After a series of storms battered California over the past few weeks and left behind such destruction, President Joe Biden traveled to the state to see it himself.
The series of storms left at least 21 people dead statewide — many of them were swept away by flash flooding. The damage is expected to surpass a billion dollars.
Some of the hardest-hit areas in the state include Sacramento, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz counties. In Sacramento, the damage is expected to cost at least $123 million alone. Santa Barbara is expected to cost $147 million and Santa Cruz $55 million.
Those numbers brought a federal commitment from the commander-in-chief to help California storm victims recover and rebuild.
President Biden said that plan has already been put into action with 500 FEMA agents on the ground in hard-hit areas and seven disaster help centers set up across the state.
"To the people in California, the country is here for you and with you," Biden said in Capitola Thursday. "We are not leaving until things are built back and built back better than they were before."
It was a presidential pledge that more money and help were on the way for storm-battered communities across California.
"Yesterday, I directed the federal government that we'll cover 100% of the cost of removing debris and emergency measures like sheltering evacuees and paid overtime for first responders for the next 60 days," Biden said.
Air Force One touched down in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties where the President got to see the damage caused by historic storms firsthand.
"It's not as obvious from the air just how much damage has been done," he said. "You don't feel it until you walk the streets."
California Gov. Gavin Newsom was at the President's side throughout the tour, meeting with business owners and first responders and reaffirming federal support for the state's recovery.
"We're talking about being here when all of you are gone. When the cameras are gone and all the attention spotlights taken off, that's when California's at its best and we do our best work. But we could not do that without federal support," Newsom said.
President Biden said the full scale of the damage likely won't be known for a few more weeks when the waters recede.
"We know some of the destruction is going to take years to fully recover and rebuild, but we've got to not just rebuild, we've got to rebuild better," he said.
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