Death toll rises to 18 as Miami Beach search for survivors continues

Death toll rises to 18 as Miami Beach search for survivors continues

MIAMI, Florida – A week after the tragic collapse of one of the towers of the Champlain Towers building in Surfside, firefighters have confirmed the finding of two more victims, bringing the number to 18.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said two children, ages 4 and 10, were among the dead. They are 2 sisters identified as Lucía Guara, 10 years old, and Emma Guara, 4 years old. They also identified Anaely Rodríguez, 42, and Andreas Giannitsopoulos, 21.

Earlier, on Wednesday during the day, four new victims had been found, bringing the number of victims found to 6 during the day.

The number of people to be located stands at 145, while those located alive are 139, said the mayor of Miami-Dade County in her latest official report offered this Wednesday.

A week after the Surfside tragedy, rescuers are not giving up and are removing tons of debris even with their bare hands.

In addition to rescue efforts, Levine Cava clarified that vigilance is being maintained in meteorological systems that could affect South Florida and make rescue efforts more difficult.

Levine Cava, supported the announcement by Miami-Dade County Attorney General Katherine Fernández-Rundle that the case be submitted to a grand jury to determine if there are responsible.

At the press conference it was reported that there are contingency plans in view of the possibility of the potential fifth cyclone of the season in the Atlantic basin.

All representatives of emergency management agencies who spoke at the press conference said they have an “eye on the tropics” for two systems that are advancing from the west towards the Caribbean Sea.

Torrential rains and thunderstorms have affected rescue efforts.

One of them could become Tropical Storm Elsa in a few days.

Both the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, and the mayor of Miami-Dade, spoke today about how they can affect the tropical waves that move towards the Caribbean and can give rise to named storms to the search tasks.

DeSantis recalled that the hurricane season has already started and the systems that are underway are being taken “very seriously” and said that the “necessary measures will be taken in case it is necessary to respond” to a possible cyclone.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said today that a low pressure system moving towards the Antilles has an 80% chance of turning into a depression in the next five days, a forecast that has put state and local agencies.

Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said a federal team will arrive Wednesday to join forces in the event of a tropical storm in southern Florida.

The mayor mentioned that inclement weather has accompanied the search and rescue efforts from the beginning, but they have not interrupted them and said that it will continue to be, while the mayor of Surfside, Charles Burkett, said that the dogs used in search operations are not inhibited by bad weather.

Crews at the site of the collapse have already begun removing debris from under the pool and garage of the building, which collapsed in the early morning of June 24, reducing more than 50 units out of 136 to rubble.

Filed against the collapsed building association. And we had access to a call that is being used as evidence.

President Joe Biden will visit the area this Thursday and is scheduled to meet with family members and rescuers to provide support. They confirmed that the usual security tasks for the president will not interrupt the search and rescue process that has been going on for eight days.

SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS AND MORE DEMANDS

In the first of the two press conferences that are offered daily in the place, they also spoke about the attention that is being paid to the families of victims affected by the collapse and the authorities thanked the 26 organizations of all kinds that are present in the center set up for them in a hotel.

They highlighted that at least 30 families have already received financial and emotional support.

At the local level, community foundations are launching a hardship fund to help those affected by the landslide.

While the investigation into the causes of the collapse is in its infancy, it is already known that at least since 2018 Champlain Towers South had significant structural damage and that when the collapse occurred in the building, works were carried out on the roof with a view to passing the certification required for having reached 40 years of age.

Possible negligent conduct has also been pointed to by a Surfside official who in 2018 said the building was in good repair despite an engineering report warning to the contrary.

Similarly, in a letter dated April this year, the president of the building’s neighborhood community, Jean Wodnicki, pointed out that the deterioration was worsening and repairs amounting to 15 million dollars were needed.

A new and fourth lawsuit was filed this Wednesday by relatives of Harold Rosenberg, who resided in suite 211 and is one of the people who remain missing after the collapse of Champlain Towers South in that city near Miami Beach.

Along with Rosemberg, one of his sons and his daughter-in-law are also missing, who were visiting, according to the lawyer who filed the lawsuit, the Miami Herald newspaper reported.

Details also emerged about the third class action lawsuit in Miami-Dade against the condominium association, in this case filed on Monday by Raysa Rodríguez, a resident who lives on the ninth floor of the Champlain Towers South building, as well as other residents in a similar situation.

FAMILY REUNIFICATION CENTER

A Family Reunification Center was set up at the Grand Beach Hotel at 9449 Collins Ave. An emergency unit has been established there where family and friends can go to offer information on possible missing persons. The available phone number is 305-6141819.

The authorities ask the survivors or people who live in some of the towers of this condominium to contact the authorities and give their names in order to establish a list of identities.

Ben Oakley
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