The Federal Emergency Management Agency has prepared its largest-ever search and rescue in the wake of Hurricane Ian’s destruction in Florida, Administrator Deanne Criswell said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“We pre-positioned the largest amount of search and rescue I believe we’ve ever set up before,” Criswell said.
FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue teams, the Coast Guard, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Defense will work with Florida officials to search for people missing after Hurricane Ian, which caused catastrophic flooding, Criswell said.
At least 1,100 rescues had been made in Florida since the storm, Governor Ron DeSantis told a news conference Saturday.
“There’s been a great outpouring of support and I’ve seen a lot of resilience in this community of people looking to pick themselves up and get their community back on its feet,” DeSantis told reporters. “We will be here and we will help every step of the way.”
The news comes as President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden announce they will travel this week to devastated areas as the United States recovers from the death, dangerous flooding and devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Ian.
The White House announced late Saturday that the Bidens will visit Puerto Rico on Monday and Florida on Wednesday.
Hurricane Ian last
- Search crews race to rescue stranded survivors.
- 864,000 customers are still without power in Florida.
- At least 85 confirmed storm-related deaths have been recorded in Florida and North Carolina, according to a count by state officials and a count from NBC News.
- The president and first lady will visit Florida and Puerto Rico this week.
At least 82 storm-related deaths have been confirmed in Florida and another four in North Carolina since Hurricane Ian slammed into the state last week with winds of 150 mph, according to a tally by state officials and a tally by NBC News.
After Ian was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory late Saturday that the storm was dissipating over southern Virginia. Still, it caused flooding and power outages in the Carolinas as the extent of the damage came into view. At least four people have been killed in North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper announced Saturday.
With rescue efforts underway and water receding in places littered with destroyed homes, local officials warned that the magnitude of death and destruction left behind by Ian may be just beginning to come into view.
Puerto Rico is still grappling with the effects of Hurricane Fiona, which, according to the island’s health department, has killed 25 people since hitting US territory last month.
No further details about the Bidens’ trip were released, but the president expressed concern about the areas ravaged by the storms at a Congressional Black Caucus award dinner on Saturday night.
“Our hearts … are heavy, the devastating hurricanes, storms in Puerto Rico, Florida and South Carolina. And we owe Puerto Rico a lot more than they’ve already received,” Biden said.
Nearly a million customers still had no electricity, data from PowerOutage.us showed Sunday morning, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency announcing that some generators purchased by residents for medical needs are covered by tax dollars.
Residents who lost power after the storm hit areas under Biden’s Declaration on Major Disasters are eligible for refund, which for now only includes Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties of Florida. Additional areas could be designated after damage assessment, according to the White House.