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Statement by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Ongoing Winter Storm Response

Release Date: 
February 3, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

As our neighbors in the central U.S. face the aftermath of last week’s storm and a new weather system moving in today, we have been moving aggressively to help them get back on their feet.

I’ve been in touch with Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and his state emergency leadership to pledge our support and hear from them personally about how the Department of Homeland Security can best support their round-the-clock efforts.

I’ve also been in constant contact with Nancy Ward, Acting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator, about her agency’s efforts in Kentucky. FEMA was on the ground and began to respond as soon as the storm hit. Immediately following the storm, FEMA toured the damaged areas with Governor Beshear and the chief of Kentucky emergency operations, General John Heltzel. Over the past several days, FEMA has been working closely with its partners at the Regional Response Coordination Center and the Kentucky State Emergency Operations Center to provide direct response and relief, and to coordinate federal resources to get help where it’s needed most. 

FEMA is assisting Kentucky with communications, emergency power, commodities and removing debris from roadways. Nearly 40 truckloads of water and more than 25 truckloads of meals have arrived at a central federal distribution point at Fort Campbell, Ky., and from there move to commonwealth distribution centers in Greenville and Paducah.

I have also been in close contact with Governors Mike Beebe of Arkansas and Jay Nixon of Missouri, and am closely monitoring the response efforts in those states as well. We’ve brought in thousands of cots and blankets, food and water, and more than 330 generators to Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri, and more supply trucks are inbound today.

In the days and weeks ahead we’ll continue to work closely with our state and local partners on the ground to support the men, women and families in these communities.  I thank everyone involved in these recovery efforts.

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