(August 30 -- DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano (head of the table) participates on the daily FEMA meeting regarding Hurricane Isaac response. Seated around the table are numerous agencies and departments of the federal government, who are closely coordinating response and recovery efforts.)
Despite Isaac being downgraded to a tropical depression earlier today, the threat of heavy rains and flooding remains in many areas. At the direction of President Barack Obama we continue to coordinate the federal government's response and recovery efforts. Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano visited the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. where she participated in a video teleconference with the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, and federal agencies actively involved in response and recovery efforts underway. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is on the ground in Louisiana and met with Governor Bobby Jindal and flew over areas of the Tangipahoa River.
Last night, President Obama signed major disaster declarations for the states of Louisiana and Mississippi making federal aid available to supplement state and local response efforts for emergency protective measures and debris removal in the areas affected by Hurricane Isaac beginning on August 26, 2012. These declarations build up on emergency declarations issued for both states earlier this week. Statewide hazard mitigation is available to all counties and tribal government in Mississippi, and to all parishes and tribal governments in Louisiana.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) remains actively engaged in flood fighting efforts. USACE teams also have been closely working with the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. Teams are on the ground providing technical assistance, such as hydraulic modeling and finding available portable pumps, to reduce flooding along the Tangipahoa River and in Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana. USACE also deployed emergency power teams to Mississippi and Louisiana, and commodities, debris, and temporary roofing teams have deployed to Louisiana.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deployed two Federal Medical Stations, one to Baton Rouge, La., and the other to New Orleans, La. to serve as medical special needs shelters for residents. HHS has deployed five Public Health Officials from the U.S. Public Health Service and two 50-person Disaster Medical Assistance Teams from the National Disaster Medical System to aid in medical care for sheltering residents. HHS also is providing additional staff and a cache of medical supplies to assist the evacuating patients in Louisiana and there are more than 100 ambulances and more than 300 paratransit seats in Baton Rouge to move patients.
A 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week Disaster Distress Helpline was activated by the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as a resource that responds to people seeking crisis counseling after experiencing a natural or manmade disaster or tragedy. The residents of the Gulf States can call 1-800-985-5990 for assistance.
Incident Management Assistance Teams are in state emergency operations centers in Mississippi and Louisiana as well as supporting state and local needs in Plaquemines Parish, La. Mobile Emergency Response Teams also are deployed to Louisiana, Mississippi to support state emergency communications requirements including voice, video, and information services. Texas Task Force 1, an urban search and rescue team, is deployed to Louisiana and available as needed or requested. FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration, tomorrow, will be joining state and local officials in Florida to begin preliminary damage assessments in the hardest hit county.
As the storm continues to move further inland, FEMA's regional offices in Denton, Texas, Chicago, Ill., and Kansas City, Mo. are monitoring Tropical Depression Isaac, and remain in close coordination with potentially affected states. Yesterday, FEMA Region VI Regional Administrator Tony Robinson spoke with Arkansas Emergency Management Director David Maxwell, and FEMA Region VII Regional Administrator Beth Freeman spoke with Andrea Stillar, the Deputy Director of Missouri Department of Public Safety. Today, FEMA Region V Regional Administrator Andrew Velasquez III spoke with state emergency management directors from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Regional Incident Management Assistance teams from Regions V and VII, and other staff are on standby, should they be needed. An Incident Management Assistance Team and a Mobile Emergency Response Support Team, from a previous disaster, are on the ground in Ohio and can support response efforts for the approaching storm, if needed.
(August 30, 2012 -- Soldiers from the 7th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division land at Cairns Army Airfield, Fort Rucker, Ala., as a staging area awaiting the call to assist relief efforts resulting from Hurricane Isaac. The Soldiers and a combination of HH-60 Alpha Plus Black Hawk and CH-47F Chinook helicopters stand ready to support our federal and State partners. U.S. Army photo by Kelly Pate)
Below is a timeline of some of the key activities and events that have occurred since Tropical Depression Isaac first threatened Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on its path to the Gulf of Mexico (see yesterday's recap):
Thursday, August 30, 2012
- Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joined FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino on a video-teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness. The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from the affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.
