WASHINGTON –FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell appeared on the Weather Channel earlier today, urging people to complete preparations for Hurricane Ida and discuss FEMA’s readiness to assist impacted states.
FEMA, along with other federal agencies and voluntary organizations, are working together to assist state, local and tribal partners as they prepare to respond to Hurricane Ida.
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. approved an Emergency Disaster Declaration for Louisiana on Friday.
“Even before that, we've been moving resources into the area, as early as Tuesday, when we talked to the National Hurricane Center, and they thought that it might be a potential storm,” the Administrator said. “We are prepared with swift water rescue teams, helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft as well as high-water vehicles, food, water as well as generators ready to deploy in support of Louisiana and Mississippi as needed after the threat of the storm has passed.”
FEMA is ready to respond and will assist states and voluntary agencies in sheltering affected residents.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is still a concern,” the Administrator said. “The states are going to be using congregate sheltering initially, and they are taking appropriate measures to make sure they can respect social distancing, have hand sanitizer and mask-wearing. We also have some shelter support kits if they need them to help facilitate more of that congregate setting and social distancing. Once the storm has passed, we are able to support non-congregate sheltering -- the use of hotels to get people out of that setting and help prevent potentially any spread of COVID-19.”
After landfall, Hurricane Ida is expected to bring heavy wind and rain as it moves inland.
“This is not just a coastal event,” said the Administrator. “We are going to see some catastrophic winds at the coast, but we are going to see some significant rain with major flooding possible in inland parts of Louisiana as well as when the storm moves east into Mississippi and Tennessee. We could even see some tornado activity. If you've not started to prepare in those areas, now is the time to do that. Understand what your threats are. Most importantly, listen to your local officials. Listen to the advice they are giving you on the protective actions that you need to take.”
Saturday was the final day for Gulf Coast residents to complete storm preparations. Residents should listen to state and local officials for important safety information. If told to evacuate, do so immediately, learn your evacuation routes, have a family emergency communications plan, keep a battery-powered radio handy and have plans for your family members and pets.