On Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order proclaiming a state of emergency due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The order arrived just days after Hamas launched an offensive on the country, setting off a conflict that has resulted in the deaths of over 1,200 Israelis, at least 1,500 Gazans, and 27 Americans.
This ruling will spring the Florida Division of Emergency Management into action. The goal is to bring Floridians home. They will also send essential supplies to Israel.
The Division of Emergency Management’s spokeswoman, Alecia Collins, said they are arranging flights home for Floridians.
The office of U.S. Senator Rick Scott has been in touch with “dozens of individuals and groups involving Floridians now in Israel,” according to McKinley Lewis.
A church group of 54 individuals from northeast Florida was exploring biblical sites in Israel when violence broke out, and allegations have surfaced that they are having problems leaving the country. The party made it across the border into Jordan without incident on Tuesday and were reportedly waiting for a trip back to the United States.
It’s unknown whether state government employees would participate in these flights, the number of flights planned, or the supplies that would be sent. When part of the emergency response, the Florida National Guard and the Florida State Guard will be activated “when needed” per the executive order’s directive.
How many Floridians are currently attempting to escape Israel is also unknown.
According to DeSantis’ office, “more than 20,000 Americans, including Floridians,” live in Israel but would like to return to the United States.
As DeSantis campaigned for president in New Hampshire, he filed an executive order criticizing the federal government for its “failure to begin any rescue or evacuation operations for Americans.”
U.S. citizens and their families “who have been unable to book commercial transit and seek a safe means of departing Israel” were informed Thursday afternoon that charter flights would begin operating Friday for them and other Americans “who have been unable to book commercial transit.”