Updated Jun 24, 2021 - Politics

DeSantis declares state of emergency after deadly Miami-area condo collapse

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) declared a state of emergency after a portion of a 12-story residential building in Surfside, Florida, collapsed at approximately 1:30 a.m. Thursday, according to AP.

The latest: The executive order will allow for federal assistance as the state continues its search-and-rescue operations. Officials have accounted for 102 people who lived in the high-rise Champlain Towers South, but 99 people remained unaccounted for by mid-afternoon, said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami-Dade County at a press conference.

  • Earlier Thursday, President Biden said that federal resources, including assistance from FEMA, were "ready to go" to respond to the collapse, CNN reports.
  • Paraguay’s foreign minister said Thursday that members of President Mario Abdo Benítez’s family were among those missing, NBC reports.
  • Rescuers have pulled at least 35 people from the rubble. At least one person has died from the collapse.
  • Authorities have not yet established what caused the collapse.

What they're saying: "I want to give you a top number, very encouraging, 102 people have been accounted for. That's double what we were able to report last time," Levine Cava said Thursday. "One hundred and two people from the towers, their locations are known and they are safe."

  • Cava noted that about half of the 136 units in the 12-story tower collapsed.
  • At a news conference Thursday morning, DeSantis said officials were “bracing for some bad news just given the destruction that we’re seeing,” AP reports.
  • "It is really, really traumatic to see the collapse of a mass like that," DeSantis said.
  • “The building is literally pancaked,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said, per AP. “That is heartbreaking because it doesn’t mean, to me, that we are going to be as successful as we wanted to be in finding people alive.”
  • Hundreds of people are at the family reunification center that has been set up in Surfside a few blocks from the building collapse, per a Miami Herald reporter.

Of note: Emergency officials are also asking people to call 305-614-1819 if they have relatives who are unaccounted for.

  • A family reunification is open for anyone looking for unaccounted or missing relatives at the Surfside Recreational Center located at 9301 Collins Avenue, Surfside, Florida.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates


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