BREAKING NEWS – Biden declares major disaster in Florida: President frees up federal funds for state with Hurricane Ian ‘killing hundreds’
- President Joe Biden approved a ‘major disaster declaration’ in Florida Thursday
- Makes federal funding available for at least nine affected counties
- Grants will help homeowners and business owners recover from the storm
- Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday and left 2.5 million without power
- Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said Thursday morning he ‘confirmed’ that fatalities are ‘in the hundreds’
Joe Biden declared a ‘major disaster’ in Florida early Thursday morning after Hurricane Ian made landfall, leaving 2.5 million without power and potentially hundreds dead.
The president’s declaration makes federal funding available to nine counties on the Gulf Coast of the Sunshine State. The funding could include assistance for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to help cover uninsured property, among other programs.
The cost of repairing and reconstructing homes from the storm damage could cost up to $260 billion, according to property experts CoreLogic.
The grant programs available through the federal funding could also help individuals and business owners recover from damage done by the storm, the White House noted in a statement on the major disaster declaration.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno, whose jurisdiction includes Fort Myers, told Good Morning America on Thursday morning that he has ‘confirmed’ fatalities are ‘in the hundreds.’
The formidable hurricane blasted ashore with catastrophic force on Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 storm, packing sustained winds of 150 mph and barreling homes with an 18ft wall of water in some areas.
President Joe Biden approved a ‘major disaster declaration’ in Florida on Thursday morning to free up federal funding to assist with damage incurred by Hurricane Ian
Hurricane Ian is barreling its way across Florida, leaving a devastating trail of destruction in its wake as scores of people remain trapped in their flooded homes and two million are without power
Clean-up efforts will not begin for some time as much of Florida remains underwater.
Fire crews and police officers have been inundated with calls from people trapped in flooded homes. Others are posting on social media pleas for themselves or loved ones to be rescued after they chose to ride out the storm at home rather than listen to evacuation orders from Governor Ron DeSantis and FEMA.
Rescue crews have been unable to reach those asking for help so far due to the ferocity of the winds and flooding, according to the GOP governor.
‘Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide,’ Biden’s major disaster declaration adds.
The National Hurricane Center said Ian became a tropical storm over land early Thursday, but is expected to regain near-hurricane strength after emerging over Atlantic waters near the Kennedy Space Center later in the day.
The storm will head toward South Carolina for a second U.S. landfall.
A time lapse video from Fort Myers shows the devastating flooded water streaming in and flooding streets. Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno, whose jurisdiction includes Fort Myers, said Thursday that fatalities are ‘in the hundreds’
A woman is helped climbing out of a muddy area in Tampa, Florida after Hurricane Ian made landfall on Wednesday, September 28
Biden announced in his major disaster approval that Thomas McCool, with the Government Accountability Office, was appointed as the Coordinating Officer for federal recovery efforts and operations in areas affected by Hurricane Ian.
‘My heart is just breaking for the people in these communities right now, because they have experienced absolutely catastrophic impacts from this,’ Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell told CNN on Thursday morning.
‘There’s parts of this community that have just been devastated.’