x

Politics

Devastated Condo Community Looks to Biden Visit for Comfort

SURFSIDE, Fla. — As the search for survivors of a Florida condo collapse enters its second week, rescue crews and relatives of those still missing are scheduled to meet with President Joe Biden Thursday, in a visit many are hoping will provide some measure of comfort to a devastated community.

Biden and first lady Jill Biden plan to thank first responders and search and rescue teams. They also plan to meet with the families of victims, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

The president's visit comes a week after Champlain Towers South, a 12-story beachfront condominium building in Surfside, suddenly came crashing down, leaving a pancaked rubble.

Search crews going through the ruins found the remains of six people Wednesday, bringing the number of confirmed dead to 18. The number of residents unaccounted for stands at 145.

Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez said he hopes Biden's visit will be a morale booster for the entire community.

"We've had several challenges from weather, sorrow, pain. And I think that the president coming will bring some unity here for our community, support, like our governor, our mayor, all of us together," he said.

Psaki said the president and first lady also want to make sure that state and local officials have the resources and support they need under an emergency declaration approved by Biden for Miami-Dade. She emphasized Wednesday that the White House is being careful to coordinate with officials on the ground to ensure that Biden's visit doesn't do anything to "pull away" from the ongoing search and rescue effort.

State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said he hopes to emphasize to Biden that there is a need for mental health resources to treat rescue workers for post-traumatic stress disorder.

"These guys are so blindly focused on the mission of saving lives, and unfortunately they see things they can't unsee," Patronis said.

"We want to make sure that when they ultimately do go home, that we're giving them the strength … to be able to get back to work without fear of nightmares and challenges."

Since the tragedy, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, a Democrat, have projected a united and cooperative front as they respond to the crisis.

Previously, they had sometimes sparred over how best to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, with clashes over wearing masks and other measures to control the pandemic. But no signs of partisanship have been evident in Surfside.

DeSantis has spoken appreciatively of the aid coming from Washington, even commending the Biden administration for "stepping up to the plate."

"We really appreciate having the support of the president," DeSantis said at a Friday news conference in Surfside — although hours before, he had blasted President Joe Biden's border policies during an earlier press conference in the state's Panhandle.

DeSantis, who is up for reelection next year, is said to be exploring a run for the presidency in 2024.

Among the remains found Wednesday were those of a mother and her two daughters, ages 4 and 10, a loss that Cava called "too great to bear."

Miami-Dade police identified the children as 10-year-old Lucia Guara and 4-year-old Emma Guara, and their mother as 42-year-old Anaely Rodriguez. The remains of their father, Marcus Guara, 52, were pulled from the rubble Saturday and identified Monday. 

The cause of the collapse is under investigation. A 2018 engineering report found that the building's ground-floor pool deck was resting on a concrete slab that had "major structural damage" and needed extensive repairs. The report also found "abundant cracking" of concrete columns, beams and walls in the parking garage.

Just two months before the building came down, the president of its board wrote a letter to residents saying that structural problems identified in the 2018 inspection had "gotten significantly worse" and that major repairs would cost at least $15.5 million. With bids for the work still pending, the building suddenly collapsed last Thursday.

RELATED

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump's support was enough to elevate his Senate candidate to victory in North Carolina on Tuesday, while his pick in Pennsylvania remained in a tough fight in that state's Senate primary.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mitsotakis Meets with Biden at the White House (Video)

WASHINGTON, DC – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with US President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday, in the first day of an official two-day visit to the American capital.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.