What did Biden say about Hurricane Ian rescue and rebuilding efforts in Florida and South Carolina?
The President has promised a swift federal response as dozens are confirmed dead as a result of the storm.
On Friday Hurricane Ian made landfall for a second time, hitting the coast of South Carolina after wreaking havoc on Florida earlier in the week.
As the system moves inland it is beginning to lose momentum and was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone in the hours after coming ashore again. However officials in South Carolina and Florida continue to warn of the risk of a severe loss of life, while alerts have been issued in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia too.
With millions of people contending with a widespread clean-up effort, President Biden gave a speech at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Headquarters in Washington, DC to issue an update on the federal response.
He thanked the FEMA workforce for their tireless efforts: “You know, they’re always going to be above and beyond; they’re running toward danger and — to save lives. Most people want to run away from it; these guys run toward it.”
What will Biden do to help those affected by Hurricane Ian in Florida?
Although the powerful winds have started to die down, Biden was at pains to point out that there are still millions of Americans who are suffering as a result. He emphasised that the associated risks of the storm still remains, despite the downgrading of its severity.
“We’re continuing to see deadly rainfall, catastrophic storm surges, roads and homes flooded. We’re seeing millions of people without power and thousands hunkered down in schools and community centers,” he said.
Biden said that he had approved a request from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue an expedited major disaster declaration, freeing up funds for the relief effort.
The President said that the “federal government will cover 100 percent of the cost to clear debris and for all the costs that the state has to do — has to engage in and expend to save lives.”
Anyone in Florida who suffered as a result of the storm can claim up to $37,900 for home repairs and another $37,900 for lost property, regardless of their insurance status. Thousands of National Guard members have been activated to assist the search and rescue effort, while the Department of Defense is also making additional agents available to aid FEMA’s response.
Biden approves emergency declaration in South Carolina
Two days after Hurricane Ian came ashore in Florida the system did the same in South Carolina, causing widespread flooding and power outages along the coast. On Friday, as the state was braced for the storm, Biden declared a state of emergency and “ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts.”
By Friday at least 45 people had been reported dead as a result of the storm and the dangerous conditions could condition for days to come. In Charles County, where the storm came ashore in South Carolina, officials announced that shelters will remain open to the public until 4pm on Saturday, at the earlier.
Biden the declaration issued by Biden reads: “FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency” in South Carolina.
Fortunately the state appears to have escaped the worst of the storm, but South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster wrote on Twitter that residents should remain extremely cautious.
“This storm is not as bad as it could have been, but don’t let your guard down yet. We are not out of the woods, there is water on the roads, still heavy winds, and it is still dangerous in many parts of the state,” he said.