Biden to visit Surfside condominium collapse this week

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Updated June 29, 2021, 6:48 p.m. ET

The White House said President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Florida on Thursday to see firsthand the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium.

Asked by reporters if he was planning to visit Surfside, Fla., Biden replied, “Yes, I hope so, as soon as possible. Maybe as early as Thursday.” The White House released an official travel announcement shortly after.

The official death toll rose to 12, with some 149 people missing since last week’s collapse.

The Biden administration responded to the disaster by sending Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Deanne Criswell to the scene this week.

“[The agency] deployed an incident management support team as well as building science experts, structural engineers and geotechnical experts to support search and rescue operations, and a mobile command center, “said Monday the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

Psaki said the Army Corps of Engineers was providing technical assistance for the debris removal. Two FEMA-backed search and rescue teams are also involved in the collapse response.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis praised FEMA and the Biden administration to “keep up” by providing assistance in search and recovery efforts. Daniella Levine Cava, Mayor of Miami-Dade County said Biden’s upcoming trip would be “an important reminder that our county, state and nation are giving all we have to find the victims of this tragedy and support families at this incredibly devastating time.”

The Bidens plan to meet with family members and thank the responders at Surfside.

This is what we know on what led to the collapse. To follow more coverage on the consequences here.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management urges those with information about loved ones who are missing or known to be safe to call 305-614-1819.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.


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