FEMA: As Hurricane Irene Recovery Gets Underway, FEMA and Federal Partners Continue Supporting States and Communities
As states continue to recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, this administration, coordinating through FEMA, continues to support state and local officials as response and recovery efforts continue. FEMA continues to work closely with state, tribal and local emergency management officials and has personnel on the ground across the affected states supporting officials and continuing to help assess the scope of the damages. On Sunday, President Obama will travel to Paterson, New Jersey, to view damage from Hurricane Irene and be briefed on response and recovery efforts.
President Obama has already declared major disasters in North Carolina, New Jersey and New York, making additional federal assistance available to individuals and businesses to help jumpstart their recovery. These major disaster declarations join the major disaster declared by President Obama for Puerto Rico on August 27, as well as more than a dozen emergency declarations signed by the President to provide state and local officials federal resources as they respond to this storm. Federal and state personnel are continuing to conduct joint preliminary damage assessments in impacted communities in these states and other states, and as these efforts continue, additional counties may be added to the declarations already approved. FEMA and the administration are committed to working as quickly as possible with our state and local partners to reviewing any additional requests governors make for major disaster declarations. For more information on how the disaster declarations process works, visit: blog.fema.gov/2011/08/federal-assistance-before-during-after.html.
Residents and businesses in declared disaster areas, who have disaster-related losses not covered by insurance, are encouraged to register for assistance. Residents and businesses may apply online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss can use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
"As the East Coast continues to respond and certain areas begin to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, we will continue to work with the entire emergency management team to support the affected families, neighborhoods and communities that have been impacted," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "We urge all survivors in declared areas to contact FEMA about applying for federal disaster aid by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov or m.fema.gov."
Today, Administrator Fugate is in New York City to meet with local and state partners to be briefed on response and recovery efforts and to join city leaders to help kick off National Preparedness Month, which starts today. Yesterday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Fugate met with local officials, first responders and volunteers in New York and New Jersey to survey ongoing recovery and response efforts on the ground following Hurricane Irene. FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino traveled to New Jersey to tour a shelter and visit with disaster survivors, following meetings with emergency officials and Governor Malloy in Connecticut. On Tuesday, Secretary Napolitano and United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited North Carolina and Virginia to meet with local officials, while FEMA Administrator Fugate was in Vermont to tour damaged areas with federal, state and local partners. Watch a video of Administrator Fugate's visit to Vermont here: www.fema.gov/medialibrary/media_records/5686#share_player.
Through its regional offices up and down the East Coast, FEMA remains in constant contact with the governors and their emergency management teams in all of the impacted states and remains in constant coordination. Additionally, FEMA, through its regional offices in Atlanta, New York and Denton, Texas, is also closely monitoring several developing storm systems in the Atlantic and Caribbean, including Hurricane Katia in the eastern Atlantic. It is still too early to know whether the track will affect the United States mainland or territories in the Caribbean, but this is another reminder that we are still in a very active hurricane season. Even as we continue supporting states as recovery efforts get underway for Irene, we also need to be ready for the next disaster.
Today marks the start of National Preparedness Month (NPM), which falls every September and serves as an opportunity to encourage Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities. Individuals and families can learn about events and activities, and groups can register to become a NPM Coalition Member by visiting community.fema.gov. NPM is sponsored by the Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and The Ad Council.
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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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