President Joe Biden warned that communities affected by Hurricane Ian's devastation across southwestern Florida and the lower Eastern Seaboard will "take months and years to rebuild."
Speaking from the White House on Friday, Biden recognized the Coast Guard's work in rescuing 117 individuals and the 44,000 utility experts working to restore power in Florida — the single largest recovery team in U.S. history.
"You've all seen on television homes and property wiped out. It's going to take months and years to rebuild. And our hearts go out to all those folks whose lives have been absolutely devastated by the storm. America's heart is literally breaking," the president stated.
Biden further announced the deployment of over 400 personnel from the Army Corps of Engineers, along with more than 250 generators, to aid the utility workers in critical locations like hospitals, shelters and stadiums.
He confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has met with Florida's energy authority and private energy sector leaders to ensure coordination among all parties to reinstitute the state's electrical grid fully.
"In times like these, Americans come together," Biden emphasized. "They put aside politics. They put aside division. We could together to help each other because we know if it were us who just lost our homes or our loved ones, we'd hope people would show up to help us as well."
The White House revealed on Thursday that Biden had approved federal funding for disaster relief in nine Florida counties most affected by the hurricane. A pre-landfall emergency declaration was also made for South Carolina.
It came as early reports have suggested that at least 14 individuals have been confirmed dead from Ian, a day after Biden remarked that the "substantial loss of life" could end up being the "deadliest" in Florida's history.
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