Richmond, VA, August 30, 2011 -- Department of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano (right) talks with Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell as they enter the Virginia Emergency Operations Center. Secretary Napolitano visited Virginia to meet with state and local officials and survey damages after Irene.
Yesterday, we teamed up with our partners in the Commonwealth of Virginia to welcome Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Governor Bob McDonnell, U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott and Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones to the Virginia State Emergency Operations Center.
Secretaries Napolitano and Vilsack traveled to the Commonwealth to meet with state and local officials and receive an update on the ongoing response and recovery efforts due to damages from Irene. Upon arriving at the Emergency Operations Center, the delegation received a briefing on the status of Virginia’s response to the storm along with the Commonwealth’s progress towards recovery.
Secretary Napolitano praised the team at the operations center, placing an emphasis on how their efforts over the last few days have saved lives. She emphasized how President Obama has asked that we continue to lean forward as a team…a team that includes our cities, states and the federal family.
On Thursday, we will continue to team up with our state and local partners to begin collecting preliminary damage assessments throughout Virginia. This assessment is part of a process that could lead to the Commonwealth asking the President for a major disaster declaration should the Governor determine that the damage caused by Irene is beyond the capabilities of state and local resources. (Here’s more details on the disaster declaration process.)
As Secretary Napolitano said, FEMA is here in support of the Commonwealth and will be here as long as it takes to assess the damage and assist Virginia in their recovery efforts from Irene.