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Recap 3: Response and Support Efforts for Southern U.S. Tornadoes and Severe Storms

Since the deadly tornadoes first struck parts of the country earlier this week, the federal government has been in constant contact with all of the impacted states as they responded to and began recovery efforts from these devastating storms.

At the request of the respective governors, FEMA currently has personnel on the ground in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, and commodities strategically pre-positioned in the region to support the states.

President Obama joined Administrator Fugate, the Governor and other state and local officials on the ground in Alabama yesterday.

On Sunday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donovan, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Small Business Administrator Mills, and FEMA Administrator Fugate will travel to Alabama and Mississippi to survey the damage and meet with state and local officials.

Recap for Friday, April 29th

  • An Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) is on the ground in Kentucky and an additional Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) arrived in Mississippi, IMATs are also on the ground in Alabama and in Georgia to assist in the coordination efforts as the states continue to respond and begin to recover from this devastating storm outbreak.
  • FEMA Community Relations (CR) teams are on the ground in Georgia and Alabama to meeting with disaster survivors to explain the assistance available and to help survivors register for assistance. Additional CR teams have been deployed to Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.
  • FEMA partnered with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency to create a joint Facebook page as an additional way to reach Alabama residents during the response and recovery efforts after the severe storms and tornadoes.
  • A housing mission planning team is on the ground in Alabama to support the state in meeting its objectives. This team, comprised of housing and technical experts from FEMA, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Army Corps of Engineers, Small Business Administration and voluntary agencies, will assist the state-led housing task force in establishing housing priorities; seeking ways to maximize housing resources, such as apartments and rental units; and other resources, if needed. 
  • U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced HUD will speed federal disaster assistance to Alabama and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes following severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding this week.
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has made immediately available $6 million in Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program aid for disaster recovery projects in 10 states affected this month by storms and floods.
  • The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Southern Baptists and other voluntary and faith-based organizations are also providing meals, shelter and other relief supplies. More than 90 American Red Cross response vehicles are fanning out through the affected areas distributing meals and relief supplies.

New Widget & Alabama/FEMA Facebook Page

We’ve partnered with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency to create a joint Facebook page as an additional way to reach Alabama residents during the response and recovery efforts after the severe storms and tornadoes.

And as we support multiple states that are impacted by the severe storms, I wanted to provide a list of other online resources:
 

Alabama Emergency Management Agency
Facebook full site / Facebook mobile site
Twitter full site / Twitter mobile site
Information on volunteering

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
Facebook full site / Facebook mobile site
Twitter full site / Twitter mobile site
Information on volunteering

Georgia Emergency Management Agency
Facebook full site / Facebook mobile site
Twitter full site / Twitter mobile site

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Facebook full site / Facebook mobile site
Twitter full site / Twitter mobile site

People can also receive Twitter updates via text message from their respective emergency management agencies. You don’t need your own Twitter account to receive these updates, but keep in mind that standard text messaging rates apply:
 

  • For the Alabama Emergency Management Agency Twitter updates text follow AlabamaEMA to 40404 (this is Twitter’s text message number).
  • For the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Twitter updates text follow MSEMA to 40404
  • For the Georgia Emergency Management Agency Twitter updates text follow GeorgiaEMA to 40404
  • For FEMA Twitter updates text follow FEMA to 40404

3 Ways to Apply for Federal Assistance

As we continue to keep all of our stakeholders informed about our response and support efforts with the recent disasters, we wanted to make sure all of our stakeholders know there are three ways disaster survivors can apply for assistance:
  • Register online at www.disasterassistance.gov
  • Register through a web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov
  • Call 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in designated counties can apply for assistance. For a full list of the designated counties, visit the state disasater page: Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina and Oklahoma.

If you know someone in the affected area and you’re communicating with them, please share this information with them.

Financial Literacy & Disaster Preparedness

Disasters not only affect community infrastructure and public works, but they often overcome family finances, making recovery difficult and sometimes impossible. Before, during and after disasters strike, we work with a number of non-profit, voluntary and faith-based groups who specialize in getting disaster survivors financially back on their feet.

As we often say, FEMA is just one part of the emergency management team that helps individuals and communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.  In this light, we’ve renewed our partnership with Operation HOPE, a non-profit public benefit corporation, to enhance financial counseling services available before, during and after disasters.

