WASHINGTON -- FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor joined FOX News and The Weather Channel this afternoon to provide updates on Hurricane Delta, which made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane on the Gulf Coast.
The administrator gave the Weather Channel an update on federal response efforts and reminded Gulf Coast residents to stay safe.
“On the ground ... [we have] about 1,500 FEMA employees that had been down there for … [Hurricane] Laura six weeks ago and [Hurricane] Sally in the panhandle. So lots of federal employees down there, lots of our partners, to include power restoration,” said Gaynor. “In Louisiana alone, about 820 restoration crews had been down there doing power restoration for Laura. They’re there, to include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who did the blue roof mission. I think we have a head start, and hopefully you’ll see progress pretty quickly.”
Many people in the path of Hurricane Delta are still recovering from Hurricane Laura and may be feeling storm fatigue. FEMA encourages anyone in the storm’s path to stay strong, remain vigilant and take care of their mental and physical well-being.
“If you’ve been impacted by Delta you really need to think about your safety, the safety of the family and the safety of first responders that are out there today,” said Gaynor. "Heed the directions of your local emergency managers. Don’t come out until you get the all clear.
"This has been a complicated season," Gaynor continued. "It gets more complicated in Louisiana with both Laura and Delta … If you’ve been impacted by Delta, do a couple of things today: take photos of damage, write it all down in a list, save your receipts and call your insurance company.”
Administrator Gaynor also updated FOX News on the current storm conditions.
“Right now Delta is a tropical depression -- still raining, still a threat of flashfloods inland and the state, and our partners in the parishes are doing damage assessments as we speak,” he said. “What we see are power outages: in Louisiana about 688,000, in Texas about 107,000 and in Mississippi about 92,000. So power seems to be the issue right now.”
The FEMA administrator went on to explain how the agency is adjusting hurricane response considering the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have been beating the drum on not only hurricane safety this season but COVID safety [as well] …We don’t want to take someone out of the safety of their home, put them in a traditional shelter in a gymnasium and expose them to COVID,” Gaynor said. “We have a great program we’ve instituted across America, including Louisiana, where we put people in hotels and motels to keep them separated from others who may or may not have COVID ... It’s been working,” he said. “But again, you have to take responsibility for yourself to make sure you keep yourself and your family safe from the hazards of Delta and the hazards of COVID-19.”
FEMA is encouraging people in at-risk areas for Delta impacts to download the FEMA app to receive emergency and access preparedness tools to keep families safe. For additional preparedness information on all types of disasters, visit Ready.gov.