Surfside building collapse - search and recovery update
Miami-Dade County released the following additional update on the Surfside building collapse response and recovery:
Search and Recovery
Updated numbers: As of the evening of July 21, 97 victims have been identified, including 96 victims recovered from the collapse and one victim who passed away in the hospital, and 97 families have been notified. 242 people are accounted for. We believe there is one victim not yet identified.
At this step in the recovery process it has become increasingly challenging to identify victims, and we are relying heavily on the work of the medical examiner’s office and the scientific, technical process of identifying human remains. This work becomes more difficult with the passage of time although our teams are working as hard and as fast as they can.
Mayor Daniella Levine Cava also shared the following statement related to ongoing search and recovery efforts:
"Thanks to the diligent and incredibly thorough work of our first responders and debris handling teams, the building collapse site has been mostly cleared and debris relocated to the evidentiary debris collection site near the airport. The first responders are now conducting additional searches of the debris at the collection site, as we continue to do everything we can to search as thoroughly as possible for any remains to bring closure to families. We are continuing to search with enormous care and diligence and to work closely hand-in-hand with faith leaders as we have since the beginning of this process.
In collapses like this one it is unfortunately very difficult to recover all the remains. Some of the factors that impeded the search work against us, like fire and water. The enormous pressure of the weight of the collapse and the passage of time also make it more challenging. Our teams are committed to doing everything possible to bring closure to the families, and that’s why they continue to search the debris."
Teams are also continuing to recover personal property and religious artifacts and are following careful collection and tagging protocols. Our Property and Evidence Section is working around the clock to ensure all recovered personal property and family heirlooms are treated with the utmost respect, and with great consideration for faith traditions when we recover items of religious significance.
Family Assistance and Resources
272 unique families have now received services through the Family Assistance Center.
As our community begins the difficult process of healing from the Surfside collapse, mental health resources are available for families, survivors, and first responder. Miami-Dade County encourages anyone in need of mental health resources to call 211 for free crisis counseling and referral services.