tv Florida Governor Gives Update on Hurricane Ian CSPAN September 30, 2022 5:17pm-5:44pm EDT
region. today, as you all saw just a little bit ago, president biden issued a strong condemnation of russia's fraudulent attempt to annex sovereign ukrainian territory. this act is a flagrant violation of international law and it has no legitimacy. unfortunately, it's also not surprising. it's straight out of putin's playbook of deceit, disinformation and aggression. and we've been warning about it -- >> we are breaking away from this program. you can finish watching it as we go to our website c-span.org. we take you live to st. augustine where florida governor ron desantis is giving an update on hurricane ian response. governor desantis: those that got the massive storm surge and extensive damage throughout there. you also have charlotte county had damage. north part of naples. and collier county. one of the things that we're
working on is having staged all the power and everything is the restoration of services. right now statewide, 85% of customers have power. and main outages are, of course, in lee and charlotte counties had 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 seminole is about a third out or 40% out. volusia is about 50% out. flagler is about 40% to 50% out. then it gets much better as you get to st. johns and jacksonville and nassau county. there's 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 -- what would you say, about 100,000 every hour or two? so we feel -- we feel good about
most of that. i would say the biggest challenge of power restoration will be in those areas that bore the brunt of the category 4-plus, almost category 5 impact where it may have uprooted some of the existing infrastructure. now, that will be mixed. it's just -- fixed. it's just not something that will get fixed in 24 or 48 hours. there has been some damage in lee. some damage in charlotte counties. but there's been a lot of the infrastructure that was able to make it through. i think now actually, lee, they got about 20% back with power which is quite frankly more than i would have anticipated this soon after such a major impact. we were able to go just kind of look around. we flew. we did a press conference. we met with some people that had lost homes and businesses. people that had been in that community for decades and decades. so it's -- it's sad to lose your belongings anyway. there's a lot of history in that
part of the state and many parts of our state. you see that it's hard to just replace that. there will be things need to do infrastructure-wise, brings, some of the other stuff down there. but i was pleasantly surprised to see 48 hours after a massive impact i saw things opening. i saw all of this happening in lee county. so the quicker 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 dfr toured over in central florida, seminole county, and what we saw in central florida was more standing water than southwest florida where the big surge came in. it's the way they have the -- the sand, for whatever reason, that really desip tated over the -- dissipated over the last
24, 48 hours. you see a lot of standing water. some of those places had water still up a couple feet on their homes. they're bracing for more impacts as you see something with st. johns and other things that happen. we knew there would be flooding but standing water 200-plus miles away is saying something. and we saw the impact in the communities in northeast florida before. we will be asking -- kevin will be working with fema about potentially expanding individual assistance eligibility beyond the counties that have already been added. right now it's southwest florida into central florida. it stops before you get up into st. johns. i don't think flagler or volusia are in it either. flagler, volusia, they had big impacts too. that's something we'll work with them on. we think that will be helpful for the residents of this are why. fuel, by and large, has 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. that's something that we've had storms in the past where people were without fuel for weeks or a long time and that's a pain. it makes it harder for people to get back. so we appreciate the staengs 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 had been destroyed. but i would say that, you know, all the companies i think now are allowing the other consumers to other customers to roam on their network. so that makes it very helpful. so if you're down there, don't try to do wi-fi calling. that's not up where it needs to be. just do normal calling with roaming. if you're verizon, you can't get that, you may get at&t. that's something that's very, very important. want kevin to come up and give an update and then we'll have
the administrator as well. kevin. kevin: thank you, governor, for your leadership all day long today. here in st. johns county, st. augustine, i know the public officials know this is my home. coming back home, this is not the way i'd like to come home on the weekends. i'm here to help not just the state of florida but also my hometown. so we're out here walking the streets. myself, administrator, the regional administrator, we're sitting here talking about, you know, different aspects of this particular neighborhood, other areas around 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 is just down the road here a house being raised with fema funding as part of the flood mitigation assistance grant program. there's a similar program called the 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 a neighborhood just like this. highly encourage you folks in this area to consider those programs. i know the city and the county will be reaching out to individuals that want to participate in that program. please, continue to be part of that program. as the governor mentioned, infrastructure is -- we're seeing the results in infrastructure hardening. chief was telling me some of the lift stations and whatnot were more resilient in this storm than they were in matthew. things are getting better as what we do as far as hurricane response. if there are things you need, please make sure you reach out to your local management agency, reach out to the fire chief, police chief here. make sure we know about them. get those things rolled up to us. we'll be here to continue to support not just st. johnists county and the city of st. augustine but all floridians
across the state. governor, appreciate you. governor desantis: and joining us is fema administrator deanne criswell. administrator criswell: it's important for me to come into a community after an event like this. so i can get an idea what the impacts are. 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 i heard throughout the day today was how the neighbors are helping neighbors. they're really jumping in and helping each other out. we just heard a great story here but we heard that across the state today. and the absolute heroic efforts that the first responders put forward in the first few days. i just want to thank all of them for everything that they've done. as you heard the governor say with 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 can 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 requests they have to make sure we can jump-start the recovery process but also be here with you as you go through the rebuilding and reconstruction phases. so thank you. governor desantis: ok. any questions. reporter: i know it's early to tell but do you know the cost in florida and st. augustine? governor desantis: no. i think that will take some time. i will tell you in our preparations with everything we did to prepare from the state was hundreds of millions of dollars.
