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tv   Florida Governor Gives Update on Hurricane Ian  CSPAN  September 30, 2022 11:03pm-11:32pm EDT

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>> wow supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> recovery efforts in florida continue after hurricane ian leaves millions without power and dozens of fatalities. governor desantis updated efforts to support those in desperate need as the storm continues up the southeastern portion of the u.s. gov. desantis: i want to thank kevin guthrie for being with us and and all the hard work. and also we have visiting us from washington, the administrator of fema, deanne criswell. so she's been with us since the morning. we've traveled, we started the day in tallahassee, getting an update on the most recent events that have happened in the after math of hurricane ian.
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we went down to southwest florida for the second day in a row. we were able to do a little bit more extensive touring of some of the damage that we saw. and you have places like fort myers beach, santa bell, some of those areas really where the front line got the massive storm surge and an extensive damage throughout there. you also have charlotte county had damaged north north part of naples and collier county. the one of the things that we're working on and is having staged all the power and everything is the restoration of services right now statewide, 85% of customers have power and the main outages are of course in
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lee and charlotte counties have the most as well as hardy. but then you also have about half out in collier, you have about half out in sarasota and then it really gets better in many other parts of the state until you get seminoles, about a third out of 40% out. evolution is about 50% out, flagler is probably about 40 to 50% out, but then it gets much better as you get to st john's in jacksonville, nassau county. and so there was over 42,000 folks staged, they went in immediately, they went in immediately to try to minimize those disruptions and really they're adding more customers back online every hour. i think it's probably kevin, would you say about 100,000 every hour or two? so we feel good about most of that. i would say that the biggest challenge with power restoration is going to be in those areas that bore the brunt of the category-4+ almost category-5 impact where it may have uprooted some of the existing infra structure that will be fixed. it's just not something that gets fixed in 24 or 48 hours and so there has been some damage in charlotte counties, but there's also been a lot of the infrastructure that was able to make it through. so i think now actually lee they
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got about 20% back with power, which was quite frankly, more than i would have anticipated this soon after such a major impact. we we were able to go just kind of look around, we flew, we did a press conference, we met with some people that have lost homes and businesses and you know, people that have been in that community for for decades and decades. so it's, it's the, it's sad to lose your, your belongings anyways of course, but there's a lot of history in that part of the state and many parts of our state. so you see that it's hard to just replace that. so there's gonna be things that need to do infrastructure wise, bridges, some of the other stuff down there. but i was pleasantly surprised to see 48 hours after a massive impact, i saw publix's reopening, i saw wawa's opening, i saw this happening in lee county and so the quicker that
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the broader population can get back to normal, that's going to make it easier to help those who have been displaced. we also towards us over in central florida with the seminole county sheriff's office some of the flooding there. and i can tell you what we saw in central florida was more standing water than what we saw in southwest florida. it's just because of the way they have the caloosahatchee, the inlets, i mean the sand for whatever reason that really dissipated over the last 24 to 36 hours. you go in places in central florida, there's a lot of standing water, some of these places, you know, had water still up a couple of feet on some of the homes and they are bracing for more impacts. you see some things with the st john's and other things that happen. so that was, we knew there would be flooding, but that more standing water 200 plus miles away than that is saying something. and then we knew we've seen the impacts in this community up here in northeast florida before and we are going to be asking, kevin is going to be working with fema about potentially
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expanding individual assistance eligibility beyond the counties that have already been added. so right now it's southwest florida into central florida. it stops before you get up into st john's, i don't think flagler or volusia are in it either. so you look flagler, volusia, they've had some big impacts too. that's something that we're going to be working with them on. we think that that would be something that, that, that will be, it will be helpful for the residents of this area. fuel by and large has done done really well. even with the ports having to shut down because of the storm, you have fuel flowing in. it was good to see these gas stations open in southwest florida, you know, that's something that we've had storms in the past where people without fuel for weeks or a long time and that, that's a pain. it makes it harder for people to get back. so we appreciate the, the attention that's been paid on that. and then in terms of like telecom service, it is getting better in southwest florida. they are putting more towers in because of the towers that have been destroyed. but i would say that all the
