Posted by: Tim Manning, Deputy Administrator, Protection and National Preparedness
As the U.S. government continues to offer support to the people of Japan, and FEMA continues to stay in close contact with our state partners along the West Coast that were impacted by Friday's tsunami, I am traveling to Hawaii and American Samoa this week to meet with our partners in emergency management from across the pacific, and discuss how together, we can build more resilient communities.
Although this trip had been scheduled for quite some time, long before Friday, what just happened in Japan underscores the importance of building strong relationships, across the entire emergency management team. I started out my trip yesterday in Honolulu, where FEMA has our Pacific Area Office, also known as our PAO. The PAO, along with our regional office in Oakland, CA, was in constant contact with Hawaii state officials throughout Friday, and continue to work closely with them as they begin to conduct assessments of the damage the tsunami caused. While in Honolulu, staff from our PAO and regional office and I met with Governor Abercrombie and his staff, where we discussed the aftermath of the tsunami and how the state was faring. While there have been no requests for federal assistance yet, the Governor and I both agreed that our strong partnership helped during the state's immediate response. We were ready to help any way needed, and FEMA will continue to work to support the state as recovery efforts get underway.
For the next three days, I'm in American Samoa, where FEMA has been working to support the territory's ongoing recovery from the devastating tsunami that struck in September 2009. Today, I'll be meeting with Governor Tulafono and other territory and local officials and touring some of our ongoing recovery projects. Tomorrow, I'll be participating in the O'hana Pacific Area Risk Managers Annual Conference, which many of our federal, state and territory partners are attending. There's no doubt that the devastation in Japan will be on all of our minds -- and make our discussions all the more relevant.
The bottom line is, as the people of Samoa learned a year and a half ago, none of us are invincible to a catastrophic disaster. The recent earthquakes in Chile, in New Zealand, which I experienced firsthand, and in Japan should be an important reminder to all of us that earthquakes and other disaster can strike anytime, anywhere. We all need to do our part to be prepared.
I'm looking forward to a week of constructive meetings and dialogues that will help us continue to build on our efforts at FEMA. I'll continue to check in from the road - so stay tuned to the blog for more updates.