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Federal Family and Partners Continue to Support State Response to Tropical Storm Harvey: Residents Urged to Heed Warnings from State, Local, and Tribal Officials

Release date: 
August 26, 2017
Release Number: 
62

WASHINGTON – The federal government is actively providing support to states, local communities, and tribes as Hurricane Harvey, now downgraded to a Tropical Storm, continues to impact the coastline and inland areas of Texas. FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) in Washington, D.C., and Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) in Denton, Texas, continue 24-hour coordination of federal support.

FEMA’s number one priority is supporting safety and life-sustaining actions. 

Six federal Urban Search & Rescue task forces with the National Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) System, encompassing more than 400 personnel, are staged in San Antonio, Texas, prepared to support affected states and tribes as needed and requested. Each of these teams has swift water rescue capabilities. A US&R Incident Support Team is staged in College Station, Texas, to support the teams during their deployment.

Commodities are strategically located at Incident Support Bases (ISB) in the Gulf Coast area. As of this afternoon, more than 390,000 liters of water, 524,000 meals, 4,500 tarps, and 53 generators were received at the ISBs and staging areas in Texas and Louisiana. FEMA is providing around-the-clock staffing at its distribution center in Fort Worth, Texas, and is shipping additional commodities as necessary and requested.

The overall federal response includes:

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) activated the National Emergency Medical Services contract for 100 ambulances, for advanced and basic life support, to be staged in San Antonio, Texas.
  • Mobile Emergency Response Support personnel and equipment are on the ground in Texas and Louisiana to support the states with secure and non-secure voice, video and information services, to support emergency response communications needs. Additional teams are in route to the affected areas.
  • FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams are in place at the Texas and Louisiana state emergency operations centers in Austin, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to support response efforts. Additional teams continue to deploy.
  • FEMA’s National Business Emergency Operations Center is active and facilitating coordination between government and private sector organizations, as the community responds to Tropical Storm Harvey.
  • The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has General Adjusters situated in Texas and Louisiana, to support initial damage assessments and assist with positioning adjuster resources. Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA) leadership is in contact with senior insurance officials in Texas and Louisiana to provide the NFIP’s support to states.

Ongoing Support and Preparedness Efforts:

The American Red Cross (ARC) has mobilized a massive relief effort to provide shelter, food and comfort. More than 1,400 people took refuge Friday night in 24 Red Cross and community shelters.  More than 40 additional shelters are on standby in Texas and surrounding states, if needed. Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers from across the country are on the ground now to support shelter operations. The Red Cross has tractor trailer loads of relief supplies in the region – enough to support more than 20,000 people for weeks. The supplies include cots, blankets, ready-to-eat meals, comfort kits, and cleaning supplies. In addition, the Red Cross has prepositioned blood products in Houston to help ensure they can maintain an adequate blood supply through the weekend.  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Operations Center is staffed 24/7 and is communicating preparation and recovery material to the public. They have been promoting their Disaster Resource Center (https://www.usda.gov/topics/disaster) created in partnership with FEMA.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is working with industry and state and federal agencies, to report the evacuation of offshore oil and gas platforms and rigs due to the storm. Personnel have been evacuated from 89 production platforms and four drilling rigs.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted on Facebook and Twitter information about the status of office operations as a result of Tropical Storm Harvey’s impact.  In addition to social media, the USCIS Weather Advisory homepage banner is up to provide preparedness information, and to remind individuals how to reschedule interviews, as needed (in English and Spanish) at www.uscis.gov.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Captain of the Port has reopened the Port of Brownsville, Texas. Coast Guard damage assessment teams are continuing to evaluate ports from Houston-Galveston to Corpus Christi. Coast Guard search and rescue teams are making rescues throughout impacted areas. Updated information on their rescue efforts is posted to their website at http://www.news.uscg.mil/

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) deployed more than 150 AmeriCorps members to the region to support American Red Cross shelter and feeding operations, and FEMA’s disaster damage assessments and logistics. These teams are trained to provide expert manpower for shelter operations, debris removal, and volunteer and donations management.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) responders remain active at the NRCC in Washington, D.C., and the RRCC in Denton, Texas, as well as the Texas State Emergency Operations Center in Austin, Texas.  DOE is assessing the situation, impact and needs in affected areas and issuing information about preparedness efforts on the web at https://energy.gov/oe/articles/doe-responds-hurricane-harvey-bears-down-texas.  DOE is also providing Situational Reports at https://energy.gov/oe/downloads/hurricane-harvey-situation-reports-august-2017.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt in coordination with DOE’s Secretary Rick Perry granted a temporary waiver to help ensure an adequate supply of gasoline is available in the affected areas until normal supply to the region can be restored.  EPA is continuing to actively monitor the fuel supply situation as a result of the storm, and is ready to act expeditiously if extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist in other areas.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is monitoring the status of communications networks, and will be coordinating with providers and government partners on communications status and restoration in the affected areas.

The Federal Protective Service (FPS) has deployed additional personnel and equipment to support emergency response efforts and protect federal facilities in the area.  In the event that radio communications are disrupted, FPS has placed two Mobile Command Vehicles on standby, to re-establish radio communications for federal, state, and local emergency response officials.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price today declared a public health emergency in Texas in response to Tropical Storm Harvey, to provide greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs. HHS also has more than 300 medical professionals deployed from the National Disaster Medical System and U.S. Public Health Service, and an additional 600 professionals on alert to provide medical care.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is coordinating with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) partners to provide regular status updates on the fixed Radiation Portal Monitors (RPMs) stationed in the path of the storm.  Additionally, DNDO is standing by to surge mobile RPMs in the event the fixed RPMs are damaged.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are ready to assist local authorities’ evacuation and response operations, and help anyone in need of assistance. Routine non-criminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is providing data from the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) deployed storm-tide sensors to help public officials assess storm damage, discern between wind and flood damage, and improve computer models used to forecast future floods. The data is available at: https://stn.wim.usgs.gov/ FEV/# Harvey Aug2017. USGS is also supporting collection of remote sensed imagery, updating coastal change forecasts based on storm surge forecasts, and liaising with the Texas State Emergency Operations Center. USGS has completed assessments of inventoried equipment that can replace storm-damaged equipment if needed.

DOI’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security is assembling two teams for public safety and security support and placing them on standby.

The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have activated the Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) beginning today.  DIRS is a voluntary, web-based system that communications companies, including wireless, wireline, broadcast, and cable providers, can use to report communications infrastructure status and situational awareness information during times of crisis.

The National Park Service (NPS) search and rescue response is ready to assist lifesaving operations. The NPS Emergency Incident Coordination Center has augmented staffing and is collecting resources nationwide to support emergency response efforts, including inventories of boats, specialized science resources, and availability of Incident Management Team resources.

The DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) has activated the Critical Infrastructure Crisis Action Team (CI-CAT) and the Region VI Incident Management Cell (IMC), to provide expertise and support on critical infrastructure.  The Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis has and continues to produce assessments and models of expected impacts on critical infrastructure to aid federal, state, local, and private sector decision makers in response and mitigation planning.  

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is working to contact major interstate operators regarding preparedness activities, and is preparing to assist with any movement of hazardous materials and coordinate with any required special permits or approvals.

USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov are supporting federal agency messaging efforts on the USA.gov & GobiernoUSA.gov home pages and compiling federal agency updates and messaging on Tropical Storm Harvey pages found at https://www.usa.gov/hurricane-harvey and https://gobierno.usa.gov/huracan-harvey.
 

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Last Updated: 
August 26, 2017 - 19:33