WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will visit Puerto Rico on Monday to assess damage from Hurricane Fiona, the White House said.
Fiona hit Puerto Rico on September 18, with high winds and flooding causing an island-wide power outage and at least 25 deaths, according to the island’s health department. The storm was followed just days later by Ian, which swept through Florida this week and caused 83 deaths, before moving up the East Coast to South Carolina and then North Carolina, where four people died, according to tallies from state officials and NBC. News. Biden is scheduled to travel to Florida on Wednesday.
Thousands of Puerto Ricans remain powerless Almost two weeks after the storm. Search and rescue efforts are still underway in Florida, with Biden warning that Hurricane Ian is likely to “rank among the worst in the nation’s history.”
In a speech at the White House on Friday, Biden said it could take years to rebuild parts of Florida.
“Our hearts… are heavy, the devastating hurricanes, the storms in Puerto Rico, Florida and South Carolina. And we owe Puerto Rico much more than it has already received,” Biden said Saturday at a Congressional Black Caucus awards dinner.
Biden and the Governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis spoke frequently during the week about the storm, though in the past they have publicly discussed a wide range of topics, including the pandemic and immigration.
Asked Friday if Biden would want to meet DeSantis in person while he was in Florida, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said “this is not about politics,” likening the situation to the condo collapse. of Surfside last year when the two leaders worked together in response. to tragedy.
About 615,000 homes and businesses lost power in Florida on Monday morning, according to PowerOutage.us. Power outages also continued in Puerto Rico, where about 120,000 residents remained without power on Monday.
Ian, which has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, continues to bring rain to parts of the Mid-Atlantic.