For Immediate Release
FEMA News Desk
Protect your health and safety, follow state, local and tribal official instructions to shelter in place or evacuate
WASHINGTON – The federal government’s emergency responders continue to respond to states, local communities, and tribes as impacts continue across southeast Texas.
FEMA’s priority continues to be protecting the lives and well-being of those in affected areas; the federal government is focusing on search and rescue and first responder operations to ensure people who need help get assistance.
FEMA urges those in the affected areas to follow the instructions of state, local, and tribal officials, including instructions to shelter in place or evacuate. Evacuees should not return to evacuated areas until they are told by local officials that it is safe to do so.
Federal resources are positioned closer to the impacted areas of Texas and Louisiana, and are ready to provide assistance as needed and requested by federal, state, local and tribal partners.
As of last night, FEMA had more than 900 Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) personnel working to save lives in south Texas.
Commodities are being strategically located at Incident Support Bases (ISB) near the impacted areas. As of yesterday, more than 1,000,000 liters of water, 1,000,000 meals, 20,520 tarps, and 70 generators are at the ISBs and staging areas in Texas and Louisiana. FEMA is providing around-the-clock staffing at its distribution center in Fort Worth, Texas, and is shipping additional commodities to ISBs and staging areas.
The overall federal response includes:
- The National Emergency Medical Services activated a contract for 100 ambulances and 15 air ambulances for advanced and basic life support, and are staged in San Antonio, Texas.
- Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) personnel and equipment are on the ground in Texas and Louisiana to support the states with secure and non-secure voice, video and information services for emergency response communications needs. The following teams and assets are on the ground in Texas:
- 65 MERS personnel
- 10 mobile communication office vehicles in support of US&R, IMAT, ISB, and survivor assistance.
- The Incident Management Assistance Teams are in place at the Texas and Louisiana state emergency operations centers in Austin, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to support requests for federal assistance. Additional teams continue to deploy as the response continues.
- The National Business Emergency Operations Center remains activated and is facilitating critical life-saving and life-safety information to private sector stakeholders as they are communicating with employees in the impacted area and preparing to send additional relief supplies.
- The National Flood Insurance Program has General Adjusters situated in Texas and Louisiana to support initial damage assessments and assist with positioning adjuster resources.
- FEMA has more than 1,800 FEMA employees deployed in support of the response. They are supplemented by an additional 341 U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees deployed as part of our surge capacity force. These surge capacity individuals begin rapid strike training today, and will be in the field shortly.
Ongoing Support and Preparedness Efforts:
The American Red Cross (ARC) continues to mobilize massive relief efforts to provide shelter, food and comfort. More than 1,800 people took refuge Saturday night in 34 Red Cross and community shelters in Texas. In Louisiana, one shelter is open with 8 people there Saturday night. Red Cross is directing people in need of shelter to call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767), visit http://www.redcross.org or download the Red Cross App. Local officials can also provide information on shelters. Anyone who plans to stay in a Red Cross shelter should bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, other comfort items and important documents. Bring any special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, or for family members who have unique needs. Red Cross is also directing people in life-threatening situations who need rescue to call 9-1-1 or the U.S. Coast Guard at (281) 464-4851.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has three divisions and five districts actively involved in the response. USACE has deployed liaison officers and subject matter experts to state and FEMA facilities to provide technical assistance, and a Prime Power Planning and Response Team, which includes temporary power restoration assets to the immediate vicinity. Additionally, USACE districts in affected areas continue flood-fighting activities such as stockpiling and issuing flood-fighting materials (sandbags and materials/fabrics that keep soil in place) to local government entities, and monitoring flood risk reduction projects in an effort to mitigate the effects of flooding in the area.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is working with industry and state and federal agencies, to report the evacuation of offshore oil and gas platforms and rigs due to the storm. Personnel have been evacuated from 89 production platforms and four drilling rigs.
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has over 420 personnel conducting operations in South Texas. The Coast Guard had confirmed rescues of 2,000 multi-person cases in the Houston and Galveston area, with 16 helicopters in the air and 8 more inbound. The Coast Guard also has an additional nine teams onsite doing shallow water rescues. More information on USCG rescue operations is available on their website at: http://www.news.uscg.mil/.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) deployed more than 225 AmeriCorps members to the region to support American Red Cross shelter and feeding operations, and FEMA’s disaster damage assessments and logistics. These teams are trained to provide expert manpower for shelter operations, debris removal, and volunteer and donations management.
The Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is deploying the DLA Distribution Expeditionary depot package to FEMA’s ISB at Randolph Air Force Base, near Seguin, Texas. DoD will provide a Search and Rescue (SAR) package to include two SAR planners, nine SAR rotary wing aircraft, two fixed wing aircraft, pararescue teams, and associated command and control elements. These SAR assets are deploying to Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth, Texas. The DoD Defense Logistics Agency provided Logistics Management and Resource Support to include 11 generators, 50,000 gallons of motor fuel, and 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
The U.S. Northern Command is providing a Defense Coordinating Officer with supporting staff element (DCO/DCE) to support DoD regional knowledge, requirements validation, and liaison services, including State/Emergency Preparedness Liaison SEPLO/EPLO Teams as necessary. DoD also provided Randolph-Seguin as an ISB/Federal Staging Area to support forward distribution of supplies/equipment to the affected area.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) responders remain active at its sites in Washington D.C. and Texas. DOE is continuing to assess the situation, impact and needs in affected areas, and is continuing to provide situation reports at https://www.energy.gov/oe/downloads/hurricane-harvey-situation-reports-august-2017. Patience will be essential, since it may take time to both complete damage assessments, and for energy repair crews to begin their critical work of restoring energy supplies to affected communities. DOE is also working closely with the Energy Information Administration to assess any potential impacts to oil and natural gas from Tropical Storm Harvey.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, in coordination with DOE’s Secretary Rick Perry, yesterday requested to expand Texas’s emergency fuel waiver signed on Saturday. The waiver now includes the four-county Dallas-Fort Worth reformulated gasoline (RFG) area, the 98-county area required to use low volatility fuel, and the 110-county area required to use Texas Low Emission Diesel (TxLED). The waiver helps ensure an adequate supply of gasoline is available in the affected areas until normal supply to the region can be restored. EPA is continuing to actively monitor the fuel supply situation as a result of the storm, and is ready to act expeditiously if extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist in other areas.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to monitor the status of communications networks and is coordinating with providers and government partners on communications status and restoration in the affected areas. The FCC released its first communication status report for areas impacted, the information is available at www.fcc.gov/harvey.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price declared a public health emergency for Texas on Saturday to allow health care facilities to provide care unimpeded. In addition, HHS has more than 500 personnel on the ground in Texas and Louisiana and more than 1,000 on alert. They deployed approximately 53,000 pounds of medical equipment and supplies to support medical and public health needs in the affected areas. HHS helped arrange for evacuation of three Texas hospitals Saturday, and has begun working with state and local agencies to assess damage and needs of mental health centers, dialysis centers, pharmacies, and other critical health infrastructure.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) is expanding its support activities through six mission assignments, including the U.S. Geological Survey providing advance support, real-time field measurements, and daily reporting of water heights via deployed storm-tide sensors to help public officials assess storm damage, discern between wind and flood damage, and improve computer models used to forecast future floods. USGS is also supporting collection of remote-sensed imagery, updating coastal change forecasts based on storm surge forecasts, and liaising with the Texas State Emergency Operations Center.
The National Park Service (NPS) and Office of Aviation Services are expanding search and rescue activities, including use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) for search and rescue operations and to provide imagery for identifying high priority search areas.
The National Guard Bureau (NGB) has over 1,000 service members in the region ready to move in for various assessment, search and rescue, and recovery missions, with approximately 3,000 service members activated last night. NGB is closely coordinating with the Texas and Louisiana National Guard to ensure all requirements are met for forces and equipment. Guard members in Texas are prepared to support civil authorities by saving lives, preventing injuries and protecting property. NGB has also been messaging safety on social media at https://twitter.com/ChiefNGB.
The U.S. Postal Service is updating employees, residential and commercial customers through telephone call centers, traditional and social media. They are maintaining emergency operations centers to assess and direct resources and assets for mail support. They have security and damage assessment of facilities underway, and are reviewing conditions for restoration of service on a case by case basis.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Operating Administrations are actively monitoring Hurricane Harvey and its impacts. DOT has proactively issued emergency declarations to remove restrictions in order to hasten the delivery of emergency equipment and supplies to the region. All of the Department’s administrations are poised to support the State of Texas with post storm recovery efforts.
The USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov are supporting federal agency messaging efforts on the USA.gov & GobiernoUSA.gov home pages and compiling federal agency updates and messaging on Tropical Storm Harvey pages, found at www.usa.gov/hurricane-harvey and gobierno.usa.gov/huracan-harvey.