Posted by: Public Affairs
The administration, coordinated through FEMA, is committed to bringing all of the resources of the federal family to bear to support the states and territories that have already been affected by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene and the states that are preparing for the storm. FEMA, through our regional offices in Boston, MA, Philadelphia, PA, New York City, NY, Atlanta, GA, and our Caribbean Area Office in Puerto Rico, have been in close contact and coordination with the states and territories that have been affected, and states that will be impacted.
Over the past several days, President Obama has declared a major disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and emergency declarations for North Carolina, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont, making available federal resources to support response efforts.
Prior to Irene's making landfall on the East Coast Saturday, FEMA deployed teams and resources along the East Coast from South Carolina to Maine. In advance of Irene moving through the territories earlier last week, FEMA deployed teams to both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to coordinate directly with local officials on the ground.
At the direction of President Obama and DHS Secretary Napolitano, FEMA continues to work with our federal, state, territorial, tribal and local partners, as well as voluntary organizations, the private sector, and others to respond to the aftermath of Irene. The following timeline provides an overview of these and other federal activities, to date, to support these territories, states, families and communities.
Monday, August 29
- President Obama signs an emergency declaration for the State of Vermont due to Hurricane Irene, making available federal support to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety for the entire state.
- DHS Secretary Napolitano holds a teleconference with mayors of the East Coast cities to discuss the latest hurricane response and recovery operations. They also asked the mayors if they anticipated any areas that would require additional support.
- Last night, there were more than 428 shelters open across 15 states and Puerto Rico. Shelter populations continue to decrease as individuals begin to return home upon an all clear from local officials. Information about open Red Cross shelters is available at redcross.org and will continue to be updated.
- For those areas without power, FEMA and federal partners urge residents to be safe and take precautions while the power is out. Find out how to keep food safe during and after an emergency by visiting www.FoodSafety.gov. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges consumers to be especially careful during a loss of electrical power, as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire increases at that time. The CPSC and U.S. Fire Administration warn consumers NEVER to use portable generators indoors or in garages, basements or sheds. The exhaust from generators contains high levels of carbon monoxide that can quickly incapacitate and kill.
- FEMA is actively working with our state partners to begin preliminary damage assessments (PDA) in some areas, and make preparations for assessments in others. These damage assessments help the governor determine whether additional federal assistance is needed.
- Governors have activated more than 10,000 National Guard personnel in states to assist affected states with response efforts. In those states already being affected by the hurricane, National Guard forces are assisting state and local authorities as they begin performing cleanup, communication, and search and rescue missions.
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's is providing two Coastal Engineers in North Carolina to assist in preliminary damage assessments with state and local officials.
- The Department of Agriculture urges farmers and ranchers in storm-affected areas to notify their local farm bureau service centers in order to coordinate evaluation of storm affects on crop yields.
- FEMA conducts Congressional conference calls with Congressional delegations from the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, Congressional Asian, Black and Hispanic Caucuses and FEMA Authorizers and Appropriators to provide updates on ongoing federal response and recovery to Irene.
- More than 250 community relations specialists are staged on the ground in affected states and additional mobilizations and deployments continue. Community relations teams have begun to gather situational awareness about the storm impacts and help inform disaster survivors about available services and resources.
See yesterday's blog post for a recap of earlier federal activities.