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

Main Content
Release date: 
September 3, 2012
Release Number: 
HQ-12-095

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.

Today, President Barack Obama is in Louisiana meeting with state and local officials and viewing ongoing response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Isaac.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano traveled to Mississippi and Louisiana on Sunday to visit areas damaged by the storm.  Also, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has been in the impacted region since before the storm made landfall. In Louisiana and Mississippi, he has been traveling and meeting with disaster survivors, state and local officials and FEMA staff. 

“When disasters occur, local and national voluntary agencies are often among some of the first responders on the ground to help survivors with the support and resources that they need,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  “In Isaac, we’ve already seen field kitchens opening in the hardest hit neighborhoods with thousands of meals being served; dozens of shelters available for temporary housing relief; and teams on the ground to assist with debris removal and temporary roofs.”

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) members including voluntary, non-profit and faith-based organizations are working closely with the affected states and communities to assist with providing mobile feeding in areas where there are power outages, assisting with debris removal and, as needed, to support with temporary roofing for disaster survivors. 

Disaster recovery centers are open in many disaster affected areas in Louisiana and Mississippi, These centers are the place for disaster survivors can meet face-to-face with officials from voluntary and non-profit agencies, local communities, the state and federal agencies such as FEMA and the Small Business Administration to learn more about the various types of assistance available to disaster survivors.  For more information on disaster recovery centers, or to find a disaster recovery center near you, check out www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov.

Since Friday, when President Obama approved Individual Assistance as part of the Major Disaster declaration for Louisiana requested by the Governor, more than 86,850 Louisianans have registered for assistance, with roughly $4.14 million approved, so far, for housing assistance and other needs.  Individual Assistance was approved for Mississippi Saturday night, and since then more than 3, 949 Mississippi residents have registered for assistance. 

Individuals and business owners in Louisiana and Mississippi who sustained losses in the counties and parishes designated in the major disaster declarations can apply for assistance by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. Those who do not have access to the internet can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit a disaster recovery center in the designated counties and parishes.  Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster.  Survivors who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should 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. 

In support of Louisiana, FEMA recently transferred more than 2.4 million liters of water, 2.4 million meals, 1,200 cots, and 32,500 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.

The federal team continues to work side by side with state and local authorities to assist governors of impacted states as communities respond and recover. Incident Management Assistance teams are on the ground in Mississippi and Louisiana to support state, tribal and local needs.  Mobile Emergency Response Teams are also in Louisiana and Mississippi to support state emergency communications requirements including voice, video and information services. Also, hundreds of community relations staff are on the ground in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments are underway in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.  Plans are being made for assessments in other areas, as they become accessible. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has more than 200 personnel deployed in the Gulf and has established two Federal Medical Stations available as shelters for medical special needs patients. HHS staff and medical supplies continue to assist in moving patients in Louisiana, although this need is decreasing, allowing 40 ambulances contracted through FEMA to demobilize with 60 remaining. In the first week after the storm made landfall in Louisiana, ambulances contracted through FEMA responded to more than 300 calls and treated more than 270 patients. Approximately 425 patients were transported using paratransit contracted through FEMA.  As per the state of Louisiana’s request, FEMA extended the National Medical Transport and Support Services contract for ambulance service for the next 72 hours to continue with the transportation of patients to and from their homes or medical care facilities. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service approved Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (DSNAP) in the parishes of Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany starting Wednesday, September 4.  The program provides food assistance for eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster.  To help expedite the application process, individuals should pre-apply for DSNAP either online at www.dcfs.la.gov/preapply or www.getagameplan.org or by calling 1-888-LAHELP-U (888-524-3578) between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. When applying by phone, callers should select the appropriate language and then select options 3 and 3.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have deployed Temporary Power Teams to Louisiana and Mississippi and are installing FEMA provided generators at critical facilities. Of these, the Corps installed generators at nine sites, including a shelter, a hospital, a command center, a water system plant and a sewer lift station.

Last week, 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 prior to the Isaac’s landfall.  Statewide hazard mitigation is available to all counties and tribal governments in Mississippi, and to all parishes and tribal governments in Louisiana. 

On Friday, the Louisiana major disaster declaration was amended to include Individual Assistance for Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany parishes. Saturday, Ascension, Lafourche, Livingston and Orleans Parishes were added to this disaster declaration.  Also, an amendment was announced, Saturday, for Mississippi making federal funding available for affected individuals in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and Pearl River counties. Assistance may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster.