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companies i think now are allowing the other consumers to other customers to roam on their network. and so that makes it very helpful. so if you're down there, just, you know, don't try to do wifi calling, that's not up where it needs to be. just do normal calling with roaming and if you're a verizon, you can't get that, you may be able to get at&t. that's something that's very, very important. i want kevin to come up and give an update and then we'll have the administrator come up as well. kevin. >> thank you, governor. thank you for your leadership all day long today. here in st. john's county, saint augustine, i know some of the public safety officials. no, this is my home. so i'm, you know, i'm coming back home, this is not the way that i like to come home on the weekends, but you know, i'm here to help. not just the state of florida, but also my hometown. we're out here walking the streets. i'm myself, the administrator, the regional administrator. we're sitting here talking about, you know, different aspects of this particular neighborhood, other areas around
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st johns county to potentially get them into the declaration for individual assistance. i think one of the things we have in this particular community that i want to just talk about because we don't get an awful lot of time to talk about this is just down the road here, we have a house that's being raised with fema funding as a part of the flood mitigation assistance grant program. there's a similar program called hazard mitigation grant program that will be coming as a part of this particular storm disaster. i know they're complicated and complex grants to work through. they take a little bit of time, but at the same time if you're in a situation where you continually flood, then we can elevate your home and those are good ideas to do in the, in this neighborhood just like this. so i highly encourage you folks in this area to consider those programs. i know the city and the county or will be reaching out to individuals that won't -- that want participants in that program. so please continue to be a part
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of that program. as the governor has mentioned. infrastructure is, we're seeing the results of infrastructure hardening. the chief was telling me that some of the lift stations and whatnot we're more resilient in this storm than they were in matthew. so things are, you know, we're getting better at what we do as far as hurricane response. if there's things that you need, please make sure you reach out to your local emergency management agency, you reach out to the fire chief, the police chief here. make sure that we know about them, get those things rolled up to us. we are going to be here to continue to support, not just st johns county and the city of st augustine but all floridians across the state's governor appreciate your leadership on this. thank you. gov. desantis: okay. and joining us from fema as our administrator, deanne criswell, >> thank you. i really appreciated the opportunity today to join the governor and director guthrie to get eyes on first hand. it's really important for me to be able to come into a community after an event like this so i can get an idea of what the impacts are. you know, you see a lot of the images on the news, but there's nothing that replaces being able to see and talk to people and hear what they're going through. i'll tell you some of the things that i heard throughout the day today was how the neighbors are
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helping neighbors, they're really jumping in and helping each other out. we just heard a great story here, but we've heard that across the state today. and the absolute heroic efforts that the first responders put forward in those first few days. i just want to thank all of them for everything that they've done . as you heard the governor say with the different programs that are available for individual assistance with fema, president biden did sign the initial disaster declaration late wednesday night that authorized nine counties for individual assistance thursday early afternoon. i believe we added four more counties we are continuing to do assessments. one of the reasons that i am here with the governor today is to get eyes on to see the damages. so we will continue to add more counties as we understand what the impacts the communities across florida have experienced as a result of this storm. and so as you move into the recovery, we're going to continue to be here to support the governor and director guthrie and any request that they have to make sure that we're able to jump start the recovery process but also to be with you here as you go through
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the rebuilding and the reconstruction phases. thank you. gov. desantis: all right, any questions for anybody governor? reporter: i know it's very early to tell but is there an idea how much is the cost so far that we've seen in florida and st augustine? gov. desantis: no, i think i think that's going to take some time. i mean i can tell you in our preparations with everything we did to prepare from the state with hundreds of millions of dollars, we did $300 million from from the time that storm developed. and we said this is something last week that was going to be an issue, declared the state of emergency and got in. we were able to do that. and that has helped with the response tremendously. you remember i proposed a couple years ago and the legislature did to have a fund in state government for disaster response. we have $500 million that we earmark every year. and so this is the first time. unfortunately, you know, we're having to tap it.
