Monday, June 16, 2008
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Federal response to Midwest floods continues

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[June 16, 2008]  WASHINGTON -- The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to coordinate the federal response to support states affected by tornados and floods: Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.

More than 11 million residents in these states could be affected by flooding and other weather-related events.

On Saturday, President Bush approved a major disaster declaration for the state of Wisconsin for storms that began June 5.

Federal activities on Sunday:

Federal Emergency Management Agency

  • FEMA Logistics has deployed more than 1.9 million liters of water, 191,000 meals, more than 200 generators and other supplies to the regions.

  • FEMA Region V Emergency Response Team has been deployed to Rock Island.

  • FEMA is accepting applications for aid from residents in states with declared disasters.

    • Already more than 12,000 applications have been received from Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin, with 1,386 payments already distributed to eligible families.

    • FEMA's Disaster Assistance Directorate has expanded its call center capabilities to handle more than 16,000 applications per day and has nearly 300 inspectors in the states to review individual homes for damage.

    • Mobile disaster recovery centers, with satellite phones and Internet service, are also on the ground in Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and Missouri.

  • FEMA's joint field offices are engaging with response partners to establish state and federal task forces for housing solutions. These task forces will design and implement event-specific, comprehensive housing plans. A senior FEMA individual assistance manager will coordinate task force activities at the national level and provide support on the ground. The task forces are working under the framework established in the 2008 Disaster Housing Plan that FEMA released earlier this month.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  • The Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in Iowa, Indiana, Kansas and Wisconsin and is coordinating with state health officials to provide a list of key public health information and messages related to floods and power outages.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

  • Most deliveries of water to Iowa are now being handled by the Army Corps of Engineers, which has activated its Massachusetts-based National Water Team.

    • The Corps of Engineers has delivered a total of 576,000 liters of water to the logistical staging area in Des Moines and is working with state and local officials on establishing distribution points for the public distribution of water in Cedar Rapids and Columbus Junction.

  • The Corps of Engineers has deployed 208 flood-fighting teams, more than 4 million sandbags and 116 water pumps to the region. The Corps of Engineers has deployed the 249th Engineer Battalion to support critical facilities, including Iowa University Hospital, and has deployed an engineering team to assess using pumps to accelerate the process of clearing water from Cedar Rapids.

U.S. Coast Guard

  • The Coast Guard, the Corps of Engineers and the maritime industry have established an incident command post to address pending flooding issues in the Port of St. Louis, Mo.

  • The Coast Guard has deployed two disaster assistance response teams to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and two teams to St. Louis, Mo. Response teams are expected to be forward deployed to Quad Cities, Iowa and Hannibal, Mo.

    • These are mobile teams that consist of flat-bottom boats and personnel for operations in flooded areas.

  • The Coast Guard has been conducting overview flights to assist in the assessment of flooding in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids; meanwhile the regions are reporting that the state of Indiana is requesting two hoist-capable helicopters.

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U.S. National Guard

  • The National Guard has more than 5,000 personnel and 10 aircraft supporting evacuations, flood-fighting efforts and other support functions in the region. This includes more than 3,300 personnel in Iowa, more than 1,100 in Indiana, close to 200 each in Illinois and Missouri, and more than 100 in Wisconsin.

American Red Cross

  • The Red Cross has more than 2,900 people though its 31 local chapters committed to the relief effort.

  • Currently, the Red Cross, in coordination with the Southern Baptist relief organization, is moving additional kitchens and supplies to the state of Iowa in order to begin providing 100,000 hot meals per day beginning Tuesday.

  • The Red Cross is operating 30 shelters, currently housing 719 people, in the region.

  • The Red Cross is preparing to distribute kits to residents returning to homes after the floods recede. The kits include rakes, shovels, disinfectants and other supplies that residents might need to help them reclaim their homes and communities.

  • The Red Cross predicts spending in excess of $15 million on these floods and the 30 other relief operations the organization has participated in just since April. The American Red Cross support for disaster victims depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • USDA Rural Development has grant and loan funds available to rural communities to provide housing and shelter, public safety, health care and community facilities, and business recovery assistance. Areas that have been declared as federal disaster areas will receive priority consideration during the application process.

  • The Department of Agriculture is providing satellite images of crop losses in the Midwest for use in Geospatial Information System modeling and imagery.

U.S. Department of Defense

  • The Department of Defense has a number of unique capabilities that can be made available for support of civil authorities, including a robust aviation capability for search and rescue as well as space-based, airborne and ground assets for incident awareness assessment.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

  • The U.S. EPA is coordinating with affected states in anticipation of hazardous debris recovery.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

[Text from file received from FEMA]

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