WASHINGTON D.C. - Ninety percent of evacuees housed in the New Orleans Superdome have been evacuated and 7,000 additional active duty troops are on the way to help with search, rescue and security in the disaster-stricken area, Michael D. Brown, Department of Homeland Security's Principal Federal Officer for Hurricane Katrina response and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced today.
"Even as progress is being made, we know that victims are still out there and we are working tirelessly to bring them the help they need," said Brown. "FEMA and the entire federal government, is deploying every resource available to treat wounds, aid the suffering and protect and preserve lives. We will not rest until every need is met."
Brown, along with state and federal partners, and voluntary agencies, is holding press briefings twice a day to provide updates on response efforts. To date:
- All patients in the New Orleans area's top 12 hospitals have been evacuated to other medical facilities.
- Ninety percent of the evacuees at the New Orleans Superdome have been bused or airlifted from disaster-stricken areas although people continue to come to the Superdome for evacuation.
- Starting today, a 12-car Amtrak train, making two roundtrip circuits daily, will evacuate victims from Lafayette, La. to various destinations.
- Twelve civilian passenger airlines, with support from major cargo carriers, are providing emergency airlift to more than 25,000 New Orleans residents. Plans are to airlift approximately 10,000 victims each day Saturday and Sunday.
- More than 30,000 response, rescue, recovery and law enforcement personnel are working around the clock to bring critical aid and support to hurricane victims.
- During the past week, the U.S. Coast Guard has saved 9,500 lives, more than twice the number of lives saved in all of 2003
- Three cruise ships from Carnival and a ship from Scotia Prince Cruises will be used to house and provide medical services to the elderly, disabled and infirm.
- As of yesterday, 308 shelters in nine states had a total population of 94,000.
- 4,000 active troops are on the ground in the disaster area and 7,000 additional troops have been deployed as announced by President Bush today.
Affected individuals in declared counties can register online for disaster assistance at www.fema.gov or call FEMA's toll-free registration line 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) - TTY 800-462-7585, hours. Victims are encouraged to register on-line due to the possibility of high call volume. If registering by phone, owners of commercial properties and residents with only minor losses are urged to wait a few days before calling so those whose homes were destroyed or heavily damaged can be served first. Phone lines are open 24-hours, 7 days a week.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.