Since the deadly tornadoes first struck parts of the country last 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.
Today, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donovan, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Small Business Administrator Mills, and FEMA Administrator Fugate, along with American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern, traveled to Alabama and Mississippi to survey the damage and meet with state and local officials.
Recap for Sunday, May 1st
- President Obama Cabinet members Secretary Napolitano, Secretary Donovan, Secretary Vilsack join Administrator Fugate, Small Business Administration Administrator Mills, American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern and other state and local officials to tour affected areas in Birmingham, Alabama and Smithville, Mississippi.
- Tonight, the President declared a major disaster for the State of Tennessee and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and associated flooding during the period of April 25-28, 2011.
- Six disaster recovery centers (DRCs) open. These are staffed by state, voluntary agency and federal personnel to help those whose homes or businesses were affected by recent storms and tornadoes. The centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. At the DRCs, representatives from FEMA, state and other agencies meet one on one with disaster survivors, explain assistance programs and help survivors apply for disaster aid.
- More than 150 inspectors are on the ground in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia assessing damages in order to help applicants to receive financial assistance. The number of field inspectors is expected to increase rapidly over the next several days.
- FEMA Community Relations (CR) personnel are on the ground in Mississippi, joining CR teams already deployed previously to Georgia and Alabama, to meet with disaster survivors to explain the assistance available and to help survivors register for assistance.
- National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) member organizations such as American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Convoy of Hope, and many others continue to be heavily involved in the disaster response by providing assistance to disaster survivors. 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/safeandwell. Open Red Cross shelters can also be found on www.redcross.org.
- The Alabama Governor’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives and Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service have set up official web portals to help with coordinating donations and volunteers. Cash is the preferred method of donation in order to ensure that disaster survivors get the services and supplies they need quickly.