US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the climate crisis cannot be denied any longer as countries around the globe grapple with the fallout from increasingly severe disasters.
"I don't think anybody can deny the impact of the climate crisis anymore. Just look around," Biden told reporters at the White House as the west coast of the state of Florida grapples with unprecedented storm surge brought to the Big Bend region by Hurricane Idalia.
"Historic floods, more intense droughts, extreme heat, significant wildfires have caused significant damage like we've never seen before, not only throughout the Hawaiian Islands in the United States, but in Canada and other parts of the world. We've never seen this much fire," he added.
Biden said he has ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deploy 1,500 emergency personnel and 900 Coast Guard service members throughout the southeast as Idalia closed in on the US mainland.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell is leaving Washington for Florida later Wednesday to meet Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state officials as she prepares the federal assessment of the damage left in Idalia's wake.
Biden said he spoke with DeSantis, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and told them: "If there's anything, anything the state's need right now, I'm ready to mobilize that support."
Idalia made landfall in Florida's Big Bend region early Wednesday as a powerful Category 3 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a Category 1 storm. It is currently making its way through Georgia where the National Hurricane Center is warning flash and river flooding is likely, as well as in the eastern Carolinas, through Thursday.