Biden to visit hurricane-ravaged Florida and Puerto Rico

Hurricane Ian devastated elements of Florida after making landfall on Wednesday. There’s a rising worry that search and rescue efforts will reveal a staggering loss of life depend as rescue groups proceed to search for individuals trapped by flood waters. Ian has killed at least 44 people, in line with experiences from the state’s medical experts.

Greater than 1.1 million properties and companies have been nonetheless with out energy on Saturday. The state, with the help of federal and native responders, had carried out greater than 700 rescues, Florida officers mentioned Friday. Greater than 1,300 search and rescue staff have been searching for survivors on Saturday, officers mentioned, together with 5 groups from out of state.

“We’re simply starting to see the dimensions of that destruction. It’s prone to rank among the many worst within the nation’s historical past,” Biden mentioned Friday. “You’ve all seen on tv properties and property worn out. It’s going to take months, years to rebuild. Our hearts exit to all these people whose lives have been devastated by the storm. America’s coronary heart is actually breaking.”

The restoration efforts round Hurricane Ian have additionally threatened to overshadow the devastation wrought on Puerto Rico by Hurricane Fiona. That hurricane, which struck the island two weeks in the past, has left greater than 200,000 individuals nonetheless with out energy.

The Biden administration has confronted criticism from group and nonprofit leaders on the bottom, together with frustrations that the federal authorities didn’t initially cowl all of Puerto Rico within the president’s catastrophe declaration, in addition to the gradual switch of federal assist to communities dealing with catastrophic flooding.

Some Puerto Ricans fear their restoration will develop into additional stalled because the federal authorities turns its assets and a focus to the destruction attributable to Ian. Talking at FEMA on Thursday, Biden mentioned he stays targeted on the “restoration of the island,” and he repeated his dedication to Puerto Rico on Friday.

“We’re going to stick with it, keep at it, for so long as it takes,” Biden mentioned.

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