United States Government Response to the Aftermath Of Hurricane Katrina
The federal government is supporting state and local authorities by leading one of the largest disaster response mobilizations in United States history to respond to Hurricane Katrina.
President George W. Bush declared major disasters for impacted areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is actively managing federal assistance to these affected communities in an effort to expedite response efforts and save lives. With these disaster declarations, we are able to bring the full resources of the federal government to bear in helping the residents in the impacted states with emergency needs and recovery support.
Hurricane Katrina has proved to be one of the most dangerous storms in U.S. history. Although the eye of the hurricane has passed, hazards from weakened and damaged trees, downed power lines, high water, and other dangers remain. We urge citizens to be mindful of instructions from state and local officials who have asked that individuals remain in shelters, homes or safe places until given further notice.
Working with federal, state and local agencies through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), DHS continues to coordinate disaster relief and life-saving efforts. Individuals in declared counties can register online for disaster assistance at www.fema.gov or call FEMA's toll free registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) ? TTY 800-462-7585.
Highlights of the federal response include:
FEMA -FEMA deployed 23 Disaster Medical Assistance Teams from all across the U.S. to staging areas in Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, and Louisiana and is now moving them into impacted areas.
Seven Urban Search and Rescue task forces and two Incident Support Teams have been deployed and prepositioned in Shreveport, La., and Jackson, Miss., including teams from Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Three more Urban Search and Rescue teams are in the process of deployment.
FEMA is moving supplies and equipment into the hardest hit areas as quickly as possible, especially water, ice, meals, medical supplies, generators, tents, and tarps.
U.S. Coast Guard - More than 40 Coast Guard aircraft from units along the entire eastern seaboard, with more than 30 small boats, patrol boats, and cutters are positioned in staging areas around the impact areas, from Jacksonville, Fla., to Houston, now conducting post-hurricane search, rescue and humanitarian aid operations, waterway impact assessments and waterway reconstitution operations.
Department of Transportation -The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) dispatched more than 390 trucks that are beginning to deliver millions of meals ready to eat, millions of liters of water, tarps, millions of pounds of ice, mobile homes, generators, containers of disaster supplies, and forklifts to flood damaged areas. DOT has helicopters and a plane assisting delivery of essential supplies.
National Guard The National Guard of the four most heavily impacted states are providing support to civil authorities as well as generator, medical and shelter with approximately 7,500 troops on State Active Duty. The National Guard is augmenting civilian law enforcement capacity; not acting in lieu of it.
Department of Agriculture -The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) State Emergency Boards are coordinating agricultural-related responses at the county, state, and national levels in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and elsewhere. USDA is also coordinating damage assessments to area crops, livestock, and other agriculture-related operations. Farmers are encouraged to contact their local USDA Service Center for additional information on assistance available.
Department of Health and Human Services -The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has sent 38 U.S. Public Health Service Officers to Jackson, Miss., for deployment. In addition, HHS has 217 U.S. Public Health Service Officers on standby for deployment to support medical response in Louisiana, Mississippi, and other Gulf states.
Department of Defense -The United State Northern Command (NORTHCOM) continues to assist FEMA after disaster declarations were issued for Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi following the devastation caused in parts of each state by Hurricane Katrina.
Department of Labor -Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is contacting major power companies to the areas affected to provide safety briefings to employees at power restoration staging areas in affected communities. OSHA is also releasing public service announcements to inform workers about hazards related to restoration and cleanup.
American Red Cross -The American Red Cross is providing a safe haven for nearly 4,000 evacuees in more than 230 Red Cross shelters, from the panhandle of Florida, across Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, and Texas. The Red Cross is launching the largest mobilization of resources for a single natural disaster involving thousands of trained disaster relief workers, tons of supplies, and support.
The Red Cross relies on generous donations of the American people to do its work. The best way to help is by making an online contribution to the Disaster Relief Fund at http://www.redcross.org. Citizens can also help by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW. Because of logistical issues, the Red Cross cannot accept donations of food or clothing.