Below is an updated timeline of some of the key activities and events that have occurred over the weekend in the wake of Isaac. With much of the recovery work being closely coordinated in the field, this will be the last daily timeline of events. We encourage you to visit the disaster-specific web pages for Mississippi and Louisiana at fema.gov for more information.

 

Monday, September 3, 2012

  • President Barack Obama travels to Louisiana to meet with state and local officials and view ongoing response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Isaac. 
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate remains in the Gulf Coast area.  Throughout the week, he has been to both Louisiana and Mississippi to meet with state and local officials and see firsthand the impact and the response efforts.
  • 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 Mississippi and Louisiana.
  • A Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator (FDRC) is on the ground in Louisiana.
  • Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments are underway in Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Plans are being made for assessments in other areas, as they become accessible. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • As of 3:00 p.m.  eastern time, more than 86,850 Louisianans have registered for assistance, with roughly $4.14 million approved, so far, for housing assistance and other needs.  Individual Assistance was approved for Mississippi Saturday night, and since then more than 3, 949 Mississippi residents have registered for assistance. 
  • Disaster recovery centers are open in Louisiana and Mississippi. Specialists from the state, FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and voluntary and non-profit agencies will be on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors.  To find a disaster recovery center location, check out the disaster recovery center locator at www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers  or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov.
  • FEMA Disability Integration Advisors (DIAs) in Mississippi outreached to disability community leaders and survivors with functional and access needs sharing educational materials. DIAs coordinated the availability of accessibility kits for Disaster Recovery Center and coordinated the video relay remote access for effective communication for survivors who are deaf.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has more than 200 personnel deployed in the Gulf and has established two Federal Medical Stations available as shelters for medical special needs patients. HHS staff and medical supplies continue to assist in moving patients in Louisiana, although this need is decreasing, allowing 40 ambulances contracted through FEMA to demobilize with 60 remaining. In the first week after the storm made landfall in Louisiana, ambulances contracted through FEMA responded to more than 300 calls and treated more than 270 patients. Approximately 425 patients were transported using paratransit contracted through FEMA As per the state of Louisiana’s request, FEMA extended the National Medical Transport and Support Services contract for ambulance service for the next 72 hours to continue with the transportation of patients to and from their homes or medical care facilities. 
  • The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, remains activated for residents of the Gulf states. As of Friday, the Helpline had received approximately 170 calls since the hurricane made landfall. Most of the calls came from Gulf Coast residents. The Helpline is a 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week resource that responds to people seeking crisis counseling after experiencing a natural or man-made disaster or tragedy. Multiple HHS agencies are promoting the helpline through social media.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) worked closely with the states of Louisiana and Mississippi.  To date, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deployed more than 150 industrial-sized generators, overall, 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. 
  • The U.S. Coast Guard coordinated with FEMA, Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to identify and respond to oil and other hazardous material and debris releases as a result of the storm.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard assessed the impacts to offshore and port facilities, as well as the maritime transportation system is ongoing in our effort to restore the flow of commerce and other traffic along the Mississippi River.
  • The National Guard Bureau provided essential lifesaving services and assisting in the clean up and debris removal in Louisiana and Mississippi.  More than 4,500 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.
  • 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.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service approved Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (DSNAP) in the parishes of Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany starting Wednesday, September 4.  The program provides food assistance for eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster.  To help expedite the application process, individuals should pre-apply for DSNAP prior to Wednesday either online at www.dcfs.la.gov/preapply or www.getagameplan.org or by calling 1-888-LAHELP-U (888-524-3578) between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. When applying by phone, callers should select the appropriate language and then select options 3 and 3.
  • National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) members including voluntary, non-profit and faith-based organizations worked with the state and communities to assist with providing mobile feeding in areas where there are power outages, assist with debris removal and, as needed, to support with temporary roofing for disaster survivors.  NECHAMA, a non-profit social service organization partnered with All Hands Volunteers along the coast to coordinate spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers to assist with debris removal and muck-outs.
  • The American Red Cross served more than 193,00 meals and snacks, 11,100 relief items, 2500 disaster responders and identified more than 1,700 health practitioners in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.  The American Red Cross has opened shelters in several Gulf Coast states and is mobilizing trained disaster workers across the region. To find an open shelter, please visit http://www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter.
  • The American Red Cross deployed nearly 200 emergency response vehicles are traveling through affected neighborhoods, distributing hot meals and relief supplies. Red Cross is working closely with government agencies and community organizations to coordinate this multi-state relief response. Partners like AmeriCorps, Islamic Relief USA, NAACP and the National Baptist Convention USA are assisting the Red Cross to provide help and comfort. The Red Cross received assistance from a number of companies including Spectrum Brands, Walgreens, Coca-Cola, Home Depot and Vision Services, who provided items such as insect repellent, bottled water and snacks.
  • The Louisiana Service Commission established a web portal at www.volunteerlouisiana.gov to help with coordinating donations and volunteers.  The Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service has established a web portal at www.mcvs.org for volunteer opportunities and donation information. Cash is the preferred method of donation in order to ensure that disaster survivors get the services and supplies they need quickly.
  • Salvation Army teams in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana distributed over 22,000 meals, 29,000 drinks, 354 comfort kits, and operated 25 mobile feeding units.
  • Habitat for Humanity International reported local Habitats are checking on homes and conducting assessments in their communities and is engaged in dialog with LA and MS VOAD and local governments on clean-up efforts.
  • United Way Worldwide opened up Volunteer Reception Centers to intake the unaffiliated volunteers from other States and assisting with tying them in with established organizations performing response and recovery operations.
  • Islamic Circle of North America opened Masjid shelters and hosts located in Baton Rouge, LA; Lafayette, LA; Jackson, MS; and Beaumont, TX with a total population of over 60 individuals. These shelters provided gender-segregated sleeping space, catered food to meet the dietary needs, congregational prayer space, and common knowledge of practicing Muslims, and vouchers for local hotel accommodations.
  • Mississippi Southern Baptists (MSB) had two (2) field kitchens supporting mobile feeding along the coast. MSB have served in excess of 4,500 meals and snacks, has chain saw and debris removal teams assisting residents and a temporary roofing team available to assist with applying plastic sheeting.
  • Amtrak service resumed between New York and New Orleans; service is suspended between New Orleans and San Antonio; and between New Orleans and Chicago.

 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

  • Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano traveled to Mississippi and Louisiana to visit some of the areas damaged from the storm. In Bay St. Louis, Miss., Secretary Napolitano met with Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Robert Latham, Senator Roger Wicker, Rep. Steven Palazzo, Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame and other officials, and toured areas damaged by Hurricane Isaac. 
  • Secretary Napolitano then traveled to Slidell, La. to join Senator Mary Landrieu, Rep. Steve Scalise, Slidell Mayor Freddy Drennan, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and other officials to meet with first responders and emergency management teams, and survey coordination among federal, state and local partners on response and recovery efforts throughout the region. 
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was in Louisiana and met with local officials and FEMA staff. FEMA Federal Coordinating Officers remained 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.
  • Individuals and business owners in Louisiana and Mississippi who sustained losses in the designated counties and parishes can apply for assistance by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. Those who do not have access to the internet can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).  Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster.  Survivors who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should 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. 
  • To date, more than 35,000 Louisianans registered for assistance, with roughly $400,000 approved, so far, for housing assistance and other needs. Since Individual Assistance was approved for Mississippi last night, more than 1,000 Mississippi residents have registered for assistance. 
  • Disaster recovery centers were open in Plaquemines Parish and St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.  Additional disaster recovery centers opened in Louisiana and Mississippi, today.  Specialists from the state, 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.  To find a disaster recovery center location, check out the disaster recovery center locator at www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov.
  • Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments were underway in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Plans were being made for assessments in other areas, as they become accessible. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • 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.
  • To date, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) deployed more than 150 industrial-sized generators, overall, to supplement state and local resources. USACE installed generators at seven sites, including a shelter, a command center, a water system plant and a sewer lift station.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard reported the ports of Mobile and Panama City were open and Pascagoula were open with restrictions. In Sector New Orleans, Gulf Inter-coastal Waterway, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and ports along the Lower Mississippi River below mile marker 130 were open. Lower Mississippi River ports above mile marker 130 were open with restrictions.

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 - 14:32
Back to Top