Biden acknowledges inescapable climate crisis amidst US disasters
US President Joe Biden conveyed on Wednesday that the climate crisis can no longer be ignored, especially as countries worldwide grapple with the aftermath of increasingly severe disasters.
"No one can deny the undeniable impact of the climate crisis any longer. The evidence is all around us," Biden addressed reporters at the White House, pointing to the west coast of Florida, where Hurricane Idalia has brought an unprecedented storm surge to the Big Bend region.
Biden emphasized, "Historic floods, intensified droughts, extreme heatwaves, and rampant wildfires have inflicted substantial damage, surpassing previous records. This isn't limited to the Hawaiian Islands or the United States; Canada and other parts of the world are also facing these challenges. We've never witnessed wildfires of this magnitude."
In response, Biden disclosed that he has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to dispatch 1,500 emergency personnel and 900 Coast Guard service members to the southeastern region as Hurricane Idalia approaches the US mainland.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell is scheduled to travel from Washington to Florida later on Wednesday to meet Governor Ron DeSantis and other state officials. This visit aims to facilitate the federal assessment of the aftermath left by Hurricane Idalia.
Further underscoring his commitment, Biden stated, "I've had discussions with Governor DeSantis, Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina, and Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina. I assured them that if there's any form of support their states require at this moment, I stand ready to mobilize it."
Although Hurricane Idalia initially made landfall in Florida's Big Bend region as a formidable Category 3 hurricane, it has since been reclassified as a Category 1 storm. Its trajectory currently traverses Georgia, where the National Hurricane Center warns of likely flash and river flooding. The storm is projected to affect the eastern Carolinas through Thursday as well.