FEMA and Federal Partners Continue to Support Response and Recovery Efforts in the Gulf Coast

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Release date: 
September 1, 2012
Release Number: 
HQ-12-091

WASHINGTON - At the direction of President Barack Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (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.

"As the floodwaters begin to recede, I urge disaster survivors not to return home until local officials give the all clear. There may be hazards that prevent you from being able to return home such as downed power lines. Roads and bridges may still be impassable," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "The Federal team continues to work side by side with local authorities to assist governors of impacted states as areas are stabilized."

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.  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 48 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. 
  • 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.

 

 

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

 

More information about the full federal response and activities is available at yesterday's blog post recap.

 

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
September 25, 2012 - 14:46