• banner4

President Biden’s Remarks on Hurricane Yan Response and Recovery

PRESIDENT: Well, Governor and First Lady, thank you very much for your hospitality. And, you know, I want to thank the mayor and the county commissioner. Cecil took me for a little helicopter ride and we went to Sanibel Island and the whole opposite. I mean, I’m sure it’s worse on the ground, but you can see a lot of damage from the air.
As you understand, because, unfortunately, in the last few months — in the last six months, I have been to many places of natural disasters. You know, there’s more fires in the west, in the southwest, than in all of New Jersey, destroyed everything and took up the same amount of space.
There are practically no reservoirs in the west. We are in a situation where the Colorado River is more like a stream. There is still a lot to be done.
I think one of the things that ended was the discussion about whether there is climate change and what we should do about it.
But guys, I also think – Jill and I have been praying for all of you, and I say it sincerely. We are here today because we want to tell you personally that we are thinking of you and are not leaving. We won’t leave until all this is done. I promise you that.
You know, if you take a walk here, what is left of the Fisherman’s Wharf, you don’t need much imagination to understand everything – everything is there – this historical, huge, unimaginable Storm tore it to shreds. You must start from scratch. You must move again. It will take a lot – a lot of time – not weeks or months, everything in Florida will take years to fully recover and recover.
Today I’m with Governor DeSantis, Senator Rubio, Senator Scott, and Representative Donalds. You know, today we have only one job, and only one job, and that is to make sure the people of Florida get everything they need for a full, full recovery.
We are one of the few countries in the world – judging by the crisis we are facing, we are the only country that is better off getting out of it than going into it. That’s what we’re going to do this time: better get out of trouble. Since we are the United States of America, I emphasize “Unity”.
As the governor said, we are seeing exceptional cooperation at all levels of government. Cooperation began before the storm. The first priority is to save lives.
I signed an emergency declaration to pre-position federal assets including food, water and generators in Florida and other states to be prepared for the worst. It is happened.
We have also trained the largest number of search and rescue teams ever assembled in the United States, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Pentagon, the Coast Guard and others, so we are ready to respond – immediately – to cooperate with state and local officials.
In Lee County alone, search and rescue teams inspected 24,000 buildings in the county yesterday to make sure we take into account all those who may still be trapped.
The Army Corps of Engineers is providing emergency power to hospitals, nursing homes and water treatment facilities across the state to keep those facilities running.
Tens of thousands of utility workers across the country—not just in Florida, but throughout the country—responded to calls from Florida for help. Thousands of people – thousands from all over the US – are working around the clock to restore power. It’s about the unification of America. I mean: America unites.
As mentioned, FEMA also provides 4000 [sic] – 4 million meals, more – millions of bottles of water and makes sure they have the essentials. But we know from experience, and I know from experience, how much — how much anxiety, fear and anxiety people have. We didn’t lose our whole house, but we were struck by lightning, we lost a lot about 15 years ago, and we still have a lot to do. We have relatives nearby. Not everything is erased. But we know this feeling, this feeling: “Where will I lay my head on the pillow tonight?” How will it work? Will my child be ok? Can he go back to school? Can I build my own house? I… will the insurance cover it? If I don’t have insurance, God knows what I should do?
And you know, we’re working on all of these questions, because they all require an immediate response.
I have directed my administration to bring together all the elements of the federal government – and I mean every element – to meet immediate needs and rebuild in the long term. Yesterday we opened a disaster recovery center here in Lee County. Tomorrow, three more will open in this part of the state, and more.
And the state jointly puts insurance villages in one center, so if you are not sure what insurance status you have, you are not sure what you will receive, you can come and be sure in one place. place – one place, meet with your insurance company and apply for federal assistance at the same time.
From FEMA to the Small Business Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, we can help in many ways, and we’ve already begun.
Already 200,000 Floridians – I should say 200,000 families – have signed up for emergency assistance like buying food, getting prescriptions, clothes – the bare necessities.
How many of you have lost business? Well, insurance may not cover – insurance may not cover everything, may not cover everything. So we’re in a situation where some people – you’re about to – have also lost their homes. The question is, do you have insurance and can you pay for it.
