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Hurricane Matthew Unified Response Efforts Underway

Release date: 
October 8, 2016
Release Number: 

Hurricane Matthew Unified Response Efforts Underway

FEMA and the Federal Family Coordinating with Partners to Support Impacted Communities

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners continue to mobilize resources and personnel to support state, local and tribal efforts in the southeast U.S. as the possibility of dangerous conditions and flooding continues in some areas.

At the direction of President Obama, FEMA is leading the federal government’s effort to provide assistance and support in preparation and response to Hurricane Matthew. The President declared emergencies in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, making federal assistance available to mobilize equipment and resources necessary to prepare for and respond to Hurricane Matthew in the anticipated impacted areas. These pre-disaster emergency declarations make available direct federal assistance to save lives and protect property.

As of this morning, more than 680 FEMA staff are deployed to impacted states in support of response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Matthew and thousands more remain on alert to support recovery efforts, as needed. This includes six Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSAT) deployed to help federal, state, local and tribal partners gather detailed information on the affected communities during the critical days and weeks following this storm.  DSAT teams address immediate and emerging needs of disaster survivors including: on-the-spot needs assessments, requests for disability related accommodations and access to partners offering survivor services.

Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) are positioned in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. IMAT teams support preparation and anticipated response activities, and ensure that there are no unmet needs. Additionally, FEMA has ten Urban Search & Rescue teams on the ground to support any search and rescue efforts. Two teams are in Florida, four teams are in South Carolina, three teams are in Georgia, and one team is in North Carolina.

FEMA has made available more than 1,427,000 meals, more than 958,000 liters of water, and more than 48,000 blankets for state, tribal, and local officials to distribute to individuals.  These points of distribution are centralized locations established by state or local officials where supplies are delivered.

A breakdown by state:

Florida: More than 71,000 meals; 341,000 liters of water;

Georgia: More than 535,000 meals, 617,000 liters of water; 17,000 blankets;

North Carolina: More than 570,000 meals; 26,000 blankets; and,

South Carolina: More than 250,000 meals; 4,500 blankets.

The National Business Emergency Operations Center is activated in the NRCC and is coordinating with potentially affected states to work with private sector companies, preparing for landfall and coordinating on evacuation orders, potential transportation impacts, and access/re-entry permits ahead of the storm.

Ongoing Support and Preparedness Efforts:

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance teams are deployed to Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas and are working with local authorities to coordinate relief efforts. Updates on the status operations throughout the Caribbean are available on and on individual Embassy websites.  U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad are encouraged to enroll their travel plans on the agency’s website,, using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and to read the Country Specific Information also found on the site.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) deployed a Team Leader and Assistant Team Leader to FEMA Region IV.  Two Assistant Team Leaders and one Power Subject Matter Expert have been deployed to the FEMA National Response Coordination Center (NRCC).  Also, USACE deployed Team Leaders to FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.  The USACE deployed Emergency Power assets, including Planning & Response Teams (PRT) and Emergency Command & Control Vehicles (ECCV), to Florida and North Carolina.  Two companies from the 249th Engineer Battalion and four Temporary Emergency Power PRTs are coordinating response requirements under a FEMA pre-declaration for Emergency Power.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages those whose application, petition or immigration status may be impacted by Hurricane Matthew to call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TDD for the deaf and hard of hearing: 800-767-1833) to learn how to request certain types of relief. For more information, visit

The U.S. Coast Guard continues to assess and advise the status of ports along the storm’s path.  Advisories are being issued for northern locations in Georgia and South Carolina.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has deployed more than 450 AmeriCorps members, including FEMA Corps, to areas affected by Hurricane Matthew. These deployments include 54 teams of FEMA Corps members – 425 AmeriCorps members in total – that have been pre-staged to support FEMA’s response to affected states. An additional 45 AmeriCorps members are supporting shelter and emergency operations in Florida and South Carolina. CNCS is coordinating with local partners in each state, including governor-appointed state service commissions and voluntary organizations, to support state Emergency Operations and volunteer response efforts. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has disaster resource information as well as food safety, livestock and pet guidance is available at  USDA Foods’ inventories have been requested from all potentially impacted state agencies, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) staff is prepared to respond to any state requests for disaster SNAP and/or other SNAP-related needs.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) established an Incident Support Base at Fort Bragg in coordination with FEMA to preposition commodities and resources close to the potentially affect areas.  The U.S. Northern Command deployed Defense Coordinating Elements to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. These service members are providing DOD regional subject matter expertise, validate requirements, and conduct liaison efforts in support of response operations.


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is conducting daily coordination calls with industry, impacted states and the leadership of the Electricity Sub-Sector Coordinating Council to discuss preparations for the storm and plans for timely restoration.  As the preparation and response efforts for electric power change as the storm shifts, updates for each state can be viewed at here.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has almost 700 personnel pre-positioned and more than 450 on alert ready to support communities with medical, veterinary or fatality management needs from the storm’s impact. Personnel include members of the National Disaster Medical System, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response staff, and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and they form eight Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, two National Veterinary Response Teams, a Public Health Service Rapid Deployment Force team, a disaster mortuary assessment personnel and an Incident Response Coordination Team. Information from HHS agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about protecting health before and after disasters can be found on

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), in coordination with FEMA’s Office on Disability Integration and Coordination and FEMA’s Office for Equal Rights, issued a notice reminding its recipients of federal financial assistance who are engaged in emergency management to ensure that individuals and communities affected by disasters do not face unlawful discrimination in the provision of federally assisted services to disaster survivors. Additionally, CRCL issued a memo to impacted states regarding immigration enforcement activities. This memo notifies the public that there will be no immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations or sheltering related to the hurricane, including the use of checkpoints for immigration enforcement purposes in impacted areas during an evacuation. This memo can be found here.

