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How We Prepared for Isaac

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It’s been three weeks since Tropical Depression #9 became “Isaac” in the central Atlantic.  Over that time, we saw a slowly growing and changing storm and a closely coordinated emergency management team that was ready to respond to it. The team included local, state, tribal and federal government, the private sector, faith-based organizations and volunteer agencies– and FEMA was proud to be part of it.

I traveled across the Gulf Coast, before, during and after the storm, and witnessed years of advanced planning become a smart response. Investments in mitigation paid off, preventing the storm from being more destructive. Emergency managers didn’t wait for the storm to hit, and FEMA worked with state and local authorities to prepare and get supplies in place. Finally, we had an eye on recovery before the storm arrived, which aided communities in accelerating the recovery process. The bottom line – everyone worked together to prepare for this storm and it saved lives.

Isaac was initially a threat to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where FEMA deployed Incident Management Assessment Teams (IMATs) to assist local officials and prepare to distribute federal resources that are staged year-round in the Caribbean.  As the storm passed to the south of the islands, residents experienced some flash flooding, but thankfully avoided a direct hit from the storm.

As the storm proceeded towards Florida, I was on the ground in my home state to ensure that the federal government was in full support of local efforts.  With an unclear path for the storm, officials from the east coast of Florida through the Gulf Coast started preparing for Isaac.  FEMA staged resources in Jacksonville, Florida and Montgomery, Alabama, ready to move them closer to the impacted region as the path became clearer.  While the storm was still in the Gulf of Mexico, I traveled along the I-10 highway, visiting with the governors and/or emergency managers in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana as the storm approached.

Gulfport, Miss., Aug. 28, 2012 -- FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate meeting with MEMA Director Robert Latham (left) and Mississippi Gov. Bryant (center) to discuss Hurricane Isaac preparations.

Gulfport, Miss., Aug. 28, 2012 -- FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate meeting with MEMA Director Robert Latham (left) and Mississippi Gov. Bryant (center) to discuss Hurricane Isaac preparations.

We made sure we were working closely together before the storm made landfall and on Tuesday, President Obama signed emergency declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi in advance of the onset of the storm, making aid available for federal support to save lives and to protect property, public health and safety in designated counties and parishes. First responders could get to work knowing that the federal government had their back.

I’ve waited for a lot of storms to make landfall and the anticipation never gets easier.  The close coordination the federal government had with the states beforehand left me more confident than ever that our team was prepared.

The preparedness measures were in the making longer than two weeks—  they went back years.  Smart investments in mitigation projects protected people and property across the impacted region.  On average, every $1 invested in mitigation saves $4 that would have been expended on a disaster.  After hurricanes Katrina and Rita, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provided grants to communities and state agencies for projects designed to save lives and protect property.

Bay St. Louis, Miss., Sep. 4, 2012 -- FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate visits the Bay St. Louis Fire Department in Mississippi following Hurricane Isaac.

Bay St. Louis, Miss., Sep. 4, 2012 -- FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate visits the Bay St. Louis Fire Department in Mississippi following Hurricane Isaac.

In Mississippi, I visited the Bay St. Louis Fire House which was heavily impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  In August, 2010, the community cut the ribbon on a new Fire House that doubles as a safe room for up to 68 first responders, protecting them from winds in excess of 200 miles per hours for a period of 36 hours.  When Hurricane Isaac made landfall, slowly drenching the Gulf Coast in rain, first responders were able to respond and save lives because they had prepared.

In Louisiana, the Plaquemines Parish Faculty Housing project opened just last month, replacing housing destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. This time, the new housing was elevated to protect it from flooding.  With the support of FEMA, the Plaquemines Parish School Board also rebuilt many of its schools over the last few years, following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. Reports from the school board indicate that damage from Hurricane Isaac is minimal and none of the facilities flooded, thanks to smart investments in mitigation. As a result, all Plaquemines Parish schools were open yesterday, helping kids in the community to move beyond the storm.

Plaquemines Parish, La., Aug. 6, 2012 -- Photo of the Plaquemines Parish Faculty Housing project which celebrated its opening on August 6, 2012. FEMA obligated $8 million to this project which replaced housing destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The project was elevated to comply with the new Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map elevation for the area, which is in south Plaquemines Parish. FEMA has obligated a total of $206 million to the Plaquemines Parish School Board to rebuild its schools following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike.

Plaquemines Parish, La., Aug. 6, 2012 -- Photo of the Plaquemines Parish Faculty Housing project which celebrated its opening on August 6, 2012. FEMA obligated $8 million to this project which replaced housing destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Inevitably after a disaster, the national spotlight moves on to something else, but FEMA isn’t going anywhere.  This is a team effort and we are on the Gulf Coast to assist the local authorities and support the recovery effort. Also supporting that effort are dozens of voluntary agencies.  Their work is far reaching and has a real impact on Isaac survivors. If you are interested in a way to help, visit the National VOAD website at www.nvoad.org.  An individual’s support goes a long way to aiding affected communities recover.

 

Hurricane Preparedness and Continued Recovery Efforts in the Gulf Coast

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September is National Preparedness Month, and FEMA is encouraging individuals, organizations, and communities to promote emergency preparedness by taking the Pledge to Prepare for natural disasters.  Now is the perfect time for those living in coastal states, as well as inland areas to consider the hazards that hurricanes and tropical storms bring, making areas vulnerable to risks such as flooding, high winds, tornadoes and storm surge.

According to the National Hurricane Center, August through October are the peak months for the Atlantic hurricane season, which continues until November 30.  It is important to take steps now to be prepared to ensure that your family and property are safe.  Visit Ready.gov or Listo.gov for more information.  As of today, there are two hurricanes located in the central Atlantic Ocean, and although these storms are not forecast to pose any threat to the United States mainland or its territories, there is a probability additional storms may form later during the remainder of hurricane season.  Earlier this hurricane season, Tropical Storm Debby affected parts of Florida, and most recently Hurricane Isaac impacted parts of the Gulf Coast. FEMA continues to work with federal, state, local and tribal officials to coordinate the ongoing response and recovery efforts in affected states. 

In Louisiana and Mississippi, more than 150,000 Louisiana and Mississippi residents have applied for federal assistance, and more than $28 million has been approved for housing assistance and other needs.  Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster.  More than 1,900 housing inspectors are visiting neighborhoods to assess damages. More than 40,000 inspections have been completed.  Disaster survivors in Louisiana and Mississippi in need of assistance should visit www.disasterassistance.gov for more information on the assistance available in their area.  Survivors without access to the internet can call 1-800-621-3362, and survivors who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should call 1-800-621-3362.

Disaster recovery centers are open in many disaster affected areas in Louisiana and Mississippi.  These centers are the place for disaster survivors to meet one-on-one with officials from voluntary and non-profit agencies, local communities, and state and federal agencies such as FEMA and the Small Business Administration to learn more about the various types of assistance available to disaster survivors. More information about disaster recovery centers is available at www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov.

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) members including voluntary, non-profit and faith-based organizations also are working closely with the affected states and communities to assist with debris removal and supporting with temporary roofing for disaster survivors. 

Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments continue in Louisiana and Mississippi.  These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.  We encourage you to visit the disaster-specific web pages for Mississippi and Louisiana at fema.gov for more information.

