The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to coordinate the federal government's efforts to support state, local, tribal, private sector, and faith-based and non-profit partners, as the Gulf Coast states respond and recover in the wake of Isaac.
"The hard work begins for survivors who are assessing their damages and beginning their own recovery," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "I encourage survivors to continue to monitor updates from local officials to understand the services that may be available in their area. We continue to work with our federal, state and local partners to assess damages as areas become accessible to help the state determine what forms of assistance may be needed."
Since August 31, when President Obama approved Individual Assistance as part of the Major Disaster declaration for Louisiana requested by the governor, more than 35,000 Louisianans have registered for assistance, with roughly $400,000 approved, so far, for housing assistance and other needs. Individual Assistance was approved for Mississippi on September 1, and since then more than 1,000 Mississippi residents have registered for assistance.
Individuals and business owners in Louisiana and Mississippi who sustained losses in the counties and parishes designated in the major disaster declarations can apply for assistance by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by web-enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov. Those who do not have access to the internet can call (800) 621-FEMA (3362) or go to disaster recovery centers being opened in the designated counties and parishes. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster. Survivors who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call (800) 462-7585 directly; those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS)should call (800) 621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
FEMA has established disaster recovery centers in Plaquemines Parish and St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Additional disaster recovery centers are opening in Louisiana and Mississippi. Specialists from the state, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors. To find a disaster recovery center location, check out the disaster recovery center locator at www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov. Also, Gulf states residents who are having trouble coping with this disaster can take advantage of a 24/7 Disaster Distress Helpline that was activated by the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as a resource for people seeking crisis counseling. Residents may call (800) 985-5990 for assistance.
In support of Louisiana, FEMA recently transferred more than 1.4 million liters of water, 1.3 million meals, and 28,800 tarps to the State of Louisiana for the state to distribute to individuals at Points of Distribution (POD) sites. The state, in coordination with local governments, identifies the location of these PODs which are currently operating across a number of parishes. Individuals should contact their local emergency management for more information.
The federal team continues to work side by side withstate and local authorities to assist governors of impacted states as communities respond and recover. Incident Management Assistance teams are also on the ground in Mississippi and Louisiana to support state, tribal and local needs. Mobile Emergency Response Teams also are in Louisiana and Mississippi to support state emergency communications requirements including voice, video and information services. Also, hundreds of community relations staff are on the ground in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Joint federal, state and local disaster assessments are underway in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Plans are being made for assessments in other areas, as they become accessible. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established two Federal Medical Stations that began receiving patients yesterday in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also is providing personnel and liaisons to support staffing of the Federal Medical Stations (FMSs).HHS also provided staff and medical supplies to assist in moving patients in Louisiana, using more than 100 ambulances and 300 paratransit seats available through FEMA's ambulance contract. Ambulances have responded to 172 calls, treated 218 patients and transported 85 people to emergency rooms. Approximately 380 people have been transported using paratransit.
To date, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deployed more than 150 industrial-sized generators, overall, to supplement state and local resources. Of these, the Corps installed generators at seven sites, including a shelter, a command center, a water system plant and a sewer lift station.
President Obama has signed major disaster declarations for the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, making federal aid available to supplement state and local response efforts for emergency protective measures and debris removal in the areas affected by Hurricane Isaac beginning on August 26, 2012. These declarations build upon emergency declarations issued for both states earlier this week. Statewide hazard mitigation is available to all counties and tribal governments in Mississippi, and to all parishes and tribal governments in Louisiana.
On August 31, the Louisiana major disaster declaration was amended to include Individual Assistance for Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany parishes. On September 1, Ascension, Lafourche, Livingston and Orleans Parishes were added to this disaster declaration. Also, an amendment was announced for Mississippi making federal funding available for affected individuals in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and Pearl River counties. Assistance may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster.
As the remnants of the storm continues to move further inland and eastward, FEMA's regional offices continue to monitor conditions, and remain in close coordination with potentially affected states.