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs is coordinating with tribes in potentially affected areas as needed. 

The U.S. Department of Interior’s National Park Service is continuing to monitor and evaluate conditions at their parks as the storm moves further north.  With more than a dozen national parks closed, each is assessing the ability to re-open to the public. Anyone planning to visit a park in the impacted states is encouraged to verify a park’s open status on its website.

The U.S. Department of Interior’s United States Geological Survey (USGS) is preparing to collect the 393 surge sensors and gages deployed in advance of Hurricane Matthew along the East Coast to provide data that will assist water managers in determining the peak and duration of storm surge.   This includes Storm Surge Sensors (190), Wave Sensors (79), Barometric Pressure Sensors (92), and Rapid Deployment Gage's (32). The information supports disaster recovery efforts and critical weather forecasts for the National Weather Service and FEMA.  The information collected will be distributed live on the USGS website to help federal and state officials gauge the extent and the storm's damage as it passes through each area.  This is the largest deployment of surge sensors by the USGS and surpasses the total deployments for Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.

The Department of Justice has 500 federal law enforcement officers from across the country on standby and ready to deploy, as required.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) activated the Regional Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta, Georgia and has deployed liaisons to the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta, and the Florida State Emergency Operation Center in Tallahassee.  All EPA regional programs have contacted their state counterparts and offered technical assistance concerning waste and debris disposal, water infrastructure, and fuel waiver issues. The Agency has received a mission assignment to support the State of Florida for oil and hazardous substance assessments in the coastal areas of the state, and are assembling teams to deploy from the Atlanta regional office.

The Federal Aviation Administration worked closely with airports and the air carriers that serve the affected area to prepare and is ready to restore air traffic control service in support of recovery efforts.  At FAA facilities in the hurricane’s path, fuel tanks were topped off for air traffic control equipment, radars immobilized and other navigation facilities so they could withstand high wind speeds. The FAA is also warning drone operators to stay clear of hurricane rescue and response aircraft to preserve the safety of first-responders.

The Federal Communications Commission is monitoring the status of communications networks and is prepared to work with affected providers to support restoration efforts as necessary.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) divisions in the southern region have been instructed to contact permitting agencies & commercial motor vehicle law enforcement agencies in their states to prepare for either emergency waivers from permits, or to be prepared to expedite permit issuance to support relief transportation efforts.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) deployed staff to Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina to support FEMA efforts to establish Joint Field Offices (JFO) and Disaster Response Centers (DRC).  GSA assessment teams are standing by to survey potential damage to federal facilities and will ensure any necessary repairs are undertaken quickly.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) activated its Unaccompanied Minors Registry (UMR). Family members can go to here or call 1-800-THE-LOST to find unaccompanied children who may have been separated from parents or caregivers because of the floods, by entering basic information and/or a photo. 

The National Guard continues to move north following the storm’s path. More than 9,000 National Guard personnel from nine states (AL, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TN) are conducting search and rescue, security, infrastructure assessment, route clearance, and communications in support of hurricane recovery efforts.  The National Guard provides support to civil authority of the state under direction of the governor.

The American Red Cross is supporting a massive shelter operation in the affected areas. More than 18,000 people stayed the night in 183 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The Red Cross has more than 2,200 trained disaster workers on the ground in addition to 95 pre-positioned response vehicles and 94 trailer loads filled water, ready-to-eat meals, shelter and kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies and comfort kits, insect repellant, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more. For Hurricane Matthew shelter locations, visit or call 1-800-768-8048. The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donations as Hurricane Matthew has forced the cancellation of many blood drives. If you’re in an unaffected area, please give blood or platelets, so we can continue to help patients in need. Go to or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is coordinating with affected state Departments of Transportation in anticipation of requests for Emergency Relief funds to repair highways and bridges that get damaged by the storm.  FHWA has deployed about a dozen personnel from division offices to assist with the storm response.  Bridge and road inspectors will make damage assessments once the storm has passed.  

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) is operating its SafeStor program on the M/V Cape Decision in Charleston, South Carolina, as shelter for local emergency vehicles in the region.  A total of seven agencies, including the Charleston Sheriff's Department, have a total of 53 emergency service vehicles loaded on the Cape Decision’s massive cargo hold to weather out the passage of Hurricane Mathew.  MARAD’s SafeStor program provides safe shelter for emergency equipment and personnel and allows affected areas to be up and running as soon as possible in order.

The Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) advises taxpayers to prepare in advance of Hurricane Matthew and stands ready to help after the storm. IRS will monitor the storm’s impact as the October 17 tax filing deadline approaches for those in the impacted areas who filed an extension to file their 2015 tax returns. The latest guidance available here.

Veterans Affairs facilities from Florida through South Carolina are implementing their emergency preparedness plans which includes closing many clinics and suspending non-emergency care services in medical centers.  For up-to-date information about VA facilities, visit here.

The National Weather Service expects Matthew to continue to move along the coast and be near the coast of North Carolina by tonight. Areas as far north as southern Virginia may experience high winds and dangerous flooding. Meanwhile, some residents in Florida and Georgia are beginning to return to their communities and face different risks from downed trees, power lines, and standing water. FEMA has advised residents to listen to local officials and follow all suggested safety measures in their area.

For additional info, imagery, graphics and b-roll, see our Hurricane Matthew web page:



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Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:02