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The Latest From Surfside, Champlain Towers Lawsuits Filed, And Talking Trauma With Children

People embrace Monday at a makeshift memorial outside St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Surfside, Fla., near the site of the Champlain Towers South condo that partially collapsed last week.
People embrace Monday at a makeshift memorial outside St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Surfside, Fla., near the site of the Champlain Towers South condo that partially collapsed last week.

On this Wednesday, June 30, episode of Sundial

Surfside Update

More people have been found in the rubble on day seven of the search and rescue. The latest numbers from officials indicate that at least 16 people have died in the collapse. 147 other people remain missing.

Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke at the site during that morning update and his message for impacted families put an emphasis on mental health going forward.

“To be able to see the real raw pain and emotion that this has caused is something that I don’t think any of us are going to ever forget. Some are going to require additional help, and so we have mental health resources that have been here in Surfside for a number of days now," DeSantis said.

WLRN healthcare reporter Verónica Zaragovia said that volunteers have been urging survivors to talk to someone, especially during a situation like this one where people have lost more than just their homes.

“They're urging people to write down a timeline and talk about what's happened step by step so that there is some kind of a sense of grasping what has just happened in this catastrophe,” she said.

According to WLRN environmental reporter Jenny Staletovich, closer attention will be paid to a condominium’s recertification process.

“Miami has asked that engineers that are doing these certifications now have an extra level of expertise. They don't want them to just be any engineer," said Staletovich. "They want them to be engineers who have looked at and re-certified the kinds of buildings that they're now being asked to look at, that they have done at least three of those buildings so that they're more qualified.”

Zaragovia also pointed out that while search and rescue missions continue there are two tropical disturbances in the Atlantic that may prolong the situation.

Surfside Update
a view of the champlain towers south from the water

Champlain Towers Lawsuits Filed

Four lawsuits have been filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court so far against the Champlain Towers South Condo Association. The south tower collapsed in the early morning hours almost a week ago. While the search and rescue mission continues amongst the rubble, survivors of the collapse are detailing their experiences in new lawsuits filed.

Miami Herald crime and courts reporter David Ovalle, noted that these first few lawsuits are looking at the negligence of the condo association.

“The main purpose of some of these lawsuits is to start preserving evidence. A lot of the stuff that eventually will come out during the discovery process in these lawsuits, whether it be condo minutes, e-mails, reports, all the different things that were commissioned by the condo associations over the years as to the maintenance and care of this building,” said Ovalle.

City of Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan is also an attorney who focuses on wrongful death and injury cases. He pointed out that although it’s too early to tell what the real causes of the collapse were, a grand-jury investigation will help get a lot of information and answers.

“What will happen from here is they will go back to the moment the building was even conceived and carry forward right up until June 24 to find out what was going on," Ryan said.

Champlain Towers Lawsuits Filed
A man looks at a memorial Tuesday with pictures of some of the missing from the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Fla.

Talking Trauma with Children

Watching and reading and listening to the updates and details coming out of Surfside — and being close to what happened — can have an impact on our mental health.

For kids, the damage of the event can manifest in a lot of different ways — it could feel scary if they live in a condo building or see the news or have friends affected. They might have questions or they might not feel OK.

“I think that the most important thing is that parents are regularly following up and checking in on their child and if they notice any behavior, obviously they should seek help,” said Grettel Suarez, a family therapist and the associate director of research at The Children's Trust. “Have an open line of communication, remain calm when they're talking to their child about what's happened, because the children are going to get the cues from them about whether everything is OK and get that sense of safety and security from the parents.”

She said parents should check in with themselves before talking with their children about traumatic events.

Talking Trauma With Children
Two men console each other on the beach Sunday near the site of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Fla. Rescuers kept digging through the mound of rubble over the weekend, clinging to hope that someone could be found alive.