Upon arrival Thursday morning, President Biden and first lady Jill Biden receive a command briefing from Incident Commander Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Gov. Ron DeSantis, local leaders and first responders.
For now, due to the instability of the remaining portion of the collapsed condo building, search and rescue efforts have been suspended. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the search and rescue operation will begin again when it’s safe to proceed. However, she stressed that President Biden’s visit today won’t effect what happens at the scene. The President will not be visiting the disaster site due to the danger the unstable structure poses. Governor Ron DeSantis said almost 14-hundred tons of debris have been removed from the clean-up site.
(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden is traveling Surfside, Florida, Thursday following the devastating partial collapse of a beachside condominium building that has killed at least 18 people.
The president departed the White House early Thursday morning and will spend nearly eight hours on the ground in Florida, where the White House says he will thank first responders engaged in the ongoing search efforts, console the families affected by the disaster and meet with local officials about the operation. He is set to deliver remarks at 3:50 p.m. ET. First lady Jill Biden is accompanying him for the visit.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki says the visit has been closely coordinated with officials on the ground to ensure that it does not divert any resources away from search and rescue operations.
“They want to thank the heroic first responders, search and rescue teams, and everyone who has been working tirelessly around the clock, and meet with the families who have been forced to endure this terrible tragedy waiting in anguish and heartbreak for word of their loved ones, to offer them comfort as search and rescue efforts continue. And they want to make sure that state and local officials have the resources and support they need under the emergency declaration,” Psaki said earlier this week.
The collapse occurred around 1:15 a.m. local time last Thursday at the Champlain Towers South condominium in the small, beachside town of Surfside, about six miles north of Miami Beach. Approximately 55 of the oceanfront complex’s 136 units were destroyed, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Raide Jadallah. At least 145 residents are still unaccounted for.
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