Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday the rebuilding process for Irma is underway in Florida, but it will be a “long time” before citizens get back on their feet.
“The first priority is life, safety and then comes the rebuilding part. I think we are still involved in the first angle of it. Especially in some of these shelters, and of course the second part is now underway,” he said. “It will be a long time before some of these men and women are up and running again.”
Rubio said there are still many damage assessments to be done but said his state is “grateful” for the efforts of the first responders and those who volunteered.
“Some of the underlying long term damage is the kinds of things we still don’t have a full assessment on, but we have a lot to be grateful for in terms of our first responders. Firefighters, police officers, and others. National guard and Coast Guard, the Navy, the Air Force. So many people chipped in here and saved a lot of lives,” Rubio said. “Lot of damage obviously. No power. It’ll be a while. There’s a lot of components to this we have to start thinking through.”
When asked how much the damage would cost, Rubio didn’t give an exact figure but estimated it would run in the billions of dollars. Congress is expected to continue allocating money through FEMA, despite the federal flood insurance program being billions of dollars in debt.
“Obviously in the billions,” Rubio said. “And there’s a lot of components to it. People that are not going back to their homes for a while will need temporary housing. That’ll cost money … there’s a lot of assessment yet to be done. And I think the difference between this and other storms, this is a statewide event. Usually you’ll have a community impacted by a storm. Virtually every part of the state got some damage.”
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