FEMA and Federal Partners Support States, Territories in Tsunami Response
Alongside our federal partners, we are closely monitoring the effects of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan early this morning and stand ready to support state and local response operations if needed. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued Tsunami Warnings and Watches for a number of countries, including parts of U.S. territories in the Pacific as well as coastal areas along California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska.
At the President’s direction, FEMA is leaning forward to assist our state and territory partners. And as we often say, FEMA is not the team, FEMA is part of the team, a team that includes the entire federal family, state, local and tribal officials, the faith-based and non-profit communities, the private sector and most importantly the public. Individuals living in the affected areas need to take precautions and to continue to heed the information and warnings coming from their state and local officials.
Earlier this morning, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Administrator Craig Fugate briefed President Obama on the Department’s ongoing coordination activities with potentially affected states and territories.
Under the direction of the President, we are in close coordination with state and local officials, through regional offices in Oakland, California and Bothell, Washington, and the pacific area office in Honolulu, Hawaii. In addition, we have commodities, such as water, meals, blankets and cots, prepositioned in Hawaii, Guam, and the Bay area of California should a request be made.
There have been no requests for federal assistance from U.S. states or territories at this time, however, we and our federal partners stand ready to provide support if a request is made by a Governor. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) remains the lead federal agency when it comes to responding to international disasters.
Here is additional information on the coordination efforts from our Federal partners:
U.S. Coast Guard rescue crews are making preparations through the main Hawaiian Islands to provide post-tsunami support following any potential impacts.
The Department of Defense has positioned National Guard personnel in county emergency operation centers in Hawaii, additional aircraft and personnel have been placed on standby if needed.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is deploying a Disaster Medical Assistance Team of more than 35 healthcare professionals and an Incident Response Coordination Team to Travis Air Force Base in California, as well as caches of medical equipment and supplies. From the Air Force base, the teams and equipment can deploy quickly wherever they are needed if requested by states or territories in the region or by the government of Japan.
The HHS Administration on Aging is monitoring the situation through its state, tribal and local Agencies on Aging, in impacted areas, to ensure safety of older adults in potentially impacted areas.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is closely monitoring conditions near the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, located near San Luis Obispo, CA. The NRC is working closely with its resident inspectors who are on site to ensure safe operating.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its Pacific Tsunami Warning Center are monitoring conditions and issuing warnings and advisory updates as available.
The U.S. Department of State has a call center established for Americans seeking information about family members in Japan. The number is 1-888-407-4747.
While tsunami watches and warning remain in effect, we urge the public to listen to the instructions of state and local officials, and if told to evacuate – evacuate. We urge everyone in the regions who could be impacted to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio and their local news to monitor for updates and directions provided by their local officials.