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Update on Hurricane Gustav Preparedness Efforts


Luke_Wilbur
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Governor Bobby Jindal held a press conference along with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to give an update on state and federal preparedness measures surrounding the impact of Hurricane Gustav on Louisiana.

 

Governor Jindal said, "Our most up to date information from the Hurricane Center shows that the storm did not reorganize as well as it could have, which is good news; but, again, we expect tropical storm force winds overnight tonight and as early as late this evening. St. Bernard, Plaquemines, and Terrebonne Parishes will get tropical storm force winds by midnight. Those areas at the mouth of the Mississippi River will get hurricane force winds early Monday morning. The Hurricane Center said hurricane wind warnings will stretch from Lake Charles to Baton Rouge.

 

"The eye of the storm is expected to hit midday tomorrow, and the storm is predicted to leave the state before it stalls." The Governor added that Baton Rouge and central Louisiana should be aware of possible 70 to 80 miles-per-hour winds as the hurricane comes through the state, which will likely cause power outages and downed trees.

 

The Governor said that he visited Lakefront Airport earlier today to thank the National Guard for their support in evacuating medical patients out of South Louisiana. Additionally, the Governor said that this afternoon he signed a memorandum of understanding between Louisiana and Missouri and Tennessee for the use of their National Guard forces assisting evacuation and response operations.

 

SPECIAL NEEDS SHELTERS UPDATE:

 

The Governor announced that the state has worked with several states to identify shelters for special needs individuals, including 53,000 spots in eight states. The Governor said that there is currently no wait for non-critical patients for air evacuations, and the state has extra air capacity available.

 

The Governor said that region 1 (New Orleans) is done evacuating homebound patients and the city is currently evacuating their 73 remaining patients from hospitals now. Region 3 (Houma) - homebound and nursing homes are evacuated, and hospitals who wanted to evacuate have done so. Region 5 (Lake Charles) has reported one nursing home that now needs to be evacuated and the state is working to assist them. Currently, 84 out of 115 nursing homes in impacted areas have evacuated - which is around 8,000 individuals (at least 27 with state assistance), and 27 hospitals have had full or partial evacuations.

 

Governor Jindal also spoke about the risk of evacuating critically ill patients from hospitals and said that there are reports of three unconfirmed deaths that occurred during evacuation efforts. The Governor said that the state continues to help hospitals, nursing homes, and local officials work to evacuate people out of harm's way and his prayers go out to the families of those who have been lost.

 

EVACUATION SUPPORT UPDATE:

 

Governor Jindal said that seven states are helping Louisiana to shelter more than 29,000 citizens at 107 shelters. Texas has offered to shelter several thousand patients, Oklahoma has agreed to accept 4,000 general evacuees, and 150 medical patients from southwest Louisiana hospitals are expected to arrive at the Oklahoma Air National Guard Base at WillRogersAirport in Oklahoma City today.

 

More than 25,000 citizens are currently sheltered in Louisiana in 120 Red Cross shelters. Four state-run Critical Transportation Needs Shelters are full (10,000 capacity), two FEMA/Red Cross Critical Transportation Needs Shelters are full (5,500 capacity), and the five Medical Special Needs Shelters across the state still have several hundred slots remaining (649 patients currently sheltered there). Additionally, Louisiana continues to work with AL, AR, TX, OK, MO, KY, GA, and TN to provide additional shelter space for thousands of residents, as needed. Buses will arrive in Ascension and Lafayette once evacuations are complete for search and rescue operations, and more than 400 buses are still available in New Orleans.

 

The Governor said that 123 general population shelters are open in Louisiana and the local OEPs and Red Cross workers continue to take in those citizens seeking shelter.

 

Governor Jindal said that utility teams including 11,000 utility workers from out of state are staged and standing by to help turn back on utilities after the storm passes, and they will start working on the essential functions of hospitals, fire service, water, and sewer systems. The Governor said that around six to seven hours after landfall the state will start surveillance efforts to identify damaged areas. Additionally, the Governor announced that 96 percent of oil and 82 percent of natural gas in federal waters in the Gulf is currently shut in, in preparation for the storm.

