Editor's Note: On September 1, Video of Administrator Fugate's visit to Vermont on August 30 was added.
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 major disaster declarations for the states of North Carolina, New York and 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.
Wednesday, August 31
- Today, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate meet with local officials, first responders, and volunteers in New York and New Jersey to survey ongoing recovery and response efforts on the ground following Hurricane Irene. FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino meets with disaster survivors and tours a shelter in New Jersey.
- Today, President Obama declared North Carolina, New York, and New Jersey as disaster areas, making additional federal assistance available to individuals and businesses. Residents and businesses in declared areas, who have disaster-related losses not covered by insurance, are encouraged to register for assistance. Residents and businesses may apply online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
- Federal and state personnel continue to work together to conduct or schedule preliminary damage assessments in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, 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. FEMA and the administration are committed to working as quickly as possible with our state and local partners to review any additional requests governors make for major disaster declarations.
- Today, the Department of Energy's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure, Security and Energy Restoration William Bryan, meets with Connecticut officials and electric utility companies to discuss energy restoration needs.
- As of this morning, there were 1.7 million people along the eastern seaboard without power. Department of Energy, as the federal lead for Emergency Support Function-12/Energy, reports that there are roughly 30,000 private sector workers in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast involved in the effort to restore power to affected areas, and additional power restoration crews are still being added. For example, Connecticut Light and Power reports that 900 line and tree crews were working across the state with additional crews arriving daily. Also, National Grid, a utility in New York, reports that over 3,000 personnel are dedicated to the power restoration effort.
- Last night, there were more than 100 shelters open across 11 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.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues to deploy multiple debris management, commodities distribution support, and emergency temporary power response teams from North Carolina and north into New England in support of FEMA and the impacted states. USACE has installed 8 generators at critical public facilities (such as water treatment plants, shelters and hospitals) in North Carolina, Rhode Island and New York. USACE is also working with the U.S. Coast Guard to assess ports and channels and remove any obstructions in order to restore the navigation system on the east coast. USACE has purchased thousands of liters of bottle water for FEMA for distribution to disaster victims. Dam safety experts from USACE continue in the field to inspect dams impacted by the flooding and providing technical assistance support.
- More than 350 community relations specialists are in the field 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.
- FEMA's Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration is reaching out to insurance commissioners in Irene-affected states/districts/commonwealths to answer questions about federal flood insurance policies and claims. Conference calls have been held with representatives from New York, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire with a second round of calls being made to state insurance staff in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina and Puerto Rico this week.
- FEMA conducts conference calls with congressional delegations from the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, Asian, Black and Hispanic Caucuses and FEMA Authorizers and Appropriators to provide updates on ongoing federal response and recovery to Irene.
- The Internal Revenue Service offers information on special tax law provisions may help taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the impact of a disaster, especially when the federal government declares their location to be a major disaster area.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer safety tips on post-storm recovery, including how to safely clean up mold.
See yesterday's blog post for a recap of earlier federal activities.