TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Thursday in response to the war between Israel and Hamas, allowing the Florida Division of Emergency Management to “bring Floridians home and transport necessary supplies to Israel.”
The governor’s order allows the State of Florida to carry out logistical, rescue, and evacuation operations to keep its residents safe, including more than 20,000 Americans in Israel who wish to return home but are unable to do so.
FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie will lead the response for the duration of the emergency.
DeSantis said Florida is home to one of the largest Jewish populations in the world, accounting for large numbers of dual Israeli-American citizens. He added the lack of rescue or evacuation operations by the Biden administration “in any form” prompted his executive order.
DeSantis, citing news reports, said several Americans in the region remain unaccounted for, and some are among the estimated 150 hostages captured by Hamas terrorists.
The ongoing conflict is estimated to have claimed the lives of over 1,200 Israelis and other citizens, including 25 Americans, and has injured at least 2,900 people.