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Biden Offers Sympathy For Those Awaiting News Of Loved Ones In Building Collapse

President Biden says his "heart goes out" to the families anxiously waiting for updates as rescuers search for survivors in the rubble of the Champlain Towers South complex in Surfside, Fla.

Biden made the remarks Friday at a ceremony signing H.R. 49, designating the Pulse nightclub a national memorial in memory of the shooting where 49 people were killed in 2016.

He said the people who lost loved ones in the Pulse shooting understand what it's like to wait for tragic news.

The president said he had spoken with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and provided the state with federal help.

"We sent the best people from FEMA down there. We're going to stay with them," Biden said. He suggested those affected would need "everything from housing to, God forbid, whether there's a need for moratoria for the bodies to be placed. Everything in between."

"It's a tough, tough time," the president said. "There's so many people waiting. Are they alive? What will happen? And so, our heart goes out to them."

As of Friday, four people have been confirmed dead by authorities. Rescue workers continue to search for the additional 159 individuals still unaccounted for following the building's collapse.

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Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.
Dustin Jones
Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.