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but that money was there ready to go. now that fema, now that the administration has given us the 30 days, a lot of that's going to be reimbursable. and so a lot of what the local governments have done in the local communities, those 31st 30 days will be one 100% reimbursable by the federal government. and so that was similar to what's done in other hurricanes like michael. and that'll make it. the thing about this one is sometimes you hear hurricanes and it'll hit like one place and one state. in florida when they meander across the peninsula, you're hitting all these different communities and there's a lot of impacts that have a trickle effect all across the state show -- all across the state. reporter [indiscernible] gov. desantis: i would say there is not any that we can't. >> we are starting an airlift. gov. desantis: for those of you
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familiar, the island is connected to the mainland by a bridge, a causeway he rated that causeway was severed. the only way to access that is by sea or air. what happens in the morning when the storm path was bringing in black hawk helicopters, finding people that wanted to be rescued and bringing them safely back to the mainland, what they are finding in those areas is a lot of residents rode out the storm. some of them have nice homes and can do that. what they are finding as a lot of them want to stay put on the island. they are thinking those first responders for being there and not asking to be rescued. obviously anyone in need of that they are going to be willing to do that and bring back. but i would say the early hours a lot of people just want to get off the island now more and more they want to stay. the issue with this is gonna be
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the transport back and forth to those islands. it is going to be good, we also have another island, great community pine island. we were just at that bridge got severed too. now we will fix both of those bridges but that doesn't happen overnight. there is a long process that goes on with that. so in the meantime they are going to be running boats. they are going to obviously be doing air operations. i know santa bell used to be an island that you had to ferry to anyways. we have some of those throughout the state of florida. that's how they do it. but i think most people appreciate being able to drive back and forth so we'll do that. but that i think those were the those island communities that were severed by the bridge were probably the most difficult to get to. you just had to use these resources. but that's part of the reason we had all these aircraft stationed in the run up to the storm. we're saying, hey, we've got another 50 aircraft now we have 250 aircraft ready to go. fwc, national guard, all these different task forces and everything. we have these the same guys that responded to the surfside tower collapse in south florida.
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they were on alligator alley and midnight while the storm was still kicking so that they can get over there and help rescue people. so it's been a really herculean effort. i think the issue is going to be who is going to want to stay there long term known that the power situation is not great. they will fix it. but if they have to rewire the whole infrastructure, just going to take a little bit longer than if they have to fix just one utility pole. then also the transport back and forth. i mean some people like it that not as many people can come because they like being being more tucked away. others not so much. the other thing that we're concerned about, particularly in those areas that were really hard hit is, you know, we want to make sure we're maintaining law and order. don't even think about looting, don't even think about taking advantage of people in this vulnerable situation. and so local law enforcement is involved in monitoring that. i told kevin if the state needs
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to help as well because you can have people, you know, bringing boats into some of these islands and trying to ransack people's homes. i can tell you in the state of florida, you never know what may be lurking behind somebody's home. and i would not want to chance that if i were you given that we are a second amendment state. reporter: thank you for bringing fema with you. we're seeing flooding that people are reporting similar to hurricane matthew out here in st john's county. and i know a lot of people felt it took a while to get fema relief last time in hurricane matthew. for the citizens of st johns county, what are we looking at, and can you give us any sort of timeline or can the fema folks give us any sort of timeline on when people can start expecting that fema relief here? gov. desantis: i'll let the administrator speak, i will just say obviously there's conversations about declaring this county available for individual assistance that has not been done yet. so hopefully it will. and then at that point the the individuals will come and get assistance. >> yes.
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so exactly there is right now 13 counties that have been declared for individual assistance. they should register now for assistance. they can do that by going to they can use our fema app again as i've been out here today with the governor and we have teams all over the state doing assessments with the state uh to look at the damage is in other counties, we will add more counties for assistance and as soon as that happens they can register for assistance. some of the funding can go into their accounts sometimes right away for some initial needs that are met. then we will send inspectors out to look at what the damages are. i think it's important to note though that fema does not replace insurance. so insurance is your first line that you need to go to, and then our funding can help jump start the rest of that recovery process. we are capped on statute statutorily for how much money that we can give for personal property belongings.