- FEMA Federal Coordinating Officers remain on the ground in Mississippi and Louisiana, working closely with state and local officials to provide the full resources of the federal government to support response efforts to protect lives and property.
- A National Incident Management Assistance Team deployed to support state efforts in Plaquemines Parish. This is the second IMAT team on the ground in Louisiana.
- FEMA deployed teams to join the U.S. Small Business Administration, and state and local preliminary damage assessments (PDA) scheduled to begin tomorrow in Palm Beach County, Florida. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties and to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
- FEMA's regional offices in Denton, Texas, Chicago, Ill., and Kansas City, Mo. continue to monitor Tropical Depression Isaac, and remain in close coordination with potentially affected states. Regional Incident Management Assistance teams from Regions V and VII, and other staff are on standby. There is also an Incident Management Assistance Team and Mobile Emergency Response Support team, on the ground in Ohio, from a previous disaster that can support response operations from storm, if needed.
- Texas Task Force 1, a federal urban search and rescue task force with the National Urban Search and Rescue System, and an Incident Support Team remain in Louisiana.
- The U.S. Coast Guard is rapidly assessing impacts to the maritime transportation system impacts in order to restore flow of commerce through the ports and the Mississippi river. Seven helicopters and one fixed wing maritime patrol aircraft are conducting search and rescue operations, port assessments and off shore patrols in the Gulf of Mexico. USCG was responding to a variety of stranded persons in all of the parishes affected by the storm. 17 people and 2 pets have been rescued. The Captain of the Port of New Orleans has worked closely with the port authorities, the pilots and industry to safely clear a variety of grounded vessels and barges in the confines of the Mississippi river ensuring rapid recovery to the flow of commerce.
- FEMA, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command pre-staged in Fort Rucker, AL four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Fort Campbell, KY and two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from Norfolk Naval Air Station, VA, to assist in search and rescue efforts. A Search and Rescue planner has also been activated and deployed to the Baton Rouge Emergency Operations Center. There are four Emergency Planners Liaison Officers deployed to the National Response Coordination Center in support of FEMA and Fort Polk, LA has been designated as a Federal Team Staging Area. The command activated Region VI Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO), and Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) to Baton Rouge, LA, to validate, plan and coordinate potential DOD support of FEMA's hurricane response operations and to facilitate DOD's support of potential life-saving and response operations.
- U.S. Northern Command deployed their Southwest Navy Regional Mass Communications team to the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in New Orleans, LA.
- The Department of Energy (DOE) is the designated Federal Sector-Specific agency directing Emergency Support Function12 (ESF-12) activities for the Energy Sector under the National Response Framework. DOE and local area utility companies are gathering a workforce of more than 12,000 electricity workers from over 24 states to assess the situation and begin energy restoration efforts once the storm passes.
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues to support the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana Emergency Operation Centers and FEMA Regions IV and VI Regional Response Coordination Centers to organize response efforts, deployed Emergency Power Teams to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. USACE's commodities, debris, and temporary roofing teams are in Louisiana and others are placed on alert status to support Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. USACE teams are working with the State of Louisiana and Plaquemines Parish to assist in the flood fight of locally owned levees experiencing overtopping from Isaac. Teams on the ground are providing technical assistance, such as hydraulic modeling and finding available portable pumps, to reduce flooding.
- More than 4,100 National Guard forces in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana are on State Active Duty prepared to respond to Hurricane Isaac.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deployed two Federal Medical Stations to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La., to serve as medical special needs shelters for residents. To provide medical care for sheltering residents, HHS deployed five commissioned corps officers from the U.S. Public Health Service and two 50-person Disaster Medical Assistance Teams from the National Disaster Medical System. HHS also is providing additional staff and a cache of medical supplies to assist the evacuating patients in Louisiana and there are more than 100 ambulances and more than 300 paratransit seats in Baton Rouge to move patients.