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

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Release date: 
September 2, 2012
Release Number: 
HQ-12-093

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, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano traveled to Mississippi and Louisiana to visit some of the areas damaged by the storm.   President Obama plans to visit Louisiana on Monday to meet with state and local officials and assess the ongoing response and recovery efforts from Hurricane Isaac. 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.

“The hard work begins for survivors who are assessing their damages and beginning their own recovery,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  “I encourage survivors to continue to monitor updates from local officials to understand the services that may be available in their area. We continue to work with our federal, state and local partners to assess damages as areas become accessible to help the state determine what forms of assistance may be needed.”

Since Friday, when President Obama approved Individual Assistance as part of the Major Disaster declaration for Louisiana requested by the Governor, more than 35,000 Louisianans have registered for assistance, with roughly $400,000 approved, so far, for housing assistance and other needs.  Individual Assistance was approved for Mississippi last night, and since then more than 1,000 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 you can go to disaster recovery centers being opened 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. 

FEMA has established disaster recovery centers in Plaquemines Parish and St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.  Additional disaster recovery centers are opening in Louisiana and Mississippi, today.  Specialists from the state, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 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.  Also, Gulf states residents who are having trouble coping with this disaster can take advantage of a 24/7 Disaster Distress Helpline that was activated by the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as a resource for people seeking crisis counseling. Residents may call 1-800-985-5990 for assistance.

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.

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 also on the ground in Mississippi and Louisiana to support state, tribal and local needs.  Mobile Emergency Response Teams also are 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 established two Federal Medical Stations that began receiving patients yesterday in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also is providing personnel and liaisons to support staffing of the Federal Medical Stations (FMSs).  HHS also provided staff and medical supplies to assist in moving patients in Louisiana, using more than 100 ambulances and 300 paratransit seats available through FEMA's ambulance contract. Ambulances have responded to 172 calls, treated 218 patients and transported 85 people to emergency rooms. Approximately 380 people have been transported using paratransit. 

To date, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deployed more than 150 industrial-sized generators, overall, to supplement state and local resources. Of these, the Corps installed generators at seven sites, including a shelter, a command center, a water system plant and a sewer lift station.

Earlier in the 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 earlier this week.  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. Yesterday, Ascension, Lafourche, Livingston and Orleans Parishes were added to this disaster declaration.  Also, an amendment was announced, yesterday, 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.

As the remnants of the storm continues to move further inland and eastward, FEMA’s regional offices continue to monitor conditions, and remain in close coordination with potentially affected states. 

Below is an updated timeline of some of the key activities and events that have occurred over the weekend in the wake of Isaac:

 

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.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was in Louisiana and met with local officials and FEMA staff.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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.

 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

  • 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 Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
  • FEMA Region VI Administrator Tony Robinson and Federal Recovery Coordinating Officer Wayne Rickart deployed to Louisiana where they will meet with the Federal Coordinating Officer and state and local officials to moving forward with recovery plans, resources and assets in affected areas, weather permitting. 
  • FEMA Federal Coordinating Officers remain 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.
  • Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Mississippi was amended to provide Individual Assistance Program to residents in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Pearl River counties. Residents can apply for assistance by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov, 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). 
  • Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Louisiana was amended to provide Individual Assistance Program to residents in the parishes of Ascension, Lafourche, Livingston and Orleans.  Residents in the designated parishes of Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany parishes can apply for assistance by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov, by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. Those without access to the internet, can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). 
  • The state of Louisiana continues to operate points of distribution to provide residents with much needed supplies. FEMA dispatched trucks containing more than 1.4 million liters water, and 1.3 million meals to the state.  The PODs are managed by the Louisiana National Guard.
  • Disaster recovery centers are opened in Louisiana in Plaquemines Parish and St. Tammany Parish.  Specialists from the state of Louisiana, 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.
  • Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments are underway in Florida and Louisiana. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties and parishes to help the governors determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • In Louisiana, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration participated in joint federal, state and local PDA's in five parishes for Individual Assistance (Assumption, Jefferson, La Fourche, Plaquemines, Terrebonne) and 4 parishes for Public Assistance (Assumption, Morehouse, Orleans and Saint Tammany). Plaquemines parish has completed their Individual Assistance PDA.
  • 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. 
  • The National Guard has been providing essential lifesaving services and assisting in the clean up and debris removal in Louisiana and Mississippi.  More than 5,700 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.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has more than 200 personnel deployed in the Gulf supporting the Tropical Storm Isaac response, including two 50-person Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and a U.S. Public Health Service team with 67 commissioned corps officers.   Two Federal Medical Stations set up by began receiving patients yesterday in Louisiana. The Federal Medical Station in New Orleans has 18 patients; the Federal Medical Station in Baton Rouge has a dozen patients and is expecting additional patients today as state officials move patients from a state-run shelter to the Federal Medical Station. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also is providing personnel and liaisons to support staffing of the Federal Medical Stations (FMSs).
  • HHS also provided staff and medical supplies to assist in moving patients in Louisiana using more than 100 ambulances and 300 paratransit seats available through FEMA's ambulance contract. Ambulances have responded to almost 100 calls and transported 85 people to emergency rooms. Approximately 370 people have been transported using paratransit. 
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been closely working with the states of Louisiana and Mississippi.  Teams are on the ground providing technical assistance, such as hydraulic modeling and finding available portable pumps, to reduce flooding along the Tangipahoa River and in Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana.  USACE also deployed emergency power teams to Mississippi and Louisiana, and commodities, debris and temporary roofing teams are deployed to Louisiana.
  • Damage assessment teams from USACE began to inspect damage to the federal levee system. Once inspections are completed and analyzed, the USACE will make emergency repairs on any vulnerable areas within the system until more permanent repairs can be made.
  • U.S. Coast Guard continued to work with the maritime industry to respond to a number of ship groundings and barge strandings along the riverbank caused by the river surge and high winds of the storm.  Additionally, Coast Guard hazardous materials response teams are surveying the area to identify any hazardous materials released during the hurricane.  The Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New Orleans lifted all restrictions to vessel traffic on the Lower Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico after assessments and transits by smaller ships indicated that the channel is safe for all types of vessels.

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.

 

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Last Updated: 
September 25, 2012 - 14:43
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