Hurricane Isaac and Tropical Storm Debby serve as important reminders that natural disasters can happen anytime and anywhere.  By taking steps now to prepare for emergencies, you can ensure that your family and community are prepared to respond and recover from all types of potential disasters and hazards.  We encourage everyone to make the pledge to prepare this month and help themselves, their neighbors and their communities be Ready.  You can start by visiting www.Ready.gov/today and download a family emergency plan, emergency kit checklists, and additional information on how to get involved locally. Together, our efforts will build a stronger and more resilient nation.

You can keep up to date on the latest tropical systems in the Atlantic and Pacific by visiting www.hurricanes.gov or hurricanes.gov/mobile on your phone. 

Recent Updates on the Isaac Recovery:

  • Thursday, Sept. 6, FEMA amended the Major Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Isaac for Louisiana, making Individual Assistance available in five additional Louisiana parishes — Assumption, St. Helena, St. James, Terrebonne and Washington. Individuals in areas in Louisiana and Mississippi that have been designated for individual assistance can apply for assistance by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov on a web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. Disaster survivors who not have access to the Internet can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).  Survivors who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY may call 1-800-462-7585. Individuals who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) may call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing, home repairs, rental assistance, uninsured property losses, and other programs that help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster.  Federal disaster assistance will not duplicate insurance benefits, but may provide for uncovered losses.
  • FEMA, in coordination with the state of Louisiana launched the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program for Hurricane Isaac evacuees.  This program allows eligible evacuees to stay in hotels or motels if their homes are inaccessible or unlivable due to the disaster. The initiative is designed to provide temporary lodging for eligible disaster survivors who have a continuing need for shelter after the congregate shelters have closed.  The state has prioritized those with the most critical needs for emergency lodging in hotels and motels, especially the elderly and those with illnesses exacerbated by the heat who are staying in shelters.  Registering with FEMA is the first step to potential federal disaster assistance, including the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program.
  • FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRCs) have opened in disaster affected areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. At these centers, disaster survivors can meet one-on-one with officials from voluntary and non-profit agencies, local communities, the state, and federal agencies such as FEMA and the Small Business Administration to learn more about the various types of assistance available to disaster survivors.  To find a disaster recovery center location, go to www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers  or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov.
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in coordination with the Department of Energy and as per the requests of the states affected by Hurricane Isaac has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act to temporarily waive certain federal clean gasoline requirements for gasoline sold and distributed in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. The disruption and delays in production and delivery of gasoline resulted from effects of Hurricane Isaac. The federal waiver will help ensure an adequate supply of gasoline in the impacted states until normal supply to the region can be restored.
  • U.S. Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues to work with state and federal partners to ensure a coordinated federal response to Isaac.  USACE reported the status at the Pearl River Lock is stable. At the time of potential failure and threat of flooding, the lock was under caretaker status and not actively operated or maintained by the federal government. USACE is operating the Greater New Orleans District Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS), and all major structures are now open.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration announced $3.5 million in quick Release Emergency Relief Funds for Hurricane Isaac Damage in Louisiana.  The announcement builds up on the major disaster declaration approved by President Barack Obama.  The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will be used to pay for debris removal and the repair of traffic signals and signs, highway shoulders and movable bridges.
  • U.S. Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service provided tax relief to individuals and business affected by Hurricane Isaac.  Affected tax payers in Louisiana (Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John The Baptist, St. Tammany parishes and Mississippi (Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Pearl counties) will receive tax relief that postpones tax filling and payment deadlines that occurred on or after August 26, 2012.  As a result, affected individuals and business will have until January 11, 2012 to file returns and pay any taxes due.  The tax relief includes corporations and business that received similar extension until October 15, 2012.  More details are available on www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Relief-in-Disaster-Situations.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 4, FEMA granted the state of Louisiana’s request to designate St. Charles Parish for Individual Assistance, opening the way for state and federal assistance to eligible homeowners, renters and business owners affected by Hurricane Isaac.

Previous recaps:

Serving people with disabilities during and after Isaac

Author: 

Even before Tropical Storm Isaac hit the Gulf coast, FEMA disability integration specialists from across the nation were preparing to travel to the areas that would be hardest hit. There, they would join other FEMA personnel and countless others from voluntary and community organizations, local, state, federal and tribal government, and the private sector who would answer the call to help the survivors of Isaac’s lingering and widespread deluge of rain and wind.

Right now, FEMA has seven Disability Integration Advisors serving in Louisiana and Mississippi. Their expertise is guiding the actions of the officials who lead FEMA’s response in areas hardest hit by Isaac. They are experts in disability inclusive emergency management who use their knowledge to prevent, address or solve problems for individuals with access and functional needs and their communities. 

Our Disability Integration Advisors work with state and local government officials to coordinate and advise on issues such as:

  • The availability of accessible transportation,
  • Evacuations from nursing homes, group homes, assisted living facilities, and people served under state programs, such as mental health and developmental disability programs,
  • Access to prescription medication,
  • Access to medical, personal assistance services and durable medical equipment in shelters. 

On a daily basis, they also address the need for access to effective communication such as remote and in-person sign language interpreting, captioning services, public lines in support of video phones and caption phones.  In addition, they reach out specifically to the disability community in the affected area and facilitate collaboration with federal, state, local and Tribal government concerning evacuation, application for FEMA assistance, accessible messaging, and cleanup tips. 

Often, advisors have the opportunity to talk with disaster survivors and help them firsthand.  Linda Landers, one of our Disability Integration Specialists, is working in Louisiana where she recently helped a mother and her adult son who has a spinal cord injury. After several days without power, they were forced to make a decision to shelter in place or travel from Jefferson Parish to a shelter in Baton Rouge. When the family decided to shelter in place, Linda made sure that local emergency responders and emergency management were aware of their decision and knew how to contact them. Throughout the night and next day, Linda checked in with them to be sure they were not in danger.  The power has since been restored and all are doing well. 

Ongoing support for recovery

As FEMA and the states began setting up Disaster Recovery Centers, FEMA disability integration advisors assessed conditions to determine potential issues, such as physical accessibility so people using wheelchairs can easily enter a building or area. They also looked for equipment that ensures effective communication by people who have low vision or are blind and others who are hard of hearing or deaf when filing assistance claims in Disaster Recovery Centers.

Here's an example of some of the equipment that is available at a center:

FEMA’s Disability Integration Advisors will continue to ensure those with access and functional needs have equal access to the assistance and services available after Isaac. Visit our webpage to learn more.

 

Helping People & Pets After Isaac: Non-profit partners at work

Author: 

We often say that FEMA is one part of the team that helps Americans prepare, respond, and recover from disasters.  Over the past few weeks, this has been very evident in the response and recovery to Hurricane Isaac around the Gulf Coast.  In addition to the tireless work of our federal, state, local, and tribal government partners, the support of countless non-profit and voluntary organizations has been vital in providing assistance to survivors of Isaac. 

Below are three stories that demonstrate the work of a few of our non-profit partners: the Humane Society, the Salvation Army, and the American Red Cross.   To learn more about their work and other organizations like them, visit the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters website.

A quick message from our lawyers: We are providing the following examples for your reference. FEMA does not endorse any non-government organizations, companies or applications. The views expressed below do not necessarily represent the official views of the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


Humane Society: Pets Weather the Storm of Hurricane Isaac

Posted September 4

Hurricane Isaac hit the Gulf Coast last week–almost seven years to the day that Katrina struck that same area. Isaac’s heavy rains brought severe flooding in inland areas, and high winds and storm surges overtopped some levees, such as in Plaquemines Parish. Many people were forced to evacuate from their homes, and tens of thousands lost power.

pet rescue
Frank Loftus/The HSUS
One of 200 dogs and cats that The HSUS transported.

