FEMA Hurricane Georges Disaster Update
National Hurricane Center:
Georges has been downgraded to a tropical depression, but continues to plague the Gulf Coast with heavy rain and gusty winds. Some areas have received more than 25 inches of rain since yesterday. An additional eight to 15 inches are possible.
Gulf Local/State Operations:
In Florida, state officials are reporting 150 houses, including 75 houseboats, are destroyed; another 500 houses have major damage. Power outages continue in some areas, and a curfew remains in effect in the Florida Keys. The Key West Airport remains closed except for relief flights. Pensacola Airport is also closed. In Alabama, approximately 142,000 customers remain without power and the Mobile Airport and Mobile Downtown Airport are closed.
Gulf Coast Federal Response:
President Clinton has designated Monroe County in Florida as eligible for Individual and Public Assistance as part of a major disaster declaration. Alabama and Mississippi have received federal emergency declarations, which provide federal funding for emergency protective measures and debris removal. Louisiana, which already had an existing disaster declaration due to Tropical Storm Frances, is also receiving federal assistance.
The American Red Cross reports 40 shelters are open in Florida, including six for special needs residents, housing a total of 5,545 people. In Alabama, the Red Cross reports 32 shelters are open, including three special needs shelters; they are housing a total of 4,654. The Red Cross reports it is operating 72 shelters in Mississippi; there is an additional 25 non-Red Cross shelters in the state. The total shelter population there is 14,699. The Red Cross has established the toll-free number 1-800-HELP-NOW (English) and 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) for voluntary cash donations to help hurricane victims.
The Salvation Army in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi is preparing and serving more than 9,000 meals per day. In addition, there are 19 canteens or mobile kitchens mobilized and ready to move into hurricane-stricken areas.
Mobilization centers have been established at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Florida, Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., and Camp Beauregard, La. The Department of Defense is working to locate, procure and transport 150,000 Meals Ready to Eat to the mobilization center at Maxwell Air Force Base.
Sixty-two Urban Search and Rescue personnel are staged in Shreveport, La. An additional 35 members of the U.S. Public Health Services' Disaster Medical Assistance Teams are also staged there. Another Disaster Medical Assistance Team was deployed from Homestead Air Reserve Base to the Florida Keys.
Mobile Emergency Response Support teams are staged in Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working to fulfill mission assignments for generators, water, ice and debris removal.
The U.S. Forest Service has deployed Incident Management Teams and support personnel to the Jacksonville Naval Air Station and to Maxwell Air Force Base to manage the mobilization centers there. A third team is in place to manage the Camp Beauregard mobilization center.
The National Aeronautical and Space Administration took the opportunity of Georges' approach to gather data on tropical storms. A NASA ER-2 aircraft flew from Warner Robins Air Force Base on September 28 to sample rain bands north of the hurricane eye. The complete package of data will be available within three months.
The U.S. Geological Survey's Hurricane Response Team, based in Miami, monitored and documented the coastal storm surge associated with Hurricane Georges.
Puerto Rico./U.S. Virgin Islands Recovery:
Recovery efforts continue in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and more relief supplies are arriving daily. Widespread housing damage is reported throughout the island. Preliminary assessments indicate that 33,113 single-family homes were destroyed and 27,066 suffered major damage. To meet the needs of the disaster victims, 16 Disaster Recovery Centers are being established throughout the island.
There are a total of 225 shelters open with approximately 20,000 people.
FEMA is responding to requests for water, ice, emergency power and housing. Approximately 427,000 gallons of water and 600,000 pounds of ice have arrived; another 200,000 gallons of water and 100,000 pounds of ice are scheduled for delivery beginning today. Water and ice are being distributed by the Commonwealth at distribution centers throughout the island. Water service is being restored as pumping facilities establish emergency power, but a boil-water order has been issued for the entire island because of concerns about possible contamination.
More than 600 rolls of plastic sheeting for damaged roofs have been distributed; installation of the sheeting has begun under U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contract.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Office of Emergency Information & Media Affairs --- Washington, D.C.
Information Available 24 hours a day
. . .
... on the World Wide Web: http://www.fema.gov
... FEMA is also co-sponsor of Storm98: http://www.storm98.com
... via fax-on-demand: phone in the U.S.A. (202) 646-FEMA (646-3362)
... via digital audio for broadcasters & print: contact firstname.lastname@example.org
and listen to the FEMA Radio Network on the FEMA Website using RealAudio