The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said that the administration will “support all communities” following a remark by Vice President Kamala Harris that “communities of color ... are most impacted” by hurricanes.
“We have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity ... sometimes we have to take into account those disparities,” she said.
FEMA Director Deanne Criswell was asked about the vice president’s comments during a CBS News interview on Sunday.
She added: “One of the things that I have known and I have experienced responding to other disasters is that there are people that often have a hard time accessing our programs, there’s barriers to our program.”
A spokesperson for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Christina Pushaw, asserted that Harris’s comment was unhelpful and is causing panic among victims of Ian.
In a separate Twitter post, Pushaw called on Harris to “correct what she said.”
Other than Pushaw, others provided Harris with negative feedback over the remark. “Should be according to greatest need, not race or anything else,” wrote Tesla CEO Elon Musk in response.
Nearly 850,000 homes and businesses were still without electricity Sunday, down from a peak of 2.67 million, after Ian struck.
Criswell told “Fox News Sunday” that the federal government began to arrange the “largest amount of search and rescue assets that I think we’ve ever put in place before” to supplement Florida’s resources.
At least 54 people have been confirmed dead: 47 in Florida, four in North Carolina, and three in Cuba. The weakened storm drifted north on Sunday and was expected to dump rain on parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and southern Pennsylvania, according to the National Hurricane Center, which warned of the potential for flash-flooding.