest Surfside condo collapse update

FLAPOL110420CH04 DeSantis
The Governor spoke with FEMA's Director Thursday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed confidence in the Federal Emergency Management Agency Friday, in the second day of recovery efforts in Surfside after a beachside condo collapsed.

The disaster at this writing has left four dead and 159 unaccounted for. DeSantis officially declared a state of emergency for Miami-Dade on Thursday evening, setting the stage for President Joe Biden to authorize federal assistance after some hours in which it wasn’t clear the ask would be made.

Addressing media at a press conference on a highway in the Panhandle, DeSantis lauded one part of the federal role. He said FEMA had been “great.”

The Governor was on Hannity Thursday night, but did not address FEMA’s role, so the information was new to the public.

“I was able to speak yesterday with FEMA Director Deanne Criswell and they were great. They have supported, some emergency assistance. Obviously the search and rescue is primary. Any lives, they’re trying to save lives. That’s clearly the most important thing,” DeSantis said.

The Governor spoke about the unimaginable scale of the tragedy and the relief efforts.

“We’ve had people working down in Surfside — search and rescue, nonstop through the night. It’s a very, very difficult situation. Obviously, you have people who have been displaced, who fortunately got out of there in time. And so there’s support services for them,” he said.

“Then you have a lot of family members who don’t know where their loved ones are. So it’s been a really, really difficult time for the state of Florida, and particularly for the Surfside community.”

DeSantis also addressed people who were “displaced.”

“The people who got out are never going to go back to living in that building, of course. And some of them have lost everything that they had and so there’s a need,” DeSantis said. “We’re going to provide support for that.”

“We have to figure out why did this happen, and the answer isn’t necessarily apparent right now, but it will be identified, and I think that anyone who was affected by this directly also wants that answered. But we need to know: Is this a bigger issue or is this something unique to the building,” DeSantis added.

DeSantis is headed back to Surfside Friday afternoon for three events, including an afternoon briefing with state and local officials, a visit to the Family Assistance Center, and a visit to the Shul of Bal Harbour.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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