 

Louisiana State Police estimates that 95 percent of the two million people expected to evacuate have done so, accounting for a total of more than 1.9 million people evacuating the coast - the largest evacuation in the history of the state.

 

SEARCH AND RESCUE UPDATE:

 

Governor Jindal said that the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will work alongside the Coast Guard and FEMA and the National Guard during search and rescue operations. SAR operations will be based at three locations, and have determined three other forward-leaning bases, including: West Bank, Abbeville, and Nicholls State University.

 

The Governor said that 300 people with 200 boats plus 500 people with equipment from the federal government and other states will support SAR operations after the storm and for example California is now also supporting SAR operations by sending 100 people with 16 boats. New York and Michigan are also sending additional support units. There are already people staging at Camp Beauregard and there is capacity for 700 people at Lamar Dixon. Additionally, Mississippi has three 100-member search and rescue teams, which may be freed up to help Louisiana's efforts.

 

Governor Jindal closed by encouraging all media and residents to visit www.emergency.louisiana.gov for most updated information on storm.

Edited by Luke_Wilbur
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Important phone numbers and information:

 

* Public Information Line: 866-519-MEMA.

* Media Information Line: 866-920-MEMA.

* MDOT: 866-521-MDOT (6368).

* Volunteer information: 1-866-472-8265.

* Safe and Well: click here

* Hurricane Preparedness Number: 1-866-458-4948

* Mississippi Department of Health: http://www.HealthMs.com.

* Hotel accomodations are extremely limited in both Jackson and Memphis.

 

Shelters for Gustav evacuees:

 

Call 211, or 1-866-472-8265 or,

 

Red Cross: 1-800-RED-CROSS (733-2767), or click here

 

Alabama Emergency Hotline for Shelters: 1-800-206-0816.

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More than 40 shelters are open throughout Mississippi

PEARL – As of 6 p.m. more than 3,400 Hurricane Gustav evacuees were listed in shelters throughout Mississippi. There are 42 shelters open in the state at this time. The list of open shelters will be updated regularly by MEMA. Call the following numbers for the most recent information: 1-866-519- MEMA, 1-800-Red-Cross, 2-1-1 or 1-866-472-8265. Currently, shelters in Mississippi can accommodate up to 192,143 evacuees. People who plan to stay at a shelter should bring the following:  Clothes for three to five days Medications Blanket, pillow Personal hygiene items Identification Accommodations for children (personal items, entertainment, toys)

For more information call MEMA’s Public Information Line at 866-519-MEMA or the Media line at 866-920-MEMA or visit http://www.msema.org.

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Governor Riley Orders Evacuations for Parts of Mobile and Baldwin Counties

 

CLANTON - At the request of local emergency management officials, Governor Bob Riley on Sunday ordered the mandatory evacuation of residents of low lying and flood prone areas of southern Mobile County and Baldwin County due to the threat posed by Hurricane Gustav.

 

The evacuation order, which went into effect at 7 a.m. Sunday, applies to all residents of Mobile County in Hurricane Evacuation Zone 1, which is south of Interstate 10 and includes areas such as Fowl River, Coden and Bayou La Batre, and all Baldwin County residents on Fort Morgan Peninsula, Plash Island, and areas south of Fort Morgan Road in the city of Gulf Shores.

 

“I’ve discussed this with local officials and we’re in agreement this evacuation is necessary to protect the lives of these residents,” said Governor Riley. The current track of Hurricane Gustav indicates the primary threat posed to Alabamians is going to be flooding in these areas.”

 

The 3,000 Alabama National Guard troops the Governor activated earlier remain on alert, and the Alabama Department of Transportation continues to have staff propositioned along Interstate 65 and are ready to reverse lanes if and when that becomes necessary. Alabama State Troopers also remain deployed to assist the flow of evacuation.

 

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MONTGOMERY-Governor Bob Riley today declared an official state of emergency due to the imminent threat posed by Hurricane Gustav. The emergency declaration enables the Governor to invoke various emergency preparedness measures.

 

“The tracking of Hurricane Gustav indicates that Alabama is at risk to sustain damage from high winds, heavy rains, and possible tornadