MIAMI (CBSMiami) – President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency in Florida.
He’s ordered federal assistance from FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to help state and local responders at the scene of the Surfside building collapse and for the victims.
“Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. The Individuals and Households Program under Section 408 of the Stafford Act and assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided,” according to a statement from the White House.
The collapse happened Thursday, around 1:30 a.m., at the Champlain Towers South, located at 8777 Collins Avenue.
The 12-story condo building has 136 units, and officials said 55 units on the northeast side were involved in the collapse.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue reported that 37 people have been rescued. Of those rescued, 35 were pulled from the still standing building and two from the rubble, including a 12-year-old boy.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said 159 people are not accounted for at this time and there have been four deaths. She added these numbers are fluid.
Rescue crews are doing DNA tests with family members to identify victims.
More than 75 search and rescue teams are looking for survivors in the rubble.
A family reunification center has been set up for anyone looking for unaccounted or missing relatives at 9301 Collins Avenue. People can also call (305) 614-1819.
Anyone who lives in the building is encouraged to complete a Wellness Check Form as part of efforts to ensure all tenants of the building are located.