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 been affected by Hurricane Irene.
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. 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, Pennsylvania, 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.
Tuesday, August 30
- DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack joined federal, state and local partners in North Carolina and Virginia to tour disaster areas, meet with disaster survivors and receive an update on ongoing response and recovery efforts.
- FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate joined federal, state and local partners in Vermont to tour disaster areas, and received an update on ongoing response and recovery efforts.
- FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino to Connecticut to tour disaster areas, and will be in New Jersey later today. Tomorrow, Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate will travel to New York and New Jersey to meet with the governors and their teams, as well as other state and local officials and view damages there.
- In response to the state's request, FEMA is establishing a staging area at Camp Johnson (Colchester, Vt.) to support federal response operations. The staging area allows FEMA and federal partners to proactively stage commodities closer to areas affected by severe weather, allowing supplies to be quickly moved throughout affected states, should they be needed and requested.
- Federal and state personnel are now working together to conduct or schedule preliminary damage assessments in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Maine. These assessments are designed to give the governor of each state a better picture of damages, and to determine if a request for further federal support is needed.
- National Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Massachusetts Task Force 1 (MA TF-1) continues to assist the state of Vermont with search and rescue; and Pennsylvania Task Force 1 (PA TF-1) and Ohio Task Force 1 (OH-TF1) assist the state of New York with search and rescue efforts in Schoharie, New York.
- U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is working closely with the State of Vermont to facilitate power restoration teams from Canada to cross the border.
- The U.S. Forest Service chain-saw personnel mobilize to Vermont to cut and remove debris from blocked roadways.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is monitoring and inspecting dams operated by the Army Corps as well as non-federal dams that are being requested to be inspected by state partners and/or by FEMA.
- USACE's New York District is carrying out missions to support recovery efforts in the New York City region following Irene, including the city, parts of northern New Jersey and Long Island. New York District's fleet of drift collection vessels is clearing storm debris from the waters in and around the New York and New Jersey Harbor that could potentially be hazards to navigation. Army Corps personnel from Philadelphia, New York and New England Districts also continue to monitor the historic flooding within the Northeast and are coordinating with local and state partners, providing sandbags and technical assistance as requested.
- The private sector telecommunications restoration effort continues. Cell phone carriers are making significant advancements in North Carolina, and in mid-Atlantic states as power is restored, and assessment continue in the Northeast. Private sector cells-on-wheels and cells-on-light-trucks are deploying to fill critical cell phone coverage gaps.
- Last night, there were more than 307 shelters open across 14 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.
See yesterday's blog post for a recap of earlier federal activities.