WASHINGTON , DC -- The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to closely monitor the progress of Hurricane Rita and is making final preparations for the storm's anticipated landfall within 24 hours. FEMA again reminds residents in the Gulf Coast states to take heed to the instructions of local and state officials regarding appropriate emergency protective actions.
"Hurricane Rita is fewer than 24 hours from landfall and I urge residents to continue to listen to state and local officials. Residents in the Gulf Coast region should follow instructions of evacuation out of the area or to a nearby safe shelter if ordered to do so," said Acting FEMA Director R. David Paulison. "FEMA has rescue personnel and commodities in place in Texas , Louisiana and in the region and we continue to work very closely with all of our federal, state, and local partners as we prepare for landfall."
Update on FEMA activities:
- FEMA has pre-positioned enough commodities for four days including 45 truckloads of water, 45 truckloads of ice, and 25 truckloads of meals in Texas , along with 140 truckloads of water, 120 truckloads of ice and 73 truckloads of meals pre-positioned at federal facilities in Louisiana for Hurricane Rita. American Red Cross has capacity for 750,000 meals a day.
- The Department of Defense (DOD) has a mission assignment for 6 heavy-lift helos at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio , Texas and 6 heavy-lift helos at Ft. Worth TLC, boats and high-water vehicles to assist US&R task forces.
- The DOD has 49,381 (-5,083) Active Duty and National Guard personnel are on the ground or aboard ships supporting relief operations.
- 13,273 (-2,522) Active Duty.
- 36,108 (-2,561) National Guard.
Total aviation support in area includes 100 (Active Duty and National Guard) helicopters in Louisiana and Mississippi and 45 airplanes (Active Duty and National Guard).
- Over 450 medical team personnel and 17 Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces, almost 900 personnel, are pre-staging in Texas . 450 Urban Search & Rescue personnel are already staged in Louisiana .
- The state of Florida has released all FEMA's pre-positioned teams and assets and FEMA is in the process of moving these commodities to Texas .
- FEMA personnel and commodities are already in place in Louisiana and we continue to assess additional needs.
- FEMA is working with the Department of Transportation to mobilize 650 buses to assist with evacuations and is mobilizing a large number of ambulances to provide support with medical evacuations.
- Approximately 3,200 patients were MedEvac airlifted out of Beaumont , TX by DOD. And 204 patients remain for evacuation and 101 patients to be airlifted today by DOD from Ellington Air Field, in Houston , TX .
- FEMA is working with the DOD and have requested their help with the following:
- Five 2-person communications teams to deploy to the most heavily impacted areas to support response and recovery efforts
- Field hospitals to support 2500 beds
- Field kitchen teams to set up feeding stations to feed victims.
- Helicopters to move rescue teams and personnel to support isolated areas.
- Temporary bridging capabilities to assist if roads are washed away.
Following is a list of actions that individuals keep in mind while preparing for Hurricane Rita:
- First responders may not be able to begin search and rescue efforts until days after the storm's landfall, due to unsafe conditions, and it is essential to prepare for at least 72 hours after the storm, with food, ice, water, batteries, flashlights, medicine, and other important m...