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ICYMI: Rubio Joins CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined The Lead with Jake Tapper on CNN to discuss Hurricane Ian. See below for highlights and watch the full interview here.
On the importance of following orders from local officials:
“People that die in storm surge, people that die in water — it’s because they drown. We’re talking about [storm surge that is] projected [to be] between 12 and 18 feet. The National Hurricane Center had to redo their storm surge projection map [because] they didn’t have a color for 12 to 18 feet….
“Luckily, it looks like most people heeded those [evacuation] warnings. A few may have not…. [A] part of the challenge now is how you get to [those] people, because that water is not just going to go away for hours and then it leaves behind all kinds of dangerous conditions on the ground.
“So the storm surge, the wind, this is already a catastrophic event, and I think the worst is yet to come between the rain and the areas that it’s going to go through. This thing is going to march right up [the I-4 Corridor], up towards northeast Florida, maybe [to] Jacksonville or Daytona. A huge swath of Florida’s population is going to be impacted by this in one way or another.”
On the resources available to assist Floridians following the storm:
“We’ve been posting [resources] on rubio.senate.gov… I’d also ask [Floridians] to tune into local news and broadcasters because they’re going to be putting out this information.
“After the storm passes, people are going to be eligible for FEMA assistance, maybe SBA assistance. We proactively, a couple of days ahead [of the storm’s landfall], began to put out some of the documents that people are going to need to have to access that [assistance]. I spoke to the FEMA director this morning [and] they have simplified their process coming into the hurricane season to make it easier for people to access it.
“There are going to be people left without homes [and] without access to money and food for a substantial period of time. We want them to know we’ll be out there helping to make those resources available after the storm has passed and conditions are safe.”
On the limitations of getting storm assistance into affected areas:
“There’s two things that limit the access. The first, obviously, is standing water, because this is not just a storm surge. It’s the amount of rain. Peace River, which goes through multiple counties, through Hardee [County] and all the way up to Polk County and the low lying areas, they are going to be flooded by both rain that’s been happening now for a few days, along with the storm surge. So there’s the water impediment, but then there’s also road debris.
“One of the things we talked to FEMA about is the removal of debris. [It] is something that needs to happen because without the debris removal, without the bulk collection and moving trees, limbs, and all the stuff that’s on the road, you can’t get emergency crews in there. You can’t get power restoration going… So debris removal is going to be one of the first tasks, once it’s safe and conditions allow, in addition to the water situation in these low lying areas, which could stand for some days.”
On the impact to Florida’s citrus and fertilizer industries:
“The citrus industry in Florida is already teetering on the brink because of citrus greening. If they lose this year’s crop and a bunch of trees, you can’t just restart that. It takes time…. So it’s going to be a big hit for them.
“The fertilizer industry, that’s a new dynamic and there’s two issues of concern there. One is environmental, the impact that might have because that water is going to flow back in other places. And the other, as you said, is the loss of this fertilizer supply…. It’s the first time we’ll face that kind of loss and we’ll have to see how we work that into any disaster relief. It’s hard to tell until there’s a full assessment. [Hurricane Ian] is going to be a multibillion dollar event, unfortunately.”