Yesterday, Secretary Johnson and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate traveled to Washington where they joined Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene to see firsthand the damage cause by the recent mudslide, and thank the responders.
Governor Inslee (left), Secretary Johnson, and FEMA Administrator Fugate (center) arrive in Oso, Washington. Photo courtesy of Governor Inslee’s office.
While on the ground in Washington, Secretary Johnson and Administrator Fugate were briefed on the ongoing recovery efforts. Secretary Johnson and Administrator Fugate met with responders from across government – an Urban Search and Rescue Team activated by FEMA, responders from the state of Washington’s Emergency Management Division, local firefighters and emergency responders from the surrounding community, and volunteers and local community members – many of whom had been on the scene within the first few hours of the tragic slide.
Tim Pierce, WTF1 Leader, Senator Cantwell, and Secretary Johnson (left to right) tour the site. Photo courtesy of FEMA Region 10.
Following the visit to the impacted area, Secretary Johnson made clear that the federal government will continue to stand with the community as the response and recovery continue: “DHS, FEMA and the entire federal government is here to support the Governor and his team. We were here shortly after the disaster occurred, we are here now, and we will continue to be here as the recovery goes on.”
Fire Chief Hots briefs Secretary Johnson. Photo courtesy of Governor Inslee’s office.
Secretary Johnson also met with many of the first responders working at the site of the devastating mudslide and flooding, and highlighted their heroic efforts: “The mudslide is an enormous tragedy, but the efforts by the first responders is an inspirational American story.”
Secretary Johnson thanks Rhonda Cook, a volunteer responder. Rhonda was among the first to arrive at the site of the mudslide, and was instrumental and bringing in search and rescue equipment. Snohomish County Executive Lovick is pictured at left. Photo courtesy of Governor Inslee’s office.
On March 24, President Obama approved an Emergency Declaration providing resources to support the state and local response following the mudslide. A FEMA Incident Management Assessment Team as well as an Urban Search and Rescue Incident Support Team were deployed immediately to support the search and rescue efforts and are still part of the response today. On Wednesday, April 2, at the request of the Governor, the President approved a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Washington to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area, and providing federal funding to support affected individuals in Snohomish County, including the Sauk-Suiattle, Stillaguamish, and Tulalip Tribes. Assistance to eligible individuals can include including grants for temporary housing and home repairs, loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help place individuals and business owners on a path to recovery.
Secretary Johnson and Administrator Fugate met with search and rescue teams on site, including the New York Task Force 1 Canine Team and Hondo the dog. Photo courtesy of FEMA Region 10.
Due to the localized impacts of the disaster, FEMA is working closely with residents, tribal members and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area on a one-on-one basis. To learn more about FEMA Disaster Assistance, please visit fema.gov.
You can read more about Secretary Johnson and Administrator Fugate’s visit to Washington here.