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Biden expresses support for families and gratitude to the Miami building responders

Miami, Jul 1 (.) .- The president of the United States, Joseph Biden, transmitted this Thursday in Miami-Dade a message of consolation and support to the families affected by the partial collapse of a building and of gratitude to the rescuers who seek to the victims, who for the first time in eight days had to stop their work. “We are here for you as one nation,” Biden told family members in a closed-door meeting, as he revealed at the end of his seven-hour visit to Miami-Dade with his wife, Jill. The presidential couple did not visit the scene of the disaster, but received separately in a hotel in Bal Harbor authorities, rescuers and, finally, the survivors and families of the so far 18 deceased and the 145 missing. Of the latter, he said that “they are going through hell” and at the same time they are “realistic” about the possibilities of finding their loved ones alive. “The wait, the wait is unbearable,” acknowledged the president, who, according to the journalists who accompany him, before ending his visit was with the first lady at the “Wall of Hope” memorial dedicated to the disappeared, where he prayed and I leave some flowers. THE SEARCH IS INTERRUPTED Biden’s arrival in Miami-Dade coincided with the announcement that “movements” recorded in the part of the Champlain Towers South building that is still standing forced a temporary halt to the search through the rubble in the early morning hours. Fear of another collapse keeps the operation involving hundreds of “outstanding” people, as Biden called them, interrupted. Until security conditions exist for the operators to return, the search will not resume. It is the first time that there has been a “stop” since the operation began a few hours after 55 apartments of the 136 of the building, 40 years old and located on the beachfront in the city of Surfside , turned into a mountain of rubble. “I just wanted to come and thank you,” Biden said to the 50 uniformed first responders he greeted after attending a briefing with authorities and heads of the different entities involved in the search and rescue operation, the first activity of his agenda in Miami. Biden added: “What they are doing is incredible.” THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ASSUMES THE EXPENSES As announced at the meeting held at the St. Regis hotel in Bal Harbor, a neighboring city of Surfside, the Federal Administration will be responsible for all the expenses incurred by the state of Florida and Miami-Dade County to address the situation created by the landslide. It will also meet the needs of the survivors. “You have recognized the seriousness of this tragedy from day one and have supported us a lot,” said Florida Governor Ron Desantis, who on many occasions has harshly criticized the Biden government and disagreed with its policies. The meeting with the survivors and relatives of victims and disappeared had a different tone. In a press conference at the end of the visit, Biden said he had the opportunity to speak with everyone who wanted to speak with him, in an apparent allusion to people who did not attend and made statements to the press. “I’m not interested in talking to him,” Avi Cohen, with his uncle and father among those missing, told CNN. Likewise, Pablo Rodríguez, whose mother, Elena Blasser, and his grandmother, Elena Chávez, are also missing, told the same network that he chose to take his son to a bereavement counselor before meeting with the president. ELSA AND INSTABILITY, TWO CONCERNS According to Biden, many relatives expressed their wish that the search continue until all the bodies are recovered so that they can be buried. In addition to the instability of the still standing part of the damaged building, another concern is Tropical Storm Elsa, which formed this Thursday and, according to trajectory patterns, could reach South Florida next Monday. The Florida governor said earlier today in his meeting with Biden that plans are already in place for the case. The weather has not played in the rescuers’ favor in these eight days of hard work. Rain, wind and thunderstorms have been with them, but a tropical storm are big words. Biden declined to speculate about the causes of the landslide, which are already being investigated, but said he was surprised that many of the people he spoke to mentioned global warming and rising sea levels in this area of ​​Florida. The structure of the building, as it was known after the accident, had been damaged at least since 2018 and the necessary measures were not taken to address the problem. So far, four lawsuits have been filed on behalf of residents of Champlain Towers South. Among the victims already confirmed as among the disappeared are people from countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. On Wednesday, the lifeless bodies of two sisters, 4 and 10 years old, Emma and Lucía Guara, whose parents, Markus Joseph Guara, 52, and Anaely Rodríguez, 42, also died from the collapse, were recovered from the rubble. They are the first underage victims of a tragedy, from which new data and stories continue to emerge eight days later. Today it was learned that the rescastistas heard the voice of a woman calling for help in the rubble, but could not find her, according to Alan Cominsky, Miami-Dade fire chief. (c) . Agency

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