Federal Agencies Ready for Hurricane Ida Response

Bobby Laurie

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As Hurricane Ida intensifies into a major storm in the Gulf of Mexico, FEMA, non-government organizations and federal agency partners continue to work alongside state, tribal and local officials to prepare and respond to the storm. The National Guard, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continue to provide support as needed.

“FEMA headquarters and regional operation centers are activated around the clock,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “We’ve pre-positioned equipment and supplies throughout the states to ensure resources are in place. Our federal partners join us on the ground supporting the response to this dangerous hurricane. This is the heartbeat of the federal family that has come together to support the people of Louisiana. I urge residents in the storm’s path to prepare now for significant impacts.”

Gulf Coast residents should listen to local officials, and if told to evacuate, do so immediately. For anyone going to a community or group shelter, remember to follow the latest recommendations for COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FEMA is fully operational in the COVID-19 environment, and the appropriate safety measures remain a priority to protect responders and residents from the virus.

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. approved emergency disaster declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi ahead of the storm’s landfall. These declarations help FEMA to respond rapidly and efficiently when states and individuals need aid after a disaster. The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment, and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding.

The American Red Cross is working with local officials from Texas to Florida to assess and open shelters as needed. In Louisiana, the Red Cross, state officials and other community groups are planning to open dozens of shelters for at least 16,000 people. Additional cots, blankets, comfort kits and ready-to-eat meals are pre-positioned in Louisiana and Mississippi.

The Red Cross is also supporting hospitals and has pre-positioned blood products ahead of the storm to help ensure patients have continued access to lifesaving blood transfusions. The organization has more than 500 volunteers on the ground, with hundreds of others on standby.

The Louisiana National Guard is activated and has staged high-water vehicles, boats, engineer work teams and other resources in 13 parishes prior to the storm’s landfall.

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As a travel expert with actual, hands-on experience, I serve as co-host of the national TV travel & lifestyle show “The Jet Set” and as a Traffic Reporter in Washington, D.C. I have been seen on The TODAY Show, Dr. Oz, Inside Edition, MSNBC and Good Morning America.

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