Biden to deliver remarks on the response to Hurricane Idalia and recovery efforts after Maui’s wildfires

President Joe Biden is set to deliver remarks Wednesday on the federal government’s ongoing response to Hurricane Idalia and the recovery efforts in Maui, Hawaii, after recent deadly wildfires.

Biden is also scheduled to convene Cabinet and agency officials who are supporting long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts on the ground in Maui after devastating wildfires swept through the island and killed at least 115 people, making them the deadliest in modern U.S. history.

The president will announce that the Department of Energy is providing $95 million through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Hawaii’s electric grid to try to improve service, limit damage in the future and help prevent failures that could lead to severe events.

Biden toured Lahaina last week, surveying the charred town where hundreds of people are still missing. During his visit, the president vowed that the federal government would do all it can to help with the recovery.

“The country grieves with you, stands with you and will do everything possible to help you recover, rebuild and respect culture and traditions,” Biden said in detailing rescue efforts that he said involved 450 search-and-rescue experts “working around the clock.”

As the Maui response continues, the Biden administration has urged preparedness for Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall in Florida on Wednesday morning. Storm surge damage from the powerful storm could stretch about 200 miles along Florida’s west coast.

Biden spoke with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday, telling him that he quickly approved an emergency declaration for the state amid preparations for the storm, the White House said. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Response Coordination Center is also fully activated to support requests for federal assistance.

DeSantis has activated the National Guard and said the state had resources ready to respond throughout Florida, addressing power needs and threats to residents. He said Florida was ready with 1.1 million gallons of fuel and almost 30,000 workers who would help restore power.

Biden also mentioned the call with DeSantis to reporters Tuesday as he hosted Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves Robles in the Oval Office for a bilateral meeting.

“I spoke with the governor last night. We’re providing everything that he possibly needs,” Biden said.

He added: “We’re in constant contact. I had the director of FEMA in here today earlier talking about it. It’s gonna be, I think we’re worried about the surge, the ocean surge. We don’t know exactly yet — it’s hour to hour we’re watching this — but I told the governor and the mayor of regions that are likely to be hit first that we’re there as long as it takes. We’re going to make sure they have everything they need.”

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