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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Amid fears of Zika 'disaster,' Gov. Rick Scott seeks Obama's help

Amid warnings of a potential Zika "disaster" in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday asked President Barack Obama for an extensive list of preparedness items from the federal government to fight the dreaded virus.

In a three-page letter to the President, Scott said some of the requested items were detailed in a May 12 meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, but have not been fulfilled.

"I cannot waste any time on disappointment. Florida needs action from the federal government now," Scott wrote.

The requested items include 5,000 Zika preparedness kits, money for more city and county mosquito control workers and for an outreach program, insecticides, spraying equipment, mosquito traps and personal protection equipment. Scott also asked for a report from the feds by June 15 on how the state should work with FEMA, the federal emergency management agency, on how to request federal help after the Zika virus becomes mosquito-borne in Florida and causes an outbreak that requires an immediate response. 

Scott fired off the letter to the White House on the first day of Florida hurricane season, which he said leads to "the heart of summer heat, heavy rainfall and a growing mosquito population." The governor also voiced unhappiness with inaction by the Republican-controlled Congress, which "has failed to act and they are now on vacation."

Scott's letter is here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2016 1:55pm]


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