WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As disaster response and recovery operations continue, James Lee Witt, Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct an inspection tour of flood-ravaged Texas communities. Witt left for Austin early this morning for a two day visit and will meet with federal, state and local officials.
Witt will be joined by Burke Kulik, associate director of Disaster Assistance, U.S. Small Business Administration; Major General Russell Fuhrman, director of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Directorate; Lacy E. Suiter, executive associate director of FEMA's Response and Recovery Directorate; Joanne Howard, administrator of the Federal Insurance Administration; Buddy Young, director of FEMA's regional office in Denton, Texas; and Robert Hendrix, federal coordinating officer for the flood recovery.
FEMA's Region Six has dispatched a Rapid Response Team from Denton, Texas to begin Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs). High water and limited access to flooded areas are making the team's work difficult.
An Advance Emergency Response Team from FEMA's regional office in Denton, Texas has been sent to the Texas Emergency Operations Center in Austin. The team anticipates moving to San Antonio, the planned location for this operation's Disaster Field Office (DFO).
The US Department of Transportation reports the following:
- The Intercoastal Waterway is closed from Galveston to Corpus Christi.
- There is no direct highway route available from Corpus Christi to Houston. Travelers must take established detours along Interstates 37 to San Antonio and the Interstate 10 to Houston.
- The US Coast Guard is involved in search & rescue operations and has provided a communications trailer to assist with flood relief operations.
The US Army Corps of Engineers contracted for and delivered 150,000 sandbags.
State and local officials report:
- Governor Bush has activated elements of the National Guard to assist in rescue missions. Several hundred people have been rescued, including numerous residents literally plucked from the roofs of their houses after the water rose. The Guard is also assisting the Victoria Police Department with foot patrols and the manning of barricades.
- The Texas Department of Public Safety is providing communication, security, damage assessment and search and rescue support.
- The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is providing watercraft for rescues and evacuations.
- The Texas Engineering Extension Service is providing search and rescue support.
- The Victoria County Judge has imposed a countywide curfew from 7 p.m.-7 a.m. CDT until further notice. Only emergency vehicles will be allowed to travel during that 12-hour period.
- The Goliad County judge has issued a curfew effective each day from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. until further notice.