Well, I’ve directed the Small Business Administration to expedite the processing of low-interest disaster loans that can provide up to $2 million in small business and non-profit funding, plus additional lost profits funding, and $200,000 – sorry, for homeowners who offer $200 $000 – Close the gap between what insurance doesn’t cover and their needs. This is about 1.5% interest rate.
Guys, look, the state asked me yesterday, and we immediately agreed to start our hotel program so that people who need a hotel room do not pay anything. I know there aren’t many people here, but they can go to the nearest hotel without worrying about paying, just cover up.
You are eligible for up to $37,900 federally if you don’t have insurance, or if your insurance isn’t good enough and you find a place to rent, or if your car breaks down.
If you need to renovate the house, you can get another $39 – sorry – $37,900. Not $39,700, but $37,900. So you can get around $80,000 to meet your needs. It’s available.
Guys, the most important thing you can do is register so we can help determine who is eligible for these things.
Hundreds of FEMA staff go door to door to help, or you can call 800-621-3362.
I was told that I have to wait for hours to call but no one answers. We discussed this at Air Force One and we’re going to speed things up by adding people. We are trying to extend it. So you need a little patience with us to get everything done. So many people to contact.
Alternatively, you can sign up for one of several DR centers – one open here and others in the future.
At the same time, in the hardest hit counties, the federal government said from the start, at the request of the governor, that we will cover 100% of the cost of cleanup – the cost of garbage, and if you finish it all, it will be billions of dollars and think about it. We will pay 100% within 30 days. I just extended it for 30 days.
We spoke with the governor. I think he will come back and ask for more than 60 days because it’s important. There is little you can do if you don’t clear the area.
So look guys, we still have a long way to go to rebuild the entire community from the ground up.
I want the people of Florida to know that you have my obligations and America’s obligations, and we will not leave. We will meet with you throughout the process, which will take a long time, hopefully without any obstacles.
Later, when the TV cameras are removed, we will still be with you. We still need to move. We will continue to do everything we can to get your life back.
There are so many families in this community – their houses are destroyed. Where we are now used to being a bustling strip of restaurants and shops. Now they are completely destroyed.
The Sanibel road was torn in half, hundreds of people stood, capturing hundreds from the other side, many of whom did not want to leave, but there were those who wanted to.
We are in a situation where, according to preliminary reports, 11 schools were severely damaged in Lee County alone, and 3 schools need to be rebuilt.
Today is the Day of Atonement. Many members of Florida’s Jewish community are unable to gather today on their holiest day because they have been displaced, their homes have disappeared, and their synagogues are inaccessible.
In the long term, the Major Disaster Declaration, which I approved on September 29, will help rebuild schools, libraries, parks, and community centers. We have money to do it. You are qualified for this.
We will help restore roads, bridges and public water systems. We have allocated funds under the Infrastructure Act that I signed into law to make Florida’s power grid more resilient to allow for faster power recovery and lower repair and reconstruction costs as storms increase. There will be more storms.
When I was vice president, I gave Florida — or we gave Florida $200 million to install smart grid technology. As a result, electricity in Florida is recovering faster today than it was when the power went out.
Florida is poised to receive $13 billion in federal funding over the next five years for highway and bridge construction. The key here is to recover better and stronger to face the next storm. We cannot return to our previous state. You need to recover better because we know there’s more to come.
I was talking to a guy on Sanibel Island, and he said that when he was walking, he noticed those… houses that were built later, with different roofs and different foundations, and they felt good. They… they survived.
We can build to withstand what you’ve been up against lately – we’ve seen it – .
And folks, this will require federal, state and local partners and the private sector to work together.
Florida people, to all of you, we are together. This is the United States of America. US. (Applause.) Nothing else.
As I’ve told a few people I’ve talked to, I’ll end up like this: you know, I’ve been home, I think now, 9, 10 times, maybe, depending on how you think they are — 12 major disasters across the country. You know, more lumber, more houses, more buildings, more police departments, fire departments, etc. already in California, Oregon, Wisconsin – sorry – Oregon, Washington State, love Daho, New Mexico and Arizona all add up to — the entire state of New Jersey. to the ground. passed. passed.
So what I’m asking you to do – and I’m sure you will – we’ll walk you through it all. You will receive – for the courage of all of you.
But when you’re done with that, when you hear it happening elsewhere, remember that this is the United States of America. None of us can run. Thank you. (applause.)
Question: Mr. President, what should state, local, and federal officials do differently to prevent future deaths?

Post time: Oct-14-2022