‘As Long as It Takes': FEMA, Other Agencies Respond to Ida

2 weeks ago 6
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Hundreds of exigency responders were successful spot successful Louisiana and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had powerfulness restoration experts and generators astatine the acceptable arsenic Hurricane Ida deed connected Sunday arsenic 1 of the astir almighty hurricanes to marque landfall successful the U.S., national officials said.

The Coast Guard prepositioned vessels for “deep h2o hunt and rescue efforts," and President Joe Biden said national enactment would stay successful the portion for “as agelong arsenic it takes.”

“I privation to marque definite that we're acceptable to surge each the effect capacity, capableness that we person to woody with immoderate comes next, and a lot's going to beryllium coming,” Biden said during a halt Sunday astatine Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters.

Much of the effect began days earlier landfall and included peculiar precautions owed to the coronavirus pandemic, the White House said. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told CNN’s “State of the Union” a fewer hours earlier Ida’s landfall that determination were 600 radical acceptable to deploy for hunt and rescue efforts, including teams from 15 different states, with “many more” connected the way.

“We’re arsenic acceptable arsenic we tin be,” helium said.

Biden met via videoconference with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell connected Saturday to sermon tempest preparations, and helium said Sunday that “prepositioning” successful the portion had been a captious portion of the response. More than 100 crushed ambulances and 20 aerial ambulances were deployed to assistance evacuate nursing homes successful the storm’s path, FEMA said. Precautions were besides being taken to forestall the dispersed of COVID-19 astatine the ample shelters the American Red Cross is opening, including masking, accelerated investigating and societal distancing.

FEMA deployed 10 Incident Management Assistance Teams to enactment states — six successful Louisiana, 2 successful Alabama and 2 successful Mississippi — and said 3 much teams were connected standby to deploy if needed. More than 2,400 FEMA employees were successful Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and acceptable to supply further help, FEMA said.

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Biden said the bureau has provided 2.5 cardinal meals and much than 3 cardinal liters of water. Nine Urban Search and Rescue teams were successful spot successful Louisiana and 3 much teams were successful Alabama, FEMA said.

Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Jennah Durant said the agency's unit are coordinating with FEMA arsenic good arsenic authorities and section authorities successful Louisiana. She said the bureau had contacted the owners and operators of the 23 highly polluted Superfund sites successful the authorities to guarantee prestorm information preparations were being made.

Biden approved an exigency catastrophe declaration for Louisiana connected Friday, which authorized nonstop national assistance for each 64 parishes, including powerfulness generation, aerial transportation, wildlife absorption assistance and h2o management. The White House said Biden besides spoke with the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama “to marque wide that States person the afloat enactment of the Federal authorities to supply assistance arsenic needed and to assistance section exigency effect efforts.”

Biden besides spoke Saturday with National Hurricane Center Director Kenneth Graham, astir “how Ida volition apt beryllium precise beardown and destructive, with dangerous, life-threatening tempest surge and important rainfall that would interaction some coastal and inland areas,” according to the White House.

Edwards told CBS' “Face the Nation” connected Sunday that Ida was a “major, large storm” that volition trial the authorities successful ways it hasn't been tested before, arsenic it happens alongwith the pandemic.

“It’s intolerable contiguous to accidental however agelong the powerfulness volition beryllium out. And that begins to trial your systems,” Edwards said, “whether it’s the accidental to present h2o to the hospitals. You can’t tally a ventilator without electricity.”

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Associated Press newsman Michael Biesecker contributed to this study from Washington.

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