➡️ How Miami-Dade is responding to the tragedy in Surfside
Plus, resources for helping your neighbors right now.
By Zach Schlein
It’s Friday. And it’s been a surreal, disorienting day and a half for Miami.
Yesterday, locals woke up to the news that a condominium building in Surfside had partially collapsed just hours earlier. There’s no sense in trying to rationalize the senseless: This is a disaster that’s upended a town and brought confusion and distress to far too many families.
Every day, The New Tropic tries to encapsulate what matters in Miami within a single newsletter. The people, the headlines, the culture, the food, the music, the scenery — the list of reasons to love the 305 is long, and it isn’t always the simplest task to streamline a place as complex and vibrant as this one. Our home provokes a lot of passion, and when something as horrible as this happens, it’s felt across the city lines demarcating Miami-Dade’s myriad neighborhoods.
For as strange and disparate as its separate parts often seem, Miami is a collective community. And right now, it needs to come together to tend to its own.
Here’s what we know about Thursday’s tragedy, how locals are responding, and how you can help:
💧 What Miami is talking about
What we know
- A portion of Champlain Towers South Condo, a residential building situated beachfront at 88th Street and Collins Avenue, collapsed around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday. The fall, which prompted a bomb-like boom, was described by one expert as “an oddity of biblical proportions” to the Miami Herald.
- The building stood 12 stories tall, and approximately 55 of its 136 units were affected by the disaster. Widely shared camera footage — which can be seen on Miami New Times’ thorough report — shows the moment of the condo’s collapse and the ensuing pillow of smoke. The Miami Herald also posted a compilation of videos capturing the cave-in’s aftermath.
- Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava held multiple press conferences with local officials yesterday detailing the rescue effort. As of writing, 102 Champlain Towers residents have been declared safe, there are three known deaths, and 99 people remain unaccounted for.
- According to the Miami Herald, Champlain Towers was constructed in 1981 and had recently been undergoing safety inspections. Additionally, USA Today was among the outlets to report that a 2020 study by FIU professor Shimon Wdowinski found that the land the condo sat on had been sinking for some time.
How Miami-Dade is responding
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for Miami-Dade County on Thursday night, opening the door for additional federal resources and financial assistance. The governor, who was quoted as saying “The TV doesn’t do it justice,’’ also directed the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to provide help. Levine Cava signed a similar direction earlier in the day.
- Miami-Dade Fire Rescue personnel have been navigating through the rubble to search for survivors. Per Local 10, they’ve begun receiving assistance from FEMA and the Red Cross; according to officials, the search could take up to a week, if not longer.
- Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro and team assistant coaches Chris Quinn and Eric Glass visited first responders to provide bottled water, snacks, and a morale boost yesterday afternoon.
Where to find more information and resources
- Officials are asking anyone with loved ones or relatives who lived at Champlain Towers to call 305-614-1819 with updates on whether they’ve been heard from or not. An emergency information hotline can also be reached at 305-993-1071.
- The county is asking building residents to fill out a Wellness Check form and share that they’re safe.
- A Family Assistance Center has been opened nearby at the Surfside Recreational Center located at 9301 Collins Ave for anyone searching for missing relatives. A Missing Person Report can be filled out at this link.
- Florida state agencies are providing help to affected businesses and residents who've been displaced. More information is available at this Miami Herald story with details on navigating the websites FloridaDisaster.Biz and FloridaHousingSearch.Org.
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