we did $300 million. we knew this 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. and so we have $500 million that we earmark every year. so this is the first time. unfortunately, we're having to tap it. 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 reimbursement. and -- reimbursable. so a lot what the local governments have done and local communities, those 31st days will be 100% reimbursable by the federal government. so that was similar to what's done in other hurricanes like michael. and that will make it -- the thing about this one, sometimes you hear hurricanes and it will hit like one place and one
state. well, in florida when they meander across the peninsula, you're hitting all these different communities and there's a lot of impact that have a trickle effect all across the state. reporter: governor, as you're moving across the state, are there -- what kind of challenges are there? governor desantis: there's not any that they can't. kevin: it's complicated. we're starting an air bridge and a -- governor desantis: for those of you familiar, not familiar with southwest florida, sanibel island are connected to the main land by a causeway. that was severed by the storm in a couple different places. so the only way to access that is by sea or by air. so what happened from the wee hours of the morning when the storm passed was bringing in blackhawk helicopters, chinook helicopters, finding people that wanted to be rescued and then bringing them safely back to the main land.
what they are also finding as they've gone in those areas is a lot of the residents are stabilized. they rode out the storm. probably a very harrowing experience. but some of them have really nice homes and can do that. so what they're finding out is a lot want to stay put on the island and thank the first responders for being there. obviously anyone in need of that they are willing to do that and bring back. 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. issue with this is going to be the transport back and forth to those islands. it's going to be -- we also have another island, great community, pine island. that bridge got severed, too. now, we will fix both of those bridges. but that doesn't happen overnight. i mean, there's 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 sanibel used to be an island that you had to ferry too anyway. we have some of those throughout the state of florida that's how
they do it. i think most people appreciate being able to drive back and forth. we'll do that. those island communities that were severed by the bridge were probably the most difficult to get to. so you just had to use these resources. that's why we had all the aircraft stationed in the run-up to the storm. hey, we have another 50 aircraft. now we have 250 aircraft ready to go. f.w.c., 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, they were on alligator alley midnight while the storm was still kicking so they can rescue people. it's been a real herculean effort. the issue will be who will want to stay there long term knowing 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 one utility pole. and then also the transport back
and forth. i mean, some people like it that not as many people can come. they like 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 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. so local law enforcement is involved in monitoring that. i told kevin if the state needs to help as well, because you can have people bringing boats to 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 we are a second amendment state. reporter: coming down to st. john's county, i want to ask you -- and thank you for bringing fema with you. we're seeing flooding that people are reporting similar to hurricane matthew out here. i know a lot of people felt it
took a while to get fema relief last time during hurricane matthew. for people of this county, can you give us a timeline or can the fema folks give us a timeline on when people can start expecting that fema relief? governor desantis: so i'll let the administrator speak. at that point, the individuals will come and get assistance. administrator criswell: there have been 13 counties cleared for individual assistance. they should register now for assistance. they can do that by going to the disasterassistance.gov. they can call 1-800-621-3362 or use our fema app. as i've been out here today with the governor and we have teams over the state to look at the damages in other counties, we'll add more counties for assistance. as soon as that happens, they can register for assistance.
