We remain 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. Through our regional offices in Boston, Mass., Philadelphia, Penn., New York City, N.Y., 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 and New Hampshire, making available federal resources to support response efforts. Prior to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene's making landfall on the East Coast yesterday, we deployed teams and resources along the East Coast from South Carolina to Maine.
In advance of Irene moving through the territories earlier this week, we 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 aggressively prepare for Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene.
The following timeline provides an overview of these and other federal activities, to date, to support these territories, states, families and communities.
Sunday, August 28
- The President convened a video teleconference in the White House Situation Room regarding the impact of Hurricane Irene. Vice President Biden, Chief of Staff Daley, DHS Secretary Napolitano, Treasury Secretary Geithner, Transportation Secretary LaHood, Energy Secretary Chu, FEMA Administrator Fugate, Homeland Security Advisor Brennan and other senior White House officials participated in the call. Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate were asked to continue to be in touch with governors and local leaders along the East Coast.
- President Obama signs a pre-disaster emergency declaration for the District of Columbia due to Hurricane Irene making available federal support to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety throughout the District.
- President Obama signs a pre-disaster emergency declaration for the State of Delaware due to Hurricane Irene making available federal support to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety for the entire state.
- States, localities and the Red Cross have been operating more than 500 shelters in eight states and Puerto Rico. The Red Cross is prepared to open additional shelters as needed. Last night's shelter population was estimated at more than 29,000. Information about open Red Cross shelters is available at redcross.org and will continue to be updated.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) Temporary Emergency Power mission continues as power teams have been deployed to Incident Support Bases (ISBs) in Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. Power teams consist of planning and response teams, the 249th Prime Power battalion and designated resource support staff.
- Thousands of Red Cross disaster workers are in place to help people along the East Coast once conditions are safe. Volunteers from partner organizations like Americorps National Civilian Community Corps and Southern Baptist Convention are positioned alongside Red Cross workers in many areas. Relief operations have been launched in more than a dozen coastal states. More than 200 feeding vehicles are positioned. Tens of thousands of prepackaged meals are moving into the area and the Red Cross is working with volunteer organizations and federal partners to ensure that kitchens are positioned in numerous locations after the storm moves through.
- The Department of Energy's Response Center has been activated, providing real-time monitoring on power outages and other energy-related aspects of the storm. The Department provides the public with reports on the critical energy infrastructure impacted by the storm, as well as outage and restoration data, through Emergency Situation Reports, which are available at http://www.oe.netl.doe.gov/emergency_sit_rpt.asp.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff are in close contact with state and local environmental responders and are prepared to provide technical support as needed.
- Verizon has a private sector liaison at the National Response Coordination Center. This individual communicates and coordinates with private sector partners that could be impacted, or have already been impacted, by this storm, ensuring they have the support needed to respond and recover.
- The private energy sector has been taking actions such as bringing in additional crews, preparing equipment for emergency restoration work, keeping utility contractors on call and ensuring that additional supplies, such as poles and pole-top equipment, are on hand to respond and restore service as quickly as possible.
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is assessing the status of nuclear power plants. Commission officials are in close coordination with state emergency operations centers.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture urges the public to be aware of pet and livestock safety tips during power outages, flooding and evacuations.
See yesterday's blog post for a recap of earlier federal activities.