State of emergency declared in Miami Beach in the wake of condominium collapse

The partial collapse of Chamberlain Towers South in the Miami Beach, Florida area is beyond tragic, with at least nine deaths reported as of this writing, and well over 100 people still unaccounted for as search-and-rescue crews desperately comb the rubble for closure.

As a result of the unprecedented event, the city of Miami Beach formally declared a state of emergency over the weekend. Though the towers are technically located in nearby Surfside, Miami Beach streets and venues are currently being used as staging areas, and the state of emergency status will allow the city to be reimbursed for its assistance, according to the New York Post

“A significant portion of the staging for the emergency response efforts is taking place within Miami Beach, including use of city streets, property and other facilities for search and rescue command centers,” Miami Beach officials said in a statement.

“Due to the structure’s close proximity to Miami Beach — immediately north of 87 Terrace — the city has temporarily closed North Beach Oceanside Park and canceled or moved events north of 63 Street, including at the North Beach Bandshell,” the statement continued.

Just days earlier, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) declared a state-level state of emergency for the area, which opens up a wide berth of federal assistance, including from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as NPR reported.

The governor-declared state of emergency was quickly approved by President Joe Biden, who also called Gov. DeSantis to speak with him about the tragic occurrence, according to an official White House statement.

“The emergency declaration authorizes FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts, reimburse response costs, provide equipment and resources to assist with debris removal and emergency protective measures in order to try to save lives, and to provide temporary shelter and housing for those who have been displaced,” the White House statement explained.

DeSantis praised FEMA Director Deanne Criswell after he spoke with her by phone last week. “They were great. They have supported some emergency assistance,” the Republican governor said.

While there have already been charities set up to assist victims of the 12-story tower collapse, perhaps the most-needed form of assistance from the rest of the country right now are meaningful prayers for both the victims and the rescue workers risking their lives to find survivors.