State of emergency declared in Miami Beach following condo collapse

The city of Miami Beach declared a state of emergency on Sunday, the New York Post reported, after a condo complex collapsed in neighboring Surfside.

The move will allow the city to get federal funding for its part in the response effort that is now underway.

A state of emergency

The collapse was only “steps away” from the city’s border to the north, officials said, according to the Post, and some places in Miami Beach have reportedly been used as staging areas for search and rescue efforts, as well as a large media presence.

The officials said the city deserved reimbursement for the costs it incurred, and the emergency declaration will allow it to get that funding.

In addition to the relief efforts, the proximity of the collapse has meant “the city has temporarily closed North Beach Oceanside Park and canceled or moved events north of 63 Street, including at the North Beach Bandshell,” a press release cited by the Post said.

Both Miami-Dade County where Surfside is located and the state of Florida have declared states of emergency, as well, the Post notes.

The search and rescue continues

The 12-story Champlain Towers South building collapsed between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Thursday, killing at least 11 and “leaving more than 150 unaccounted for,” the Post reported. Crews have been working since the collapse to rescue people who may be trapped in the rubble.

But the site has reportedly seen electrical fires and flooding that have delayed rescue efforts.

As the search and rescue operation continues, reports have surfaced alleging that condo association members and town building officials were warned in 2018 that there was structural damage in the garage area that needed to be addressed and that repair costs were estimated to be $9 million.

Inspection reports also indicated damage to the foundational areas of the building, USA Today reported.

“It looks like [inspectors] may not have been able to examine structural elements in other parts of the building,” contractor and lawyer Gregg Schlesinger said, according to USA Today. “There were probably similar water problems elsewhere.”

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