some of the funding can go into their account sometimes right away for needs. and then we'll have inspectors to look at the damage. fema does not replace insurance. 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're capped statutorily for how much money we can give per repair but we have the same amount of money we can do for personal property belongings. so we'll continue to work with each of the individuals because we know their cases are unique. every individual will have a different circumstance. it will be very unique and specific to them. 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 are a lot of other funding sources that come and help. governor desantis: you can now do -- and i didn't know this until the administrator told me -- cleanup costs associated with flooding. if -- you have individual assistance, you can actually get money to help with the cost of
cleaning up all of the flood damage. that's obviously can be very -- i know a lot of people put elbow grease into it and really work hard on your property but if you need someone to come in professionally you will have access for support. and so we've been mentioning the -- 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. so you have that spirit in these situations that are very difficult. and obviously, really life changing in places that got hit so tremendously in southwest florida. but people step up and they want to help their fellow neighbor -- friends and neighbors. we have a thing with volunteer florida, floridadisasterfund.org. this is purely tax deductible, private donations 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 couldn't do it. they have to follow whatever the rules are. now this is a little bit more nimble. you can find unique needs for people. we're not exactly sure what the medium and long-term needs will be for everyone because we're not sure how many people are totally displaced. there's a lot of seasonal homes there. there's a lot of rentals. we don't know which homes are this or that. we'll find out when more people come. i think they raised $10 million, $15 million already for that. that will be something i think will help a lot of people, particularly those who are now without home. reporter: governor, getting to places like sanibel, can there a number to put on the casualties, regrettably? governor desantis: so they are
doing those assessments. the way they do it and kevin explained it, there's a process. if someone drowns in their home from a flooding, that will be a confirmed storm-related casualty. people do pass away for other things. sometimes there are deaths not attributable to the storm. some may be indirect. in charlotte county, they had somebody who during the high tide of the storm, you know, had a heart attack. 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 in fort -- particularly, fort myers beach and some of those areas, 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 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 -- figure out, ok, who was home, who wasn't? i will tell you, though, when they've gone to the sanibel and these places, people that did hunker down -- and i talked to the folks in pine island, by and large, life and limb, people did ok. it doesn't mean there's not going to be reported casualties because there definitely have been and there will be. so it was a really significant storm. one of the things i think kevin has done a good job of and i tried to do is point out how -- what the storm does directly is obviously very significant. but in these days after, there's deaths that happen in these storms. downed powerlines. people using den generators inside their homes. some of the flood, the standing water, some of the hazards that does. so please, just because the storm has passed, don't think 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 throughout most of the state so that will mitigate hazards. at the end of the day, please understand -- and this is true for michael, this is true for irma in the week, 10 days after we saw -- we saw casualties because of what was happening. we want to avoid those as much as we can. reporter: do you know anything that could or should have done better to avoid those casualties? >> so first of all, emergency management directors, police chiefs, fire chiefs, make 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. at one point in time we were looking maybe apalachicola bay to the keys. the first thing to say is this was a very -- where it was going to go. lee county did not get real
notice that they were going to be the center of this thing until about 36 to 48 hours. when that happened, they immediately called. they had a volunteer evacuation zone a for the storm surge when they were looking at two to four feet of storm surge. when they moved to a 12 or 18-foot storm surge they immediately called for mandatory evacuations. you may recall the governor said, if you're in a situation you should evacuate. we can 100% guarantee 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. governor desantis: when we did our briefing 72 hours before the storm on sunday, the national hurricane center had this storm hitting taylor county in north florida. fort meyers and naples were not even in the cone. it was a situation those folks at the local level as the storm started to shift, they took that
data and 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 -- fort meyers. they were in tampa. i think from southwest florida's perspective, as the storm -- as the storm shifted, you know, they made calls and they were helping people get to shelters. they opened up their shelters. they did what they needed to do. there were a number of people who evacuated from tampa to fort meyers thinking the storm was going to go. i think -- two feet -- two, three feet of storm surge is a big deal. i said in sunday, just because it goes to taylor county doesn't mean you won't get surge in naples. it's a difference between that and getting the eye of the
storm. 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, 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. i mean, whoever was on that right side of that eyewall, sanibel, fort myers beach, those areas, that was the biggest. if you were on the left side, there was damage but it's noticeably different whether you're on that. so these miles make a big difference. in terms of how they do. but i can tell you kevin was working with all of the local managers ever since last week. we said the whole time, 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. so plan accordingly. i think they all did. i think they took the information and they put it into practice. ok. thanks, everybody. appreciate it. >> tonight, house speaker nancy pelosi answers questions about her legislative agenda. amid a deadline to avoid a government shutdown. watch at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span now, our free mobile video app, or online at c-span.org. >> c-span's "washington journal" every day we take your calls live on the air on the news of the day and we discuss policy issues that impact you. coming up saturday morning -- mark and the center for intreejic and inter -- strategic
and international studies talks about vladimir putin's move to annex areas in ukraine and his military mobilization. and we'll feature new york times national politics reporter and talk about campaign 2022 and his podcast "the run-up." watch "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern saturday morning on c-span or on c-span now, our free mobile app. join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, texts and tweets. >> c-span's campaign 2022 coverage of the mid term elections 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 on october 6. in wisconsin, on october 7, incumbent senator ron johnson debates barnes. and in
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