BREAKING NEWS – Biden Declares Major Disaster In Florida: President Releases Federal Funds For State With Hurricane Ian ‘Killing Hundreds’
- The president declared a ‘major disaster’ in Florida
- Will make federal funds available to at least nine affected counties
- Grants will help home and business owners recover from the storm
- Hurricane Ian made landfall on Wednesday, leaving 2.5 million without power
Joe Biden declared a ‘major disaster’ in Florida early Thursday after Hurricane Ian made landfall, leaving 2.5 million without power and potentially hundreds dead.
The president’s declaration makes federal funds available to nine counties on the Sunshine State’s Gulf Coast. 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 to repair and rebuild homes from storm damage could be as much as $260 billion, according to property experts CoreLogic.
Grant programs available through federal funds could also help people and business owners recover from storm damage, the White House said in a statement about the major disaster declaration.
President Joe Biden approved a “major disaster declaration” in Florida on Thursday morning to free up federal funds to help with damage from Hurricane Ian.
Hurricane Ian is making its way through Florida, leaving a devastating trail of destruction in its wake, as dozens of people remain trapped in their flooded homes and two million are without power.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno, whose jurisdiction includes Fort Myers, told Good Morning America Thursday morning that deaths in his county are in the “hundreds.”
The formidable hurricane made landfall with catastrophic force Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 storm, packing sustained winds of 150 mph and leveling homes with an 18-foot wall of water in some areas.
Cleanup efforts won’t begin for a while, 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 pleas on social media for themselves or loved ones to be rescued after choosing to ride out the storm at home rather than listen to Governor Ron DeSantis and FEMA’s evacuation orders.
Rescue teams have so far been unable to reach those calling for help due to fierce winds and flooding, according to the Republican governor.
“Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for statewide hazard mitigation measures,” Biden’s major disaster declaration adds.
The National Hurricane Center said Ian strengthened into a tropical storm over land Thursday morning, but was expected to regain near-hurricane strength after emerging over Atlantic waters near the Kennedy Space Center later that day.
The storm will head toward South Carolina to make its second landfall in the United States.
Biden announced in his major disaster approval that Thomas McCool of the Government Accountability Office has been appointed Coordinating Officer for federal recovery efforts and operations in areas affected by Hurricane Ian.
A time-lapse video from Fort Myers shows the devastating floodwaters flowing in and inundating the streets. Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno, whose jurisdiction includes Fort Myers, said Thursday that the deaths are “in the hundreds.”
A woman is helped out of a muddy area in Tampa, Florida, after Hurricane Ian made landfall on Wednesday, September 28.