Biden Will Visit The Surfside Condominium Collapse This Week
Updated June 29, 2021 at 6:48 PM ET
The White House says President Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Florida on Thursday to view firsthand the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium.
Asked by reporters if he planned to visit Surfside, Fla., Biden said, "Yes, I hope so, as soon as we can. Maybe as early as Thursday." The White House issued a formal announcement of the trip shortly afterward.
The official death toll has risen to 12, with some 149 people unaccounted for since last week's collapse.
The Biden administration has responded to the disaster, dispatching Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell to the scene this week.
"[The agency] has deployed an Incident Management Assistance Team as well as building science experts, structural engineers and geotechnical experts to support search-and-rescue operations, and a mobile command center," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.
Psaki said the Army Corps of Engineers is providing technical assistance for debris removal. Two FEMA-supported search-and-rescue teams are also involved in the response to the collapse.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has praised FEMA and the Biden administration for "stepping up to the plate" in providing assistance in the search and recovery effort. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Biden's upcoming trip would be "an important reminder that our county, our state and our nation are giving everything we have to search for the victims of this tragedy and support the families in this incredibly devastating time."
The Bidens plan to meet with family members and thank responders in Surfside.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management is urging people with information about loved ones who are either unaccounted for or known to be safe to call 305-614-1819.
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