U.S. President Joe Biden signed an order declaring a state of emergency in Florida after a 12-story building collapsed there. It was announced by the press service of the White House on June 25.
“President Joseph R. Biden today declared an emergency situation in the state of Florida and ordered federal assistance <...> in response to an emergency situation resulting from a building collapse in Surfside,” the statement said.
The executive order authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate efforts to assist local residents and to mobilize and provide equipment and resources necessary to respond to the emergency.
Meanwhile, while speaking to reporters, as evidenced by the broadcast on the White House’s YouTube channel, Biden was oblivious to the incident.
After finishing his address on the infrastructure modernization agreement, he was about to leave, explaining that it was time for him to board the helicopter. At that moment, Vice President Kamala Harris approached him and apparently reminded him of what had happened in Florida.
“Oh, yes, I apologize. Thank you, Madam Vice President,” Biden addressed Harris and, returning to the podium, said he was ready to send U.S. federal forces to the scene if state authorities requested it.
The 12-story apartment building collapsed on the night of June 24 in Surfside, Florida. At least three people were killed and about 99 others were listed as missing.
Rescuers were able to pull 37 people from the rubble, local fire spokesman Ray Jedall told a news conference. He also said at least 11 people who were pulled out from under the rubble of the house needed medical attention.
Miami-Dade County Chief Danielle-Livine Cava pointed out that authorities have not yet determined the cause of the building’s collapse. She said the incident was due to “structural issues” with the structure. She indicated that technicians were on the scene