Our partnership with Operation HOPE will result in greater access to free financial counseling and information for disaster survivors, including:

  • debt counseling,
  • case management services, and
  • workshops, seminars and manuals for those seeking help at disaster recovery centers.

In conjunction with National Financial Literacy Month and the agreement signing held on April 27, we also will be co-hosting a webinar with Operation HOPE on Emergency Financial Preparedness.  This webinar, scheduled for May 3, will emphasize the importance of what it means to be financially prepared.  We will also touch on why, in the face of disaster, failing to be financially prepared can create even more stress and anxiety than the disaster itself.

So, what can you do to be financially prepared for emergencies?

  • Start by completing an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit. This document can help you keep track of important documentation, like insurance policy information, so you have clear financial records that will help maintain stability in the event of an emergency.

Find additional resources on financial preparedness, more on our partnership with Operation HOPE, and information on helping your community prepare for a disaster at www.CitizenCorps.gov


 

Recap 2: Response and Support Efforts for Southern U.S. Tornadoes and Severe Storms

Since the deadly tornadoes first struck parts of the country earlier this week, the federal government has been in constant contact with all of the impacted states as they responded to and began recovery efforts from these devastating storms.

At the request of the respective governors, FEMA currently has personnel on the ground in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee, and commodities strategically pre-positioned in the region to support the states.

President Obama joined Administrator Fugate, the Governor and other state and local officials on the ground in Alabama today.

On Sunday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donovan, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Small Business Administrator Mills, and Administrator Fugate will travel to Alabama and Mississippi to survey the damage and meet with state and local officials.

Recap for Friday, April 29th



  • FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour fly from Jackson, MS to Smithville, Monroe County, to survey the storm-damaged areas.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate joins President Obama in Alabama to view damages as a result of severe storms and tornados that struck Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and other states in the southern and mid-Atlantic regions this week.  President Obama also meets with Governor Robert Bentley, state and local officials, and families affected by the storms. 
  • An additional Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) is on the ground in Alabama, IMATs are also on the ground in Mississippi and in Georgia to assist in the coordination efforts as the states continue to respond and begin to recover from this devastating storm outbreak.    
  • FEMA liaison officers arrive on the ground in Tennessee’s emergency operations center to state efforts.
  • FEMA, its federal partners and the affected states hold a video-teleconference to discuss response efforts and to address anticipated needs. 
  • Secretary Janet Napolitano visits the FEMA National Response Coordination Center where she is briefed by the federal agencies on the ongoing, coordinated federal operations in support of the current and anticipated needs of the affected states.  
  • Supplies such as meals, water, infant toddler kits and tarps begin to arrive, or are en-route to an incident support base established in Maxwell, Alabama.  The support base will allow FEMA to move supplies closer to the affected area, in case they are needed.
  • Nearly 1,100 National Guard men and women perform search and rescue, security, transportation, and road clearing missions in support of the Alabama tornado relief effort.
  • Alabama receives additional assistance, as part of its major disaster declaration, for Marengo and Sumter counties, meaning individuals in those counties can now also apply for federal aid. Damage assessments are ongoing, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are completed in the affected areas. 
  • The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announces details of the open USPS offices, along with hours of operation and services that were being provided to disaster survivors affected by the recent storms in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services provides information on post-storm health messages, to prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning, promote generator safety and encourage safety around downed power lines.  
  • The American Red Cross continues to provide food and shelter to the thousands of people whose lives were turned upside down by these storms throughout the South and the Midwest. Open Red Cross shelters can be found on www.redcross.org. The Red Cross Safe and Well secure website provides a way for people to find information on people affected by the storms. To register, visit www.redcross.org.

Moving Commodities to Alabama

On April 28, President Obama declared a major disaster for Alabama after one of the worst tornado outbreaks in U.S. history tore through the Southeast. Alabama and Georgia were hit particularly hard, with large tornadoes traveling long paths and causing extensive damage.

Yesterday, FEMA began to send supplies to a FEMA staging area in Montgomery, AL to ensure the needed supplies are located close to the affected areas. More than 2 million liters of water, 1 million meals, roughly 60,000 tarps and other supplies are either en route or have arrived at the staging area.

