Biden approved an emergency declaration in Florida, allowing FEMA to coordinate disaster relief for the Miami building collapse

Rubble hangs from a partially collapsed building in Surfside, north of Miami Beach.
Rubble hangs from the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South in Surfside, north of Miami Beach, on June 24, 2021. Chandan Khanna / AFP / Getty Images
  • President Joe Biden has signed an emergency declaration for Florida after a building collapsed there on Thursday.
  • The declaration will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief.
  • Nearly 100 people are still unaccounted for after the Florida condo collapsed in the wee hours of Thursday.
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President Joe Biden has signed an emergency declaration for the state of Florida, which will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts after a section of a Miami Beach condo caved in.

A large section of Champlain Towers South, a Miami Beach property that was built in 1981, crumbled at around 1.30 a.m. on Thursday, leaving at least one person dead and nearly 99 more unaccounted for. Many are feared dead, reported the AP on Thursday.

“The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, to coordinate all disaster relief efforts,” the White House said on Friday.

Resources will also be provided for emergency measures to “save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in Miami-Dade County,” read the declaration, which was released in the early hours of Friday.

A massive search-and-rescue operation is currently underway.

Floridian firefighters tunneling under the partially caved-in condominium in hopes of finding people in the wreckage on Thursday heard banging noises. Sonar devices used by the Miami-Dade fire department also picked up sounds within the rubble, said Miami-Dade’s assistant fire chief, Ray Jadallah.

While it is still unclear why the section of the building suddenly collapsed, a study in 2020 showed that the land around the condo showed signs of sinking. The New York Times also reported that the condo was due for corrosion repairs to fix steel and concrete structures that were rusted through or in disrepair.

Investigations into the cause of the collapse are underway, noted the Washington Post.