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we'll continue to work with each of the individuals because we know that their cases are all unique, right? every individual is going to have a different circumstance. it is going to be very unique and specific to them. and so we will have case managers that will help support that. and i believe when i was talking to director guthrie already starting some of that case management process because there's a lot of other funding sources that can come in and help. gov. desantis: you now can do -- and i did not know this until the administrator told me, cleanup costs associated with flooding. if you're if when you have individual systems, you can actually get money to help defray the costs of just cleaning up all the flood damage. and so that's that's obviously can be very special. i know a lot of people put elbow grease into it and really work hard on their property, but if you need someone come in professionally, you now have access to some support for that. and so we've been, we've been mentioning the way -- because people say, hey, how can we help you? see just in this community, i was talking with a couple down there, they evacuated and when they came back, people were fixing their yard and doing stuff to help them out with their home. and so you have that spirit in
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these situations that are very difficult and obviously really life changing in places that that got hit so tremendously in southwest florida. people step up and they want to help their fellow neighbor friends and neighbors. we have a thing with volunteer florida, this is purely tax deductible, private does nations for for private groups to work with volunteer florida to help administer individual relief to people. and the thought behind it is fema has certain things they can do. they now can do this cleaning, for example, 10 years ago, they couldn't do it. so even if you wanted it, they could not do it. they have to follow whatever the rules are. well, now this is a little bit more nimble. you can find unique needs for people, and we're not exactly sure what the medium and long term needs are going to be for everybody because you know, we're not sure how many people are totally displaced. those are a lot of seasonal homes. there there's a lot of rentals
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, and we don't know which homes or this or that. well, we will find out as more people come for relief. so i think they have raised $10 million, $15 million already for that. and so that's going to be something that i think will help a lot of people, particularly those who are now without home to places like. reporter: [indiscernible] gov. desantis: so they are doing those assessments. there have been casualties with the way they do it and kevin explained it. there is a process where that's going. so if somebody drowns in their home because of flooding, that's going to be a confirmed storm related casualty. obviously, unfortunately, people do pass away for other things. so there's sometimes there are deaths that are not attributable to the storm. some maybe indirect, like for example, in charlotte county, they had somebody who during the height side of the storm, you know, had a heart attack.
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he could not call, get emergency services because of what was going on. and so by the time the storm passed, it was too late. so that would be something that would be indirect. what i would tell you is having looked at the damage and four -- particularly fort myers beach and some of those areas, you know, some of those homes that are new construction actually stood and sometimes you wouldn't even know that a storm hit it. but man, i'll tell you those older homes that just aren't as strong built, they got washed into the sea, some of them. and so if you were hunkering down in that, that is something that i think would be very difficult to be survivable. and so they're still trying to find, you know, figure out okay , who was home, who wasn't. i will tell you though, when they've gone to the santa bell in these places, you know, the people that did hunker down and i just talked to the folks in pine island, they said the same thing. they said by and large life and limb. people did okay. it doesn't mean there's not going to be reported casualties because they're definitely, there have been and there will be, so it was a really significant storm.