The HSUS kept a close eye on Hurricane Isaac before it made landfall--encouraging residents to take their pets with them if evacuating, providing information through social media about pet-friendly shelters, evacuation routes, and other animal-related resources, and staying in touch with emergency management officials about the needs of affected communities. 

In the years since Hurricane Katrina, the enactment of a federal pets and disaster bill (the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Safety Act) and public education campaigns by The HSUS and other groups have brought important progress in preparedness and achieved a broad change in consciousness how about pets and the human-animal bond are accounted for in disasters. Last week, a video news report from WWL-TV in Louisiana commented on the changes since Katrina as they showed rescuers saving a man and his four dogs trapped by severe flooding from Isaac. 

When our Animal Rescue Team received a call from Jefferson Parish, La., we deployed to assist animals at risk. We worked with Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter to help care for pets separated from their families as well as stray animals. PetSmart Charities also assisted by donating pet food and supplies. And over Labor Day weekend, our team transported more than 160 homeless pets from the shelter to our Emergency Placement Partners in several states. The Humane Society of Charlotte, N.C., also generously provided its facility as a central location for other placement partners to pick up Isaac animals from our transport. The HSUS is transporting more than 60 additional pets to Maryland where we're providing emergency care for them until they can be adopted.

In Mississippi, we worked with McComb Animal Control officers and local volunteers to rescue more than 20 horses from flood waters that would have soon overtaken the animals, and we joined with the Okaloosa County Disaster Animal Response Team to transport homeless pets from the McComb Animal Shelter to the Montgomery Humane Society in Alabama. Transports like these ease the burden on local shelters affected by disasters and give these animals a better chance of finding loving homes.

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Salvation Army: Mobile Kitchens Deployed to New Orleans & Slidell, LA

Posted by Megan, Salvation Army on Monday, September 3, 2012

salvation army feeding kitchen

Thanks to the generosity and prayers of our supporters – such as BP, AmeriCares, local businesses, and donors from across the country – we are continuing to provide shelter, food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care to residents in the Gulf Coast following Tropical Storm Isaac’s arrival almost one week ago.

Thus far, volunteers and personnel of The Salvation Army have provided almost 35,000 meals and 42,000 drinks via the 25 mobile feeding units and field kitchen serving in the hardest-hit areas of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

feeding truck

Specifically, mobile kitchens and Salvation Army personnel have been deployed to New Orleans and Slidell, LA; Pass Christian and Hancock County, MS among other locations. For a list of canteens and shelters currently open and serving, please visit our Emergency Disaster Services page by clicking here.

Our relief efforts always involve an element of counseling, with the understanding that natural disasters such as this can be emotionally traumatizing to those impacted, specifically to Gulf Coast residents remembering Hurricane Katrina from 2005.

Throughout this last week, The Salvation Army has been providing emotional and spiritual support with 900 individuals receiving care so far.

salvation army employees at feeding station

supplies coming off a truck

volunteers pray

The Salvation Army is prepared to continue serving families and individuals in the recovery process going forward so long as we are needed. Ranging from shelter and food to material requests or clean-up kits, we strive to meet the unique needs of storm survivors through your support. Because each person’s needs are different, monetary donations are the most efficient and effective way to support our disaster relief efforts.


 

American Red Cross: Thank You

Posted on September 4, 2012 by Erin Ferris, American Red Cross

For the last week, every single time I turned on the evening news I came face-to-face with stories about and images related to Hurricane Isaac.  In the days leading up to the storm’s arrival, coverage focused on weather predictions and evacuation plans.  After Isaac made landfall, coverage transitioned to updates on rainfall totals, wind speeds, and the status of the levy and pump systems.  As soon as the worst of the weather had passed, newscasters spoke of the rescues, as well as the hundreds of thousands without power and the unknown number without shelter, food, clothing, and medicine.

For the last week, every single time I turned on the evening news I came face-to-face with stories about and images of American Red Cross volunteers.  In the days leading up to the storm’s arrival, volunteers were preparing to transport supplies and travel to the Gulf Coast.  After Isaac made landfall, volunteers were setting up and staffing shelters, providing basic necessities to those who had fled their homes with no more than the clothes on their backs.  As soon as the worst of the weather had passed, volunteers were in the field, assessing storm damage and providing water, food, and comfort kits to those who’d stayed behind.

Every single time I turned on the television, American Red Cross volunteers were there, generously giving their time, sharing their skills, and offering what those who just lived through this traumatic event needed most: shelter, water, food, clothing, medicine…and hope.

So today I simply want to say thank you.  To the American Red Cross volunteers who answer the call, and leave behind their own lives – their families, friends, jobs, and homes – for weeks at a time, to lift up fellow human beings in their time of need.

Thank you.

red cross volunteer helps child

red cross feeding truck

inside red cross shelter

red cross comfort kits being distributed

red cross volunteer hugs disaster survivor

 

Isaac update 10: September 3 recap

Author: 

Today, President Barack Obama met with state and local officials in Louisiana and viewed ongoing response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Isaac.
 
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano traveled to Mississippi and Louisiana on Sunday to visit areas damaged by the storm.  Also, Administrator Craig Fugate has been in the impacted region since before the storm made landfall. In Louisiana and Mississippi, he has been traveling and meeting with disaster survivors, state and local officials and FEMA staff.  

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) members including voluntary, non-profit and faith-based organizations are working closely with the affected states and communities to assist with providing mobile feeding in areas where there are power outages, assisting with debris removal and, as needed, to support with temporary roofing for disaster survivors.

Disaster recovery centers are open in many disaster affected areas in Louisiana and Mississippi, These centers are the place for disaster survivors can meet face-to-face with officials from voluntary and non-profit agencies, local communities, the state and federal agencies such as FEMA and the Small Business Administration to learn more about the various types of assistance available to disaster survivors.  For more information on disaster recovery centers, or to find a disaster recovery center near you, check out www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov.

Since Friday, when President Obama approved Individual Assistance as part of the Major Disaster declaration for Louisiana requested by the Governor, more than 86,850 Louisianans have registered for assistance, with roughly $4.14 million approved, so far, for housing assistance and other needs.  Individual Assistance was approved for Mississippi Saturday night, and since then more than 3, 949 Mississippi residents have registered for assistance.

Individuals and business owners in Louisiana and Mississippi who sustained losses in the counties and parishes designated in the major disaster declarations can apply for assistance by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. Those who do not have access to the internet can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit a disaster recovery center in the designated counties and parishes.  Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster.  Survivors who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

In support of Louisiana, FEMA recently transferred more than 2.4 million liters of water, 2.4 million meals, 1,200 cots, and 32,500 tarps to the State of Louisiana for the state to distribute to individuals at Points of Distribution (POD) sites. The state, in coordination with local governments, identifies the location of these PODs which are currently operating across a number of parishes.  Individuals should contact their local emergency management for more information.

The federal team continues to work side by side with state and local authorities to assist governors of impacted states as communities respond and recover. Incident Management Assistance teams are on the ground in Mississippi and Louisiana to support state, tribal and local needs.  Mobile Emergency Response Teams are also in Louisiana and Mississippi to support state emergency communications requirements including voice, video and information services. Also, hundreds of community relations staff are on the ground in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments are underway in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.  Plans are being made for assessments in other areas, as they become accessible. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has more than 200 personnel deployed in the Gulf and has established two Federal Medical Stations available as shelters for medical special needs patients. HHS staff and medical supplies continue to assist in moving patients in Louisiana, although this need is decreasing, allowing 40 ambulances contracted through FEMA to demobilize with 60 remaining. In the first week after the storm made landfall in Louisiana, ambulances contracted through FEMA responded to more than 300 calls and treated more than 270 patients. Approximately 425 patients were transported using paratransit contracted through FEMA.  As per the state of Louisiana's request, FEMA extended the National Medical Transport and Support Services contract for ambulance service for the next 72 hours to continue with the transportation of patients to and from their homes or medical care facilities.  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service approved Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (DSNAP) in the parishes of Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany starting Wednesday, September 4.  The program provides food assistance for eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster.  To help expedite the application process, individuals should pre-apply for DSNAP either online at www.dcfs.la.gov/preapply or www.getagameplan.org or by calling 1-888-LAHELP-U (888-524-3578) between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. When applying by phone, callers should select the appropriate language and then select options 3 and 3.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have deployed Temporary Power Teams to Louisiana and Mississippi and are installing FEMA provided generators at critical facilities. Of these, the Corps installed generators at nine sites, including a shelter, a hospital, a command center, a water system plant and a sewer lift station.

Last week, 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 upon emergency declarations issued for both states prior to the Isaac's landfall.  Statewide hazard mitigation is available to all counties and tribal governments in Mississippi, and to all parishes and tribal governments in Louisiana.  

On Friday, the Louisiana major disaster declaration was amended to include Individual Assistance for Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany parishes. Saturday, Ascension, Lafourche, Livingston and Orleans Parishes were added to this disaster declaration.  Also, an amendment was announced, Saturday, for Mississippi making federal funding available for affected individuals in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and Pearl River counties. Assistance may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster.

Below is an updated timeline of some of the key activities and events that have occurred over the weekend in the wake of Isaac. With much of the recovery work being closely coordinated in the field, this will be the last daily timeline of events. We encourage you to visit the disaster-specific web pages for Mississippi and Louisiana at fema.gov for more information.

Monday, September 3, 2012

  • President Barack Obama travels to Louisiana to meet with state and local officials and view ongoing response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Isaac.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate remains in the Gulf Coast area.  Throughout the week, he has been to both Louisiana and Mississippi to meet with state and local officials and see firsthand the impact and the response efforts.
  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joined FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on a video-teleconference call today 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 Mississippi and Louisiana.
  • A Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator (FDRC) is on the ground in Louisiana.
  • Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments are underway in Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Plans are being made for assessments in other areas, as they become accessible. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • As of 3:00 p.m. eastern time, more than 86,850 Louisianans have registered for assistance, with roughly $4.14 million approved, so far, for housing assistance and other needs.  Individual Assistance was approved for Mississippi Saturday night, and since then more than 3, 949 Mississippi residents have registered for assistance.
  • Disaster recovery centers are open in Louisiana and Mississippi. Specialists from the state, FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and voluntary and non-profit agencies will be on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors.  To find a disaster recovery center location, check out the disaster recovery center locator at www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov.
  • FEMA Disability Integration Advisors (DIAs) in Mississippi outreached to disability community leaders and survivors with functional and access needs sharing educational materials. DIAs coordinated the availability of accessibility kits for Disaster Recovery Center and coordinated the video relay remote access for effective communication for survivors who are deaf.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has more than 200 personnel deployed in the Gulf and has established two Federal Medical Stations available as shelters for medical special needs patients. HHS staff and medical supplies continue to assist in moving patients in Louisiana, although this need is decreasing, allowing 40 ambulances contracted through FEMA to demobilize with 60 remaining. In the first week after the storm made landfall in Louisiana, ambulances contracted through FEMA responded to more than 300 calls and treated more than 270 patients. Approximately 425 patients were transported using paratransit contracted through FEMA As per the state of Louisiana's request, FEMA extended the National Medical Transport and Support Services contract for ambulance service for the next 72 hours to continue with the transportation of patients to and from their homes or medical care facilities. 
  • The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, remains activated for residents of the Gulf states. As of Friday, the Helpline had received approximately 170 calls since the hurricane made landfall. Most of the calls came from Gulf Coast residents. The Helpline is a 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week resource that responds to people seeking crisis counseling after experiencing a natural or man-made disaster or tragedy. Multiple HHS agencies are promoting the helpline through social media.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) worked closely with the states of Louisiana and Mississippi.  To date, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deployed more than 150 industrial-sized generators, overall, to supplement state and local resources. The Corps installed generators at seven sites, including a shelter, a command center, a water system plant and a sewer lift station.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard coordinated with FEMA, Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to identify and respond to oil and other hazardous material and debris releases as a result of the storm.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard assessed the impacts to offshore and port facilities, as well as the maritime transportation system is ongoing in our effort to restore the flow of commerce and other traffic along the Mississippi River.
  • The National Guard Bureau provided essential lifesaving services and assisting in the clean up and debris removal in Louisiana and Mississippi.  More than 4,500 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are on State Active Duty, with more than 33,600 additional Guardsmen available to support relief operations.
  • Department of Energy (DOE) reported that energy restoration efforts are underway in Mississippi and Louisiana, and according to area utility providers a workforce of more than 15,000 electricity workers from over 24 states continue to assess the damage and conduct energy restoration efforts. Some localities already have power restored. 
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service approved Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (DSNAP) in the parishes of Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany starting Wednesday, September 4.  The program provides food assistance for eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster.  To help expedite the application process, individuals should pre-apply for DSNAP prior to Wednesday either online at www.dcfs.la.gov/preapply or www.getagameplan.org or by calling 1-888-LAHELP-U (888-524-3578) between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. When applying by phone, callers should select the appropriate language and then select options 3 and 3.
  • National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) members including voluntary, non-profit and faith-based organizations worked with the state and communities to assist with providing mobile feeding in areas where there are power outages, assist with debris removal and, as needed, to support with temporary roofing for disaster survivors.  NECHAMA, a non-profit social service organization partnered with All Hands Volunteers along the coast to coordinate spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers to assist with debris removal and muck-outs.
  • The American Red Cross served more than 193,00 meals and snacks, 11,100 relief items, 2500 disaster responders and identified more than 1,700 health practitioners in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.  The American Red Cross has opened shelters in several Gulf Coast states and is mobilizing trained disaster workers across the region. To find an open shelter, please visit www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter.
  • The American Red Cross deployed nearly 200 emergency response vehicles are traveling through affected neighborhoods, distributing hot meals and relief supplies. Red Cross is working closely with government agencies and community organizations to coordinate this multi-state relief response. Partners like AmeriCorps, Islamic Relief USA, NAACP and the National Baptist Convention USA are assisting the Red Cross to provide help and comfort. The Red Cross received assistance from a number of companies including Spectrum Brands, Walgreens, Coca-Cola, Home Depot and Vision Services, who provided items such as insect repellent, bottled water and snacks.
  • The Louisiana Service Commission established a web portal at www.volunteerlouisiana.gov to help with coordinating donations and volunteers.  The Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service has established a web portal at www.mcvs.org for volunteer opportunities and donation information. Cash is the preferred method of donation in order to ensure that disaster survivors get the services and supplies they need quickly.
  • Salvation Army teams in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana distributed over 22,000 meals, 29,000 drinks, 354 comfort kits, and operated 25 mobile feeding units.
  • Habitat for Humanity International reported local Habitats are checking on homes and conducting assessments in their communities and is engaged in dialog with LA and MS VOAD and local governments on clean-up efforts.
  • United Way Worldwide opened up Volunteer Reception Centers to intake the unaffiliated volunteers from other States and assisting with tying them in with established organizations performing response and recovery operations.
  • Islamic Circle of North America opened Masjid shelters and hosts located in Baton Rouge, LA; Lafayette, LA; Jackson, MS; and Beaumont, TX with a total population of over 60 individuals. These shelters provided gender-segregated sleeping space, catered food to meet the dietary needs, congregational prayer space, and common knowledge of practicing Muslims, and vouchers for local hotel accommodations.
  • Mississippi Southern Baptists (MSB) had two (2) field kitchens supporting mobile feeding along the coast. MSB have served in excess of 4,500 meals and snacks, has chain saw and debris removal teams assisting residents and a temporary roofing team available to assist with applying plastic sheeting.
  • Amtrak service resumed between New York and New Orleans; service is suspended between New Orleans and San Antonio; and between New Orleans and Chicago.

