DeSantis, Biden discuss search and rescue efforts at collapsed condo site

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Joe Biden talked by phone Friday about assisting search-and-rescue efforts at the site of a collapsed condominium building in Miami-Dade County. DeSantis said he spoke with Biden about an hour before a 2 p.m. news conference in Surfside. 

"He reiterated his administration's full support," DeSantis said. "They're all in, and so we really appreciate having the support of the president. And the people of Florida really appreciate the president and his administration stepping up to help people who are in need."

Biden earlier Friday approved federal assistance as crews continued working at the Champlain Towers complex and as dozens of people remained missing. 

"The president said his administration stands ready to provide additional resources and assistance that state and local officials need," according to a White House "readout" of the call with DeSantis. "The president expressed his gratitude for the heroic first responders and search-and-rescue teams who are working tirelessly and whose bravery and courage have saved lives. 

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The president also expressed his condolences to the governor and the people of the Surfside community, sharing his grief for the families who lost loved ones in this devastating tragedy and for the families who are waiting in anguish as search-and-rescue efforts continue." 


SURFSIDE, FLORIDA - JUNE 24: Search and Rescue personnel work after the partial collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 24, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. It is unknown at this time how many people were injured as search-an


SURFSIDE, FLORIDA - JUNE 24: Search and rescue personnel work in the rubble of the 12-story condo tower that partially collapsed on June 24, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. It is unknown at this time how many people were injured as search-and-rescue effor


Biden early Friday issued an emergency declaration that directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide assistance. 

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A frantic search continues for dozens of people still unaccounted for at the beachfront condo site.  Three bodies were pulled from the rubble overnight, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Friday morning.  At least 159 people were still missing, raising fears that the death toll could climb sharply. Eleven injuries were reported, with four people treated at hospitals.

Rescue personnel and others worked through the night in hopes of finding survivors. 

The 12-story building collapsed just after 1:30 a.m. on Thursday. The emergency declaration authorizes FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts, reimburse response costs, provide equipment and resources to assist with debris removal and emergency protective measures, and provide temporary shelter and housing for people who are displaced.

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