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one of the things i think kevin has done a good job of them and i've tried to do is point out how what the storm does directly is obviously very significant. but in these days after, there are deaths that happen, and the storms with downed power lines, people using generators inside their homes, some of the flood, the standing water, some of the hazards that that does. so please just because the storm has passed, i don't think that there aren't hazards there. here there's not as much standing water as in some of the places i saw in central florida, fortunately a lot of our power infrastructure seemed to hold up pretty well through most parts of the state. so that will mitigate some hazards. but at the end of the day, just please understand, and this is true for michael, this is true for irma, that in the week, 10 days after, you know, we saw we saw casualties because of what was happening. we want to avoid those as much as much as we can. reporter: [indiscernible] gov. desantis: do you want to
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talk about how that happened? >> first of all, you know, emergency management director, sheriffs, police chiefs, fire chiefs make the best of the best decision on the information they have at the time. this particular storm was going up and down the west coast moving inland out. i mean at one point in time we were looking at maybe in apalachicola bay storm all the way back to the keys. the first thing i would say to that is this was a, this was a very frustrating storm trying to pinpoint where it was going to go. lee county did not get real notice that it was, they were going to be the center of this thing until about 36 to 48 hours . when that happened, they immediately called for the ca t-a, they had a voluntary one for evacuations in place already for the storm surge. when they were looking at 2 to 4 ft of storm surge. but then when it moved to a 12 to 18 ft of storm surge, they immediately called for mandatory evacuations. recall that the governor ryan
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said if you're in a situation you should evacuate. we can 100% guarantee you you will not die from storm surge if you leave. we need people to heed warnings much more in the future and evacuate situations. that's the best way to save a life. gov. desantis: also, we get our briefing 72 hours before the storm on sunday. the national hurricane center had the storm hitting taylor county in north florida, fort myers and naples were not even in the cone. and so it is a situation where those folks at the local level as that storm started to shift, then they took that data and then they acted appropriately. but if you think where was most of the media when the storm hit, they were not in fort myers, they were in tampa. that's where they thought that the storm was going to hit. obviously those folks that were under evacuation orders as well. so i think from southwest florida's perspective, as the storm, as the storm shifted, you know, they made, they made calls and they were helping people get to shelters, they opened up their shelters. they did what they needed to do. i'll also point out there were a
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number of people who evacuated from tampa to fort myers thinking that the storm was going to go. so i think that those folks were looking at the data that they had, and as soon as they had data that they were going to be affected by this and more than just a peripheral. two feet to 3 feet of storm surge is a big deal. i said, even on sunday, hey, just because it goes to taylor county doesn't mean you're not going to get surge in naples and that and that's true, but there's a much, there's a big difference between getting that and then getting the actual eye of the storm. and i would say not only i don't think they had even 48 hours, i think it was really as we were getting through the day on tuesday when it really looked like they could get it. but even then a lot of the impacts were projected to be sarasota's charlotte. now lee would have had impacts from that. but even then they were not projected. so that storm kept moving further southeast as it was going compared to where the models are. and there's absolutely a difference. whoever was on that right side of that eye wall, santa bell fort myers beach, those areas
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that was the biggest wallop. if you're on the left side there was there was damage but it's noticeably different whether you're on that. these miles make a big difference in terms of how they do. but i can tell you kevin was working with all the local emergency managers ever since last week, and we said the whole time we're like, everyone needs to be prepared. we don't know where it's going to go. you may, you will lose power, you may be called upon to evacuate. you may have fuel interruptions and so plan accordingly. i think that they all did. i think that they took the information and they put it into practice. ok, thanks, everybody. appreciate it. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2022] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> c-span's "washington journal," every day we take your calls on the news of the day.
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we discussed policy issues that impact you. saturday morning, the center for strategic and international studies discusses vladimir putin's move to annex occupied territories in ukraine, and the impact of his military mobilization. in our podcast segment, the new york times politics reporter to talk about campaign 2022, and his podcast, "the run-up." "washington journal," saturday morning. join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, texts, and tweets. >> c-span's campaign 2022 coverage of the midterm election continues in october with live debates on c-span, including the arizona senate debate between senator mark kelly and challengers blake masters and mark victor. in wisconsin on october 7, the
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income families can get what they need to be ready for anything. comcast supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a row seat to democracy. >> the u.s. house ended its week by passing a bill to fund the federal government through december 16 of this year. current money was set to expire friday at midnight eastern. the measure, which includes over $12 billion in aid to ukraine, was approved. it was largely along party lines, although 10 republicans voted with democrats in favor. the senate passed the bill earlier in the week. 72-25. up next, the debate that preceded the final house vote. this is about 25 minutes. consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. delauro: mr. speaker, i rise in support of the >> i rise in support of continuing the ukraine supplemental


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