Previous daily recaps:

 

In the Aftermath of Isaac, the Support of Volunteers is Key

Author: 

In the wake of Hurricane Isaac, voluntary agencies continue to be a vital member of the disaster response and recovery team, working alongside state and local emergency responders to help to address immediate needs of survivors. The public can play an important role with the emergency management team, volunteering their time, money, and energy to help disaster survivors and their families. There are ways individuals can support the ongoing response and recovery efforts, whether they live in one of the affected areas or across the country.

Administrator Fugate commented:

When disasters occur, local and national voluntary agencies are often among some of the first responders on the ground to help survivors with the support and resources that they need.  In Isaac, we’ve already seen field kitchens opening in the hardest hit neighborhoods with thousands of meals being served; dozens of shelters available for temporary housing relief; and teams on the ground to assist with debris removal and temporary roofs.

FEMA is advising people who want to help survivors affected by Hurricane Isaac to do so through affiliation with the voluntary organizations that are active in the ongoing disaster operations.

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) serves as the primary point of contact for voluntary organization coordination in FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center, supporting Emergency Support Function 6 (Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services).  National VOAD continues to work with a network of more than 50 national agencies and 55 state and territorial VOADs providing countless volunteers and services to support response and recovery efforts.

National VOAD members including voluntary, non-profit and faith-based organizations are working closely with the state and communities to assist with providing mobile feeding in areas where there are power outages, assist with debris removal and, as needed, to support with temporary roofing for disaster survivors.  

Examples of ongoing work include:

  • The American Red Cross has opened shelters in several Gulf Coast states and has been mobilizing trained disaster workers across the region.  Sunday night about 660 people stayed in 18 Red Cross or community shelters in Louisiana and Mississippi and thousands of Red Cross disaster workers are lending a hand. Almost 200 emergency response vehicles are traveling through affected neighborhoods, distributing hot meals and relief supplies. More than 193,000 meals and snacks have already been served.
  • With a large response effort spanning multiple states, the Red Cross is working closely with government agencies and community organizations to coordinate this multi-state relief response. Partners like AmeriCorps, Islamic Relief USA, NAACP and the National Baptist Convention USA are assisting to provide help and comfort. In addition, a number of companies such as Spectrum Brands, Walgreens, Coca-Cola, Home Depot and Vision Services, have contributed items such as insect repellent, bottled water and snacks.
  • Salvation Army teams in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana have distributed over 34,419 meals, 41,977 drinks, 26,275 snacks, 364 comfort kits, operated 25 mobile feeding units, 1 fixed feeding kitchen, provided emotional and spiritual care to 890 individuals, and have put in 7,377 hours of service.
  • Habitat for Humanity International reported local Habitats are checking on homes and conducting assessments in their communities and is engaged in dialog with Louisiana and Mississippi VOAD and local governments on clean-up efforts.
  • NECHAMA, a Jewish non-profit social service organization, has partnered with All Hands Volunteers along the coast to coordinate spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers to assist with debris removal and muck-outs.
  • United Way is standing up Volunteer Reception Centers to intake the unaffiliated volunteers from other states and tie them in with established organizations performing response and recovery operations.
  • Team Rubicon, an organization which unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with emergency responders, has provided teams of volunteers to assist local authorities with road openings, debris removal, and logistics coordination.
  • Islamic Circle of North America had opened Masjid shelters and hosts located in Baton Rouge, LA; Lafayette, LA; Jackson, MS; and Beaumont, TX; with a total population of over 60 individuals. These shelters provided gender-segregated sleeping space, catered food to meet the dietary needs, congregational prayer space, and common knowledge of practicing Muslims, and vouchers for local hotel accommodations.

Louisiana

  • Louisiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (LA VOAD) continues to work with the mass feeding team to support the delivery of hot meals to Point of Distribution Sites (PODS). Operation Blessing, Southern Baptist Men, Convoy of Hope and many others are supporting the State’s effort.
  • As of September 1, 2012 Adventist Community Services mobile unit has served 1198 of clothing kits (which include socks, underwear, pants, and t-shirts), care kits, and blankets at the Jewella Shelter in Shreveport, LA.

Mississippi

  • Mississippi Southern Baptists (MSB) has two field kitchens supporting mobile feeding along the coast and has served in excess of 4,500 meals and snacks. Feeding is expected to continue through the end of this week. MSB also is assisting residents with chain saw and debris removal teams and is also assisting with a temporary roofing team applying plastic sheeting. Living Word Baptist Church has been assisting with muck outs and debris removal.
  • Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Camp Victor are providing volunteer housing for groups coming in to assist in response and recovery activities.

The activities of the voluntary agencies are far reaching and anyone interested in providing assistance to Isaac survivors may visit the National VOAD website at www.nvoad.org to learn more.   Individuals’ support during this time goes a far way to helping these communities recover, and according to the National VOAD, there are several ways to help disaster survivors.  They include:

  • Donation of Cash – A financial contribution to a recognized disaster relief organization is the most effective donation to make. When the public supports these voluntary organizations with financial contributions, it helps ensure a steady flow of important services to the people in need after a disaster.
  • Volunteering – Volunteer with a recognized organization involved in disaster response and recovery. While newly recruited volunteers may not complete training in time to assist with the Isaac response, they will be prepared to help with the next disaster event. 
  • Donation of Goods – Before taking action, confirm what is needed and donate in-kind goods that are specifically requested or needed by recognized organizations.  Receiving and managing unsolicited donated goods often redirects voluntary agencies’ valuable resources away from the services required to meet the needs of disaster survivors.  

In addition, the Louisiana Service Commission has established a web portal at www.volunteerlouisiana.gov to help with coordinating donations and volunteers.  The Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service has established a web portal at www.mcvs.org for volunteer opportunities and donation information. Cash is the preferred method of donation in order to ensure that disaster survivors get the services and supplies they need quickly.

Just as the federal government works closely with 50 plus National VOAD members, as well as many other voluntary, community, and faith-based organizations, each state also has its own organizes State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.  For information on VOADs in affected states, please visit the following: Alabama; Florida; Mississippi; Louisiana.

Isaac update 9: September 2 recap

Author: 

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano traveled to Mississippi and Louisiana to visit some of the areas damaged by the storm. President Obama plans to visit Louisiana on Monday to meet with state and local officials and assess the ongoing response and recovery efforts from Hurricane Isaac. Administrator Craig Fugate has been in the impacted region since before the storm made landfall. In Louisiana and Mississippi, he has been traveling and meeting with disaster survivors, state and local officials and FEMA staff, and commented:

The hard work begins for survivors who are assessing their damages and beginning their own recovery. I encourage survivors to continue to monitor updates from local officials to understand the services that may be available in their area. We continue to work with our federal, state and local partners to assess damages as areas become accessible to help the state determine what forms of assistance may be needed.

Since Friday, when President Obama approved Individual Assistance as part of the Major Disaster declaration for Louisiana requested by the Governor, more than 35,000 Louisianans have registered for assistance, with roughly $400,000 approved, so far, for housing assistance and other needs. Individual Assistance was approved for Mississippi last night, and since then more than 1,000 Mississippi residents have registered for assistance. 

Individuals and business owners in Louisiana and Mississippi who sustained losses in the counties and parishes designated in the major disaster declarations can apply for assistance by registering online at Disasterassistance.gov or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. Those who do not have access to the internet can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or you can go to disaster recovery centers being opened in the designated counties and parishes. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster. Survivors who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. 

FEMA has established disaster recovery centers in Plaquemines Parish and St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Additional disaster recovery centers are opening in Louisiana and Mississippi, today. Specialists from the state, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors. To find a disaster recovery center location, check out the disaster recovery center locator at www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov. Also, Gulf states residents who are having trouble coping with this disaster can take advantage of a 24/7 Disaster Distress Helpline that was activated by the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as a resource for people seeking crisis counseling. Residents may call 1-800-985-5990 for assistance.

In support of Louisiana, FEMA recently transferred more than 1.4 million liters of water, 1.3 million meals, and 28,800 tarps to the State of Louisiana for the state to distribute to individuals at Points of Distribution (POD) sites. The state, in coordination with local governments, identifies the location of these PODs which are currently operating across a number of parishes. Individuals should contact their local emergency management for more information.

The federal team continues to work side by side with state and local authorities to assist governors of impacted states as communities respond and recover. Incident Management Assistance teams are also on the ground in Mississippi and Louisiana to support state, tribal and local needs. Mobile Emergency Response Teams also are in Louisiana and Mississippi to support state emergency communications requirements including voice, video and information services. Also, hundreds of community relations staff are on the ground in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments are underway in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Plans are being made for assessments in other areas, as they become accessible. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established two Federal Medical Stations that began receiving patients yesterday in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also is providing personnel and liaisons to support staffing of the Federal Medical Stations (FMSs). HHS also provided staff and medical supplies to assist in moving patients in Louisiana, using more than 100 ambulances and 300 paratransit seats available through FEMA's ambulance contract. Ambulances have responded to 172 calls, treated 218 patients and transported 85 people to emergency rooms. Approximately 380 people have been transported using paratransit. 

To date, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deployed more than 150 industrial-sized generators, overall, to supplement state and local resources. Of these, the Corps installed generators at seven sites, including a shelter, a command center, a water system plant and a sewer lift station.

Earlier in the week, 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 upon emergency declarations issued for both states earlier this week. Statewide hazard mitigation is available to all counties and tribal governments in Mississippi, and to all parishes and tribal governments in Louisiana. 

On Friday, the Louisiana major disaster declaration was amended to include Individual Assistance for Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany parishes. Yesterday, Ascension, Lafourche, Livingston and Orleans Parishes were added to this disaster declaration. Also, an amendment was announced, yesterday, for Mississippi making federal funding available for affected individuals in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and Pearl River counties. Assistance may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster.

As the remnants of the storm continues to move further inland and eastward, FEMA’s regional offices continue to monitor conditions, and remain in close coordination with potentially affected states. 

Below is an updated timeline of some of the key activities and events that have occurred over last 24 hours:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

  • Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano traveled to Mississippi and Louisiana to visit some of the areas damaged from the storm.

  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was in Louisiana and met with local officials and FEMA staff.

  • Individuals and business owners in Louisiana and Mississippi who sustained losses in the designated counties and parishes can apply for assistance by registering online at Disasterassistance.gov or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. Those who do not have access to the internet can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster. Survivors who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. 

  • To date, more than 35,000 Louisianans registered for assistance, with roughly $400,000 approved, so far, for housing assistance and other needs. Since Individual Assistance was approved for Mississippi last night, more than 1,000 Mississippi residents have registered for assistance. 

  • Disaster recovery centers were open in Plaquemines Parish and St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Additional disaster recovery centers opened in Louisiana and Mississippi, today. Specialists from the state, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) were on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors. To find a disaster recovery center location, check out the disaster recovery center locator at FEMA.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov.

  • In support of Louisiana, FEMA recently transferred more than 1.4 million liters of water, 1.3 million meals, and 28,800 tarps to the State of Louisiana for the state to distribute to individuals at Points of Distribution (POD) sites. The state, in coordination with local governments, identifies the location of these PODs which are currently operating across a number of parishes. Individuals should contact their local emergency management for more information. 

  • To date, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deployed more than 150 industrial-sized generators, overall, to supplement state and local resources. The Corps installed generators at seven sites, including a shelter, a command center, a water system plant and a sewer lift station.

  • The U.S. Coast Guard reported the ports of Mobile and Panama City were open and Pascagoula were open with restrictions. In Sector New Orleans, Gulf Inter-coastal Waterway, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and ports along the Lower Mississippi River below mile marker 130 were open. Lower Mississippi River ports above mile marker 130 were open with restrictions.

  • FEMA Federal Coordinating Officers remained 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.

Previous daily recaps:

Isaac update 8: September 1 recap

Author: 

FEMA personnel set up operations in the Mississippi State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during Hurricane Isaac.

Jackson, Miss., Aug. 30, 2012 -- FEMA personnel set up operations in the Mississippi State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during Hurricane Isaac. FEMA/Tim Burkitt


At the direction of President Barack Obama, FEMA continues to coordinate the federal government's efforts to support state, local, tribal, private sector, and faith-based and non-profit partners, as the Gulf Coast states respond and recover in the wake of Isaac.

FEMA and Federal partners remain on the ground in communities affected by Hurricane Isaac. More than 1350 FEMA staff are on the ground in Louisiana and Mississippi, including 200 Community Relations staff who are assessing needs within the community and providing situational awareness to the state and local governments.  Incident Management Assistance teams are also on the ground in Mississippi and Louisiana to support state and local needs.  Mobile Emergency Response Teams also are in Louisiana and Mississippi to support state emergency communications requirements including voice, video and information services.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has more than 200 personnel deployed in the Gulf supporting Isaac response, including two 50-person Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and a U.S. Public Health Service team with 67 commissioned corps officers. Two Federal Medical Stations began receiving patients yesterday in Louisiana. The Federal Medical Station in New Orleans has 18 patients; the Federal Medical Station in Baton Rouge has a dozen patients and is expecting additional patients today as state officials move patients from a state-run shelter to the Federal Medical Station. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also is providing personnel and liaisons to support staffing of the Federal Medical Stations (FMSs).

HHS also provided staff and medical supplies to assist in moving patients in Louisiana using more than 100 ambulances and 300 paratransit seats available through FEMA's ambulance contract. Ambulances have responded to almost 100 calls and transported 85 people to emergency rooms. Approximately 370 people have been transported using paratransit.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that energy restoration efforts are underway in Mississippi and Louisiana, and according to area utility providers a workforce of more than 15,000 electricity workers from over 24 states continue to assess the damage and conduct energy restoration efforts. Some localities already have power restored.  

Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments are underway in Florida.  Louisiana and Mississippi disaster assessments are being scheduled as areas become accessible.  These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties and parishes to help the governors determine if additional federal support will be requested.

On Wednesday, 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 upon emergency declarations issued for both states earlier this week.  Statewide hazard mitigation is available to all counties and tribal governments in Mississippi, and to all parishes and tribal governments in Louisiana.

Yesterday, the Louisiana major disaster declaration was amended to include Individual Assistance for Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany parishes. Today, Ascension, Lafourche, Livingston and Orleans parishes are included in this disaster declaration.

This evening, the Mississippi major disaster declaration was amended to include Individual Assistance for Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and Pearl River counties.

Individuals and business owners households who sustained losses in the designated county can apply for assistance by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov, by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. If you do not have access to the internet, you can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).  Survivors, 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. The toll-free telephone numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Disaster Recovery Centers are open, today, in Plaquemines and St. Tammany parishes.  Specialists from the state of Louisiana, the FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors.

In support of Louisiana, FEMA recently transferred more than 1.4 million liters of water, 1.3 million meals, and 28,800 tarps to the State of Louisiana for the state to distribute to individuals at Points of Distribution (POD) sites. The state, in coordination with local governments, identifies the location of these PODs which are currently operating across a number of parishes.  Individuals should contact their local emergency management for more information.

As the remnants of the storm continues to move further inland , FEMA's regional offices in Denton, Texas, Chicago, Ill., and Kansas City, Mo. are monitoring conditions, and remain in close coordination with potentially affected states.  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.

Below is an updated timeline of some of the key activities and events that have occurred over the last 24 hours:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joined FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on a video-teleconference call today 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 Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
  • FEMA Region VI Administrator Tony Robinson and Federal Recovery Coordinating Officer Wayne Rickart deployed to Louisiana where they will meet with federal coordinating officer Gerard M. Stolar  and state and local officials to moving forward with recovery plans, resources and assets in affected areas, weather permitting. 
  • 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.
  • Major Disaster Declaration for state of Louisiana was amended to provide Individual Assistance Program to residents in the parishes of Ascension, Lafourche, Livingston and Orleans.  Residents in the designated parishes of Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany parishes should call FEMA to register for disaster assistance. 
  • Major Disaster Declaration for state of Mississippi was amended to provide Individual Assistance Program to residents in the counties of Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and Pearl River.
  • The state of Louisiana continues to operate points of distribution to provide residents with much needed supplies. FEMA dispatched trucks containing more than 1.4 million liters water, and 1.3 million meals to the state.  The PODs are managed by the Louisiana National Guard.
  • Disaster recovery centers are opened in Louisiana in Plaquemines Parish and St. Tammany Parish.  Specialists from the state of Louisiana, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) were on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors.
  • Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments are underway in Florida and Louisiana. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties and parishes to help the governors determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • In Louisiana, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration participated in joint federal, state and local PDA's in five parishes for Individual Assistance (Assumption, Jefferson, La Fourche, Plaquemines, Terrebonne) and 4 parishes for Public Assistance (Assumption, Morehouse, Orleans and Saint Tammany). Plaquemines parish has completed their Individual Assistance PDA.
  • Department of Energy (DOE) reported that energy restoration efforts are underway in Mississippi and Louisiana, and according to area utility providers a workforce of more than 15,000 electricity workers from over 24 states continue to assess the damage and conduct energy restoration efforts. Some localities already have power restored. 
  • The National Guard has been providing essential lifesaving services and assisting in the clean up and debris removal in Louisiana and Mississippi.  More than 5,700 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are on State Active Duty, with more than 33,600 additional Guardsmen available to support relief operations.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has more than 200 personnel deployed in the Gulf supporting the Tropical Storm Isaac response, including two 50-person Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and a U.S. Public Health Service team with 67 commissioned corps officers.   Two Federal Medical Stations set up by began receiving patients yesterday in Louisiana. The Federal Medical Station in New Orleans has 18 patients; the Federal Medical Station in Baton Rouge has a dozen patients and is expecting additional patients today as state officials move patients from a state-run shelter to the Federal Medical Station. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also is providing personnel and liaisons to support staffing of the Federal Medical Stations (FMSs).
  • HHS also provided staff and medical supplies to assist in moving patients in Louisiana using more than 100 ambulances and 300 paratransit seats available through FEMA's ambulance contract. Ambulances have responded to almost 100 calls and transported 85 people to emergency rooms. Approximately 370 people have been transported using paratransit.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has 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 are deployed to Louisiana.
  • U.S. Coast Guard continued to work with the maritime industry to respond to a number of ship groundings and barge strandings along the riverbank caused by the river surge and high winds of the storm.  Additionally, Coast Guard hazardous materials response teams are surveying the area to identify any hazardous materials released during the hurricane.  The Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New Orleans lifted all restrictions to vessel traffic on the Lower Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico after assessments and transits by smaller ships indicated that the channel is safe for all types of vessels.

Previous daily recaps:

 

Isaac update 7: August 31 recap

Author: 

admin fugate surveys damage
(August 30 - FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate surveys flooding in Madisonville, La. with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. (Photo courtesy of Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness)

Earlier today, the President held a call with a number of Parish Presidents, Mayors, and County Leaders from Louisiana and Mississippi let them know that they and their communities were in his thoughts and prayers and make clear that he had directed FEMA to continue to make all resources available. The President plans to visit Louisiana on Monday to meet with local officials and view ongoing response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Isaac, and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Janet Napolitano will travel to Mississippi and Louisiana on Sunday, Sept. 2.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was on the ground in Louisiana and met with U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser today to discuss FEMA's efforts to support response and recovery in Louisiana following Hurricane Isaac.  Administrator Fugate then traveled to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to meet with Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Robert Latham and other state and local officials and see firsthand the impact and the response efforts.

As Isaac continues inland and rivers continue to rise in some areas, FEMA urges individuals in affected areas, and areas expected to be affected, to monitor their NOAA Weather Radios and their local news for severe weather updates and warnings throughout the Labor Day weekend. Always follow the instructions of state, local, and tribal officials, especially urgent evacuations orders and flash flood warnings.

Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments are underway in Florida and are scheduled to begin, safety permitting, in Louisiana and Mississippi.  Plans are being made for assessments in other areas, as they become accessible. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.

In support of Louisiana, FEMA recently transferred more than 500,000 liters of water, 390,000 meals, 50,000 blankets, 30,000 cots and 3,500 tarps to the State of Louisiana for the state to distribute to individuals at Points of Distribution (POD) sites. The state, in coordination with local governments, identifies the location of these PODs which are currently operating across a number of parishes.  Individuals should contact their local emergency management for more information.

On Wednesday, 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 upon emergency declarations issued for both states earlier this week.  Statewide hazard mitigation is available to all counties and tribal governments in Mississippi, and to all parishes and tribal governments in Louisiana. 

Today, FEMA announced an amendment to the major disaster declaration for the State of Louisiana to include the Individual Assistance Program.  Federal funding is available to affected individuals in Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany parishes.  Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover and uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners households recover from the effects of the disaster.

Individuals and business owners households who sustained losses in the designated parishes can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov, or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. If you do not have access to the internet, you can call 1-800-621-FEMA(3362).  Survivors 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. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate, starting tomorrow, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has 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 are deployed to Louisiana.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) has two Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, an Incident Response Coordination Team, and equipment on scene in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is providing personnel and liaisons to support staffing of the Federal Medical Stations (FMSs). Two FMS caches have arrived in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

A 24/7 Disaster Distress Helpline was activated by the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as a resource 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 and Mississippi to support state emergency communications requirements including voice, video and information services.

While Isaac has been downgraded to a tropical depression, it still poses an ongoing threat for some areas.  According to NOAA's National Weather Service, a flood risk continues for low-lying areas in communities in northern Louisiana, northern Mississippi, and the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana during the next five days.  Flash flood watches and warnings are currently in effect for portions of Arkansas and northern Louisiana. The National Weather Service is the official source for weather information.

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.  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.

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:

 

Friday, August 31, 2012

  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joined FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on a video-teleconference call today 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.
  • FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration participated in joint federal, state and local preliminary damage assessments are on the ground in Palm Beach and Indian River counties in Florida.  These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • FEMA transferred to the state of Louisiana more than 500,000 liters of water, 390,000 meals, 50,000 blankets, 30,000 cots and 3,500 tarps for distribution.  The Louisiana National Guard opened Points of Distribution (POD) sites, to provide food, water, and supplies to those affected by Isaac.  These locations are determined by the state and local governments.
  • National Tribal Assistance Coordination Group (TAC-G) hosted a conference call with to discuss Isaac's impact, receive updates from Tribes, share initial reports from TAC-G partners regarding Isaac and future planning. The coordination group counts with the participation of Department of Interior/Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Indian Health Service, Department of Homeland Security, National Congress for American Indians and United Southern and Eastern Tribes. 
  • U.S. Postal Service offices were open and mail delivery returned today to New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and surrounding postal facilities where Isaac's torrential rains, severe winds and flooding had forced offices to close.  Today's mail consisted of Social Security checks, medicine and mail that could not be delivered on Tuesday.  Posts Offices are open and mail delivery has resumed throughout Mississippi.  Customers with questions or concerns about their mail should call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777). 
  • The U.S. Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, River Pilot Associations and port authorities surveyed the Mississippi River and surrounding waterways in an aggressive effort to identify navigational hazards.  Although the Mississippi River was heavily impacted by the storm, the navigational channel is in good condition. The Coast Guard is working with the maritime industry to respond to a number of ship groundings and barge standings' along the riverbank caused by the river surge and high winds of the storm.
  • 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.  USACE is operating the Greater New Orleans District Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS) and has begun opening up major structures as the storm surge slowly subsides. Major structures will continue to be opened until all required openings are completed.  In Mississippi, USACE is assisting Mississippi state officials with a controlled release at the non-federal dam on the Tangipahoa Lake in Percy Quin State Park in order to relieve pressure on the dam. The Vicksburg District Corps of Engineers created inundation mapping and provided the pumps to assist in relieving pressure on the dam.
  • More than 4,100 National Guard forces in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana are on State Active Duty prepared to respond to Isaac.
  • FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration staff joined state and local officials on joint preliminary damage assessments (PDA) in 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 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.
  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has agreed to lend 1 million barrels of sweet crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve's (SPR) Bayou Choctaw site in Louisiana to Marathon Petroleum Company to address the short term impact on the company's refining capacity caused by Hurricane Isaac.  The loan will be provided under short-term contractual agreements and Marathon Petroleum Company will return an equal amount of similar quality oil to the Reserve within three months, plus premium barrels, which is similar to interest.
  • The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) is working with the Louisiana State Animal Response Team to plan and complete animal rescues. As part of this effort, ASPCA is deploying responders to conduct door-to-door rescue of animals in flooded or abandoned homes, assisting a Louisiana animal shelter facing flooding, and supplying boats and other equipment for critical water rescue missions. More information is available at. www.aspca.org

 

Previous daily recaps:

Rapidly Moving Critical Supplies to Isaac Survivors: A Team Effort

Author: 

Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 24, 2012 -- These forklift operators are loading meals onto a truck at the Atlanta Distribution Center to be shipped closer to areas that may be impacted by Tropical Storm Isaac. FEMA moves commodities and equipment before the storm arrives to ensure quick delivery after the storm has passed.

Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 24, 2012 -- These forklift operators are loading meals onto a truck at the Atlanta Distribution Center to be shipped closer to areas that may be impacted by Tropical Storm Isaac. FEMA moves commodities and equipment before the storm arrives to ensure quick delivery after the storm has passed.

As Isaac evolved into a threat to the U.S., FEMA proactively began to deploy initial response resources and teams of people to areas throughout the Gulf region and inland areas that could be potentially impacted by this storm. Local first responders and local and state governments continue to work tirelessly to prevent loss of life and facilitate efforts to quickly restore critical services and facilities. Currently, the entire disaster response team of federal, state, local, and tribal partners, as well as voluntary agencies and the private sector is supporting the process of getting critical emergency supplies to survivors of this disaster.

 

Hattiesburg, Miss., Aug. 29, 2012 -- FEMA has diesel generators staged at Camp Shelby, Mississippi ready to support any state and local governments that may need them due to impacts from Hurricane Isaac

Hattiesburg, Miss., Aug. 29, 2012 -- FEMA has diesel generators staged at Camp Shelby, Mississippi ready to support any state and local governments that may need them due to impacts from Hurricane Isaac.

FEMA maintains critical commodities on a daily basis – like water, food, blankets, tarps, plastic sheeting, cots and generators - pre-positioned at our distribution centers, strategically located throughout the United States and territories. Before Isaac arrived, FEMA coordinated with U.S. Northern Command to establish Incident Support Bases, which are temporary sites used for positioning resources to be rapidly transferred to state or local points of distribution. These bases were established in Jacksonville, Fla., and Montgomery, Ala., to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by Isaac, allowing the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested. 

When a disaster like Hurricane Isaac is imminent, or after the state’s governor has requested a disaster declaration, the state may make a request for federal assistance if it believes its supplies may become exhausted. If the state’s request is approved, emergency supplies begin making their way to our state partners and disaster survivors by going to staging areas closer to the affected area.  From there, the state takes ownership and full possession of the requested emergency supplies and decides how and where they are distributed to survivors.

There are three standard transfer methods to get critical supplies to survivors:

  • Mobile delivery uses vehicles to drive into an affected area and provide commodities. This type of distribution is common in rural areas and where roads are damaged.
  • Direct deliveries means coordinating with a specific location, such as a shelter, feeding site, or hospital for the delivery of specific items and quantities and are usually larger in size and more specific in commodity type than what is delivered through mobile delivery.
  • Points of Distribution are centralized points where supplies are delivered and the public travels to the site to pick up commodities following a disaster or emergency. The decision to activate, operate, and demobilize a point of distribution is at the discretion of the local government.

As we often point out, FEMA is not the team, but rather part of a team that includes the entire federal family, state, local and tribal officials, the faith-based and non-profit communities, the private sector and most importantly the public. As the details above demonstrate, the effectiveness of getting supplies to disaster survivors depends on all members of the team working closely together.  We will continue to work closely with federal, state, local and tribal partners as we continue to assess survivors’ needs in the areas impacted by Isaac.

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