BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other members of the federal family continue to work closely with the state of Louisiana and local governments to support communities and residents affected by Hurricane Isaac.
FEMA coordinates the efforts of federal agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the U.S. Army North, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“We all know the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” said Michael J. Hall, the federal coordinating officer. “Working together, we can accomplish much more for the people of Louisiana.”
The combined effort includes:
- The day after landfall, the USCG rescued 17 people and two pets by helicopter from the greater New Orleans area. Coast Guard helicopters continue to fly the greater New Orleans area searching for signs of distress and giving assistance as needed to supplement state and local first responders. Coast Guard navigation crews continue to assess the ports and waterways affected by Isaac. The waterways will reopen and port operations will resume as soon as safely possible.
- On Sept. 1, HHS opened two 250-bed healthcare stations, one at the convention center in New Orleans and another at the Louisiana State University field house in Baton Rouge. These portable federal assets, staffed by 100 professionals and support personnel, are providing primary medical care to survivors of Hurricane Isaac.
- At the state’s request, HHS deployed hundreds of ambulances and transport vehicles to support evacuations and emergency response after the storm. Hundreds of EMTs and paramedics are performing triage, incident care activities and emergency medical services. Since landfall, they have responded to almost 100 calls for ambulances and transported more than 400 people to emergency rooms and other facilities.
- DOT continues to coordinate safe and efficient routes for workers, visitors and residents to maneuver through disaster-affected areas.
- The FHWA continues to assess federal-aid highways damaged by Hurricane Isaac. On Aug. 31, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development requested FHWA issue a quick release of $10 million for emergency relief funds to repair major disaster-damaged highways.
- The U.S. Army North activated its defense coordinating element, including its defense coordinating officer (DCO), to coordinate federal active-duty military support. Search and rescue (SAR) planners deployed to Baton Rouge to assist the state. It pre-staged six SAR helicopters at Fort Rucker in Alabama, ready to be called forward. Troops include divers and jumpers highly trained in water rescues. U.S. Army North also coordinated civil air patrol missions to capture aerial imagery to assist the state.
- The U.S. Northern Command deployed two joint regional medical planners to provide direct Department of Defense assistance to federal and state health officials.
- Ahead of the hurricane’s landfall, USACE deployed debris teams, roofing teams and emergency power teams to address expected issues. Since landfall, a USACE commodities management team has been working closely with representatives from FEMA and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to develop a plan for monitoring the distribution of water, blankets, pre-packaged meals, plastic sheeting and other goods to folks in affected areas.
- As water levels subside, the USACE will continue to open and operate major structures of the Greater New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, such as the Inner Harbor Canal.
- The USACE deployed more than 150 industrial-sized generators to supplement state and local resources. The Corps installed generators at seven sites, including a shelter, a command center, a water system plant and a sewer lift station.
- Damage assessment teams from USACE began inspecting damage to the federal levee system Sept. 1. Once inspections are completed and analyzed, the USACE will make emergency repairs on any vulnerable areas within the system until more permanent repairs can be made.