Florida is transporting supplies and bringing Americans home from Israel after the Oct. 7 terrorist attack. [Photo by Taylor Brandon]
Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency in response to the war between Israel and Hamas. His office says the declaration allows the Florida Division of Emergency Management to “bring Floridians home and transport necessary supplies to Israel.”
The declaration came as the federal government is arranging charter flights to transport Americans. Some commercial airlines halted service to Israel after Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel started the war Oct. 7.
DeSantis’ Oct. 12 order calls for activation of the Florida National Guard and Florida State Guard as needed. It also directs Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie to carry out a state emergency management plan and “other response, recovery and mitigation plans necessary to cope with the emergency, including any logistical, rescue or evacuation operations.”
Without providing details, DeSantis’ office says the order enables the Division of Emergency Management to “bring Floridians home” and transport supplies to Israel.
DeSantis was in New Hampshire on Oct. 12, beginning a two-day trip to the early primary state in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
The governor’s office that day said more than 20,000 Americans were in Israel who “wish to return home but are unable to do so.”
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said during a White House briefing that the Biden administration has started to arrange charter flights to transport Americans in Israel to other locations.
“In this time of crisis, we’re focused on getting things done and supporting Israel. That's where our heads are,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
Kirby said he didn’t have hard figures on the number of Americans trying to get out of Israel.
At least 32 American have been killed in the war, and as many as 11 are missing and possibly being held as Hamas hostages.
DeSantis’ emergency order says the attack on Israel “has prompted demonstrations and fundraising campaigns throughout the United States, including Florida, intended to intimidate and threaten the Jewish population and to support Hamas.”
The resulting protective operations involving agencies such as the Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Department of Education and state university system “are expected to strain state and local law enforcement resources.”
The order makes available money from the state’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund.