In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, President Biden continues to direct his entire Administration to prioritize lifesaving actions and ensure delivery of essential services and support to survivors across multiple states.
The recent steps the President has taken to ensure everything possible is done to help communities impacted by Hurricane Ian include:
An additional four counties in Florida were approved for Individual Assistance and Debris Removal as part of the President’s Expedited Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Florida: Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, and Volusia. This brings the total counties approved to 17, with additional assessments still underway, and over 87,300 households have registered for assistance.
The President approved an Expedited Major Disaster Declaration for the Seminole Tribe of Florida to make aid for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs available to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the hurricane.
Through the work of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Tampa Bay maritime community, the Port of Tampa Bay was reopened. This is a significant milestone that will help support Hurricane Ian recovery efforts across the state of Florida. The Port of Tampa Bay provides nearly half of Florida with its fuel supply and supports tens of thousands of jobs.
The President approved an Emergency Declaration for North Carolina early this morning, providing Federal assistance to support emergency preparedness and response efforts.
President Biden spoke with the Governors of Florida and South Carolina to ensure the needs of the State of Florida and the State of South Carolina continue to be met.
President Biden spoke with Lieutenant Commander Christopher Hooper and Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Zach Loesch to personally thank them for the heroic work that they and their Coast Guard colleagues have performed during search and rescue operations in response to Hurricane Ian. Over 3,500 people and nearly 140 pets have been rescued by U. S. Coast Guard, Federal, state, and local search and rescue teams. The number of Federal teams supporting search and rescue operations has doubled.
Power has been restored to 1.7 million customers in Florida. Nearly 44,000 utility workers from 33 states and the District of Columbia are supporting restoration efforts.
At the President’s direction, FEMA activated a medical support contract for ambulances and paratransit seats. All requested National Disaster Medical System assets arrived in Florida, including 400 ambulances, 15 bariatric paratransit ambulances, and four rotary aircraft to evacuate medically vulnerable individuals in nursing homes and other medical facilities as needed.
Supporting life-saving response work and surging support on the ground:
The Biden-Harris Administration has more than 3,400 Federal response personnel working in Florida and the Southeast. An additional 6 Federal Search and Response teams have been deployed to help evacuate survivors and search for missing people.
The President directed the deployment of an unprecedented Search and Rescue Coordination Group before the storm made landfall. This group, led by FEMA, began conducting search and rescue operations before daylight on September 29. Teams came from across the Federal government and included skilled rescuers from FEMA Urban Search and Rescue task forces, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, Customs and Border Protection, the Department of the Interior, and state and local responders.
At the President’s direction, the Army Corps of Engineers has now deployed over 550 personnel to conduct engineering evaluations about the safety of bridges, roads, and other infrastructure and to assess emergency power needs. They are installing generators to support critical infrastructure, focusing on hospitals and long-term care facilities, water treatment and wastewater plants, and public safety organizations such as 911 call centers.
The Department of Health and Human Services promptly declared a Public Health Emergency and deployed three disaster medical assistance teams to the region to support emerging health and medical needs.
Looking ahead to the urgent needs of hurricane survivors, the President has asked FEMA to focus on the housing needs of survivors as well as other immediate challenges they will face in recovering from Ian. FEMA Administrator Criswell established an interagency Recovery Leadership Team to proactively address the recovery needs of individual survivors and expedite assistance to those in desperate need of help.
Issuing Federal disaster assistance:
On September 29, President Biden approved an Expedited Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Florida, providing Individual Assistance and Debris Removal for 9 counties, and 100% direct Federal assistance for costs associated with search and rescue, sheltering, feeding, and other emergency measures to save lives for 30 days.
President Biden approved a pre-landfall Emergency Declaration for Florida on September 24, to ensure lifesaving resources and Federal responders were pre-positioned in advance of potential storm impacts. President Biden approved a pre-landfall Emergency Declaration for South Carolina on September 29.