The following message was sent to all FEMA employees on behalf of the Deputy Administrator.
[Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012]
FEMA continues to support a number of states as they recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. We have registered more than 400,000 applicants for individual assistance and have already provided nearly $600 million in assistance. There remain nearly 100,000 customers without power and more than 2,500 survivors are still in shelters across the damaged areas.
The federal government has deployed over 17,000 personnel to support our operations. Included in this group are all 42 of the FEMA Corps teams. We launched the FEMA Corps program earlier this year in partnership with Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) – an exciting new service cadre of well-trained 18-24 year olds dedicated to disaster response and recovery.
These FEMA Corps teams have gone through six weeks of training prior to service – four weeks of CNCS training and two weeks of FEMA-specific training. They are trained in FQS positions ranging from Community Relations to Mass Care and Logistics. The first FEMA Corps teams completed their training in September, and were deployed to the Gulf Coast to assist with the recovery efforts for Hurricane Isaac. Additional teams completed their training in October.
I was honored and pleased to speak at the induction ceremony for the very first FEMA Corps class in September and the one to follow in October. But I was even more pleased to hear how these young leaders are making a difference in New York and New Jersey. Over the past three weeks, I have met with dozens community leaders, reservists, and survivors, and the praise that I have heard for the FEMA Corps members is incredible.
Multiple people have commented on the enthusiasm and “can-do” attitude of the FEMA Corps members. They’ve served in a variety of capacities – from CR/AIR missions, to distributing commodities and staffing shelters and DRCs. In each of these roles they have received praise for the enthusiasm, talent, and hard work. I’ve seen this enthusiasm myself as I’ve traveled through the disaster area. In particular, one of the FEMA Corps team leaders recently sent me an email saying, “our team is really happy being able to serve survivors… This chance and opportunity to serve the community that we are currently serving is why we all signed up…”
I've also been pleased to hear how they have been welcomed into the larger FEMA team. The whole FEMA team has been working side-by-side to support Sandy operations, from our reservists, staff deployed from headquarters and our regional offices, our partners from other DHS agencies, and our FEMA Corps members. And they share one common goal: helping survivors.
The FEMA Corps program is new and over the next two years we will be expanding it to include 1,600 members. But the impact that they have had in such a short period of time is amazing. I look forward to continuing to work with them and all of you as we serve disaster survivors throughout our county.
Again, thank you for all that you have done over the past several weeks. Keep up the good work!