If the southern states request supplies, items from the Incident Support Base will be sent forward to a Federal or State staging area, and ultimately transferred to the state. All points of distribution are identified and managed by the local/state emergency managers.

More than 100 generators are at the staging location, and could be used to potentially assist with the restoration of power to schools, fire stations, and other critical facilities.  As the situation on the ground changes, we stand ready to send additional supplies to support state response and recovery requirements.

Check out the blog post where we talk about our Incident Support Bases (ISB) – it references our logistical support base that supports spring flooding in the Upper Midwest. The ISB at Maxwell will provide similar support to Alabama and other affected States.
 

Recap of Admin. Fugate’s Visit to Alabama on Thursday (April 29)

Yesterday, at the request of President Obama, Administrator Fugate traveled to Alabama to meet with Governor Bentley and Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner, along with other federal, state and local leaders.

Craig started the day in Birmingham where he met with Senator Shelby and Representatives Aderholt and Sewell. Together, along with members of the Alabama National Guard, and thanks to their helicopter support, the group did an aerial damage surveillance tour from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa.



Craig met up with Governor Bentley and Art Faulkner, Director of Alabama Emergency Management, in Tuscaloosa to discuss the ongoing response efforts and to ensure the Governor's team had no unmet needs, and then traveled with the Governor to a devastated part of the city, to meet with state and local officials and disaster survivors.

At a press conference following the meetings, Craig praised the first responders, non-profit and faith-based organizations, as well as members of the general public for their courage, their quick response to this devastation, and for their tireless efforts to save lives and help the disaster survivors.



He also reiterated that FEMA stands in support of the Governor and his team - who is leading the response and recovery efforts in the state.

He then did some interviews with local and national news outlets about FEMA operations in the state and discussed how the recovery efforts will take some time.

Today, Administrator Fugate traveled around the state, this time accompanying President Obama.
For continued information about how FEMA is supporting response and recovery efforts, keep visiting our blog at blog.fema.gov.

Recap: Response and Support Efforts for Southern U.S. Tornadoes and Severe Storms

Below is a recap of our activities since the deadly outbreak of severe storms and tornadoes across the southern U.S. For the latest updates on our role, check out the Severe Storms / Tornadoes category on the blog.

Wednesday, April 27th:

  • Severe weather system including high winds, hail and tornadoes devastates parts of several southeastern states, including Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. Alabama is most heavily affected by severe storms, which are forecast to affect the East Coast from Florida through New England through April 29th.
  • Governor Bentley submits request for a federal emergency declaration for the State of Alabama as a result of severe storms, hail, straight-line winds, and tornadoes.
  • FEMA Region IV Administrator Phil May speaks with both Governor Bentley and Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner.
  • DHS Secretary Napolitano speaks with Governor Bentley to express condolences and to discuss latest status.
  • President Obama declares an emergency for all 67 counties in Alabama, and orders federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the area struck by these storms. The President's action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. Joe M. Girot is designated as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in Alabama.
  • The President calls Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and expresses his deepest condolences for the tragic loss of life and suffering caused by severe storms and tornadoes in Alabama.
  • President releases statement on the severe storms and tornadoes in Alabama http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/28/president-devastation-alabama
  • FEMA places two National Incident Management Assistance Teams on alert, in case Alabama requests their assistance. These teams help the state coordinate response efforts.
  • FEMA places Texas Task Force 1 Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) team on alert, to be available in case Alabama makes a request for assistance.
  • FEMA Region IV deploys a regional liaison officer to the Alabama emergency operations center to assist in coordination efforts as the state continues to respond and begins to recover from this devastating storm outbreak.

Thursday, April 28th:

  • FEMA Headquarters activates its National Response Coordination Staff to Level III, which activates its emergency support functions, including transportation, public works, mass care, public health, search and rescue and others.
  • FEMA Region IV deploys regional IMAT to the Alabama emergency operations center to assist in coordination efforts as the state continues to respond and begins to recover from the devastating storm outbreak.
  • FEMA Region IV Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) activates to Level II for increased coordination with the affected states.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, and Alabama State Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner conduct a press conference call on the coordinated state and federal response to the severe and deadly tornadoes in Alabama.
  • On this call, Administrator Fugate announces that at the direction of the president, he will be traveling to Alabama to join the governor and other state and local officials on the ground.
  • FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino travels to the FEMA Region IV headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and meets with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and other state and local officials as they assess the damage.
  • FEMA coordinates with the USNORTHCOM to establish an incident support base in Maxwell, Alabama. The support base will allow FEMA to move supplies such as water, infant toddler kits, and tarps closer to the affected area, in case they are needed.
  • President Obama speaks via telephone with DHS Secretary Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Fugate to discuss the continuing federal disaster relief efforts for areas affected by the devastating severe storms and tornadoes that have impacted Alabama, Mississippi and other states across the Southeast.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate arrives in Alabama to meet with Governor Robert Bentley, and other state and local officials, to assess the damage and ensure the state is receiving all the support needed for its response and recovery operations.
  • Regional IMAT arrives in Alabama to support state efforts at the Alabama emergency operations center.
  • FEMA, its federal partners and the affected states hold a video-teleconference to discuss response efforts and to address anticipated needs.
  • The President speaks with the Governors of Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia to express condolences and let them know that the Federal Government is ready to help in any appropriate and possible way.
  • FEMA liaison officers land on the ground in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Kentucky emergency operations centers supporting state efforts.
  • The President makes nationally televised remarks to address the severe storms and inform the American people what its government is doing to assist the people in need.
  • FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino joins Georgia Governor Nathan Deal at a press conference at the state's emergency operations center in Atlanta.
  • FEMA Administrator Fugate joins Alabama Governor Robert Bentley at a press conference in Tuscaloosa, after his meetings and surveying damage in both Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.
  • The Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues a press release to urge workers and members of the public engaged in cleanup activities to be aware of hazards they might encounter and to take the necessary steps to protect themselves.
  • FEMA deploys a mobile emergency response support team to Alabama to provide prompt and rapid multi-media communications processing, logistics and operational support to state officials.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Administrator Val Dolcini reminds crop and livestock producers in affected states that FSA programs may be available to assist with recovery.
  • President Obama declares a major disaster declaration which makes federal assistance available to individual who suffered personal property damages or losses, and for public infrastructure, such as schools, fire stations, and libraries.

President Declares Major Disaster for Alabama

Early this morning, President Obama declared a major disaster in Alabama as a result of the severe storms and tornadoes that began on April 15.

This makes federal funding available to individuals and business owners in Cullman, DeKalb, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Marshall, Tuscaloosa, and Walker counties, which can include grants for temporary housing, home repairs and low-cost loans. Federal funding is also available to state and eligible local governments in all 67 counties in the state as they continue with debris removal and emergency protective measures, such as providing shelter and meals.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance today by:

  • registering online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/,
  • registering through a web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov, or by
  • calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.  The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

As you may remember from soon after the storms struck, President Obama authorized an emergency declaration for Alabama, another avenue to provide federal assistance to support the state and local response efforts.  At the President’s direction, Administrator Fugate has been on the ground in Alabama since yesterday morning, in both Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, and will be with the President in Alabama today. Deputy Administrator Rich Serino was on the ground in Georgia yesterday, and will be in Mississippi, with Governor Barbour, today.

In all of the areas affected by the severe storms and tornadoes, we continue to work closely with the entire emergency management team, especially the state emergency management agencies in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky.  As President Obama said just after the storms hit, the federal government “stands ready to continue to help the people of Alabama and all citizens affected by these storms”.

For the latest updates on our role, check out the Severe Storms / Tornadoes category on the blog.  And if your area is at risk for severe storms and tornadoes in the future, you can take steps to get prepared at http://www.ready.gov/.

Online and Mobile Resources for Helping Survivors

Edited: April 30, 10 pm EDT
Related Blog Post: New Widget & Alabama/FEMA Facebook Page

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those affected by the severe storms and tornadoes that hit much of the southeastern U.S. As part of the team responding to the severe weather in the South, we continue to support communities and states as they assess the situation and provide life-saving and life-sustaining support.

Below is a list of online resources you can use and pass on to others who may have been affected. Included in this list are resources that are accessible via smartphones and other mobile devices. And if you’re looking for our latest updates, visit the Severe Storms / Tornadoes category on the blog.

If you’re on a desktop or laptop computer:
 

If you only have access to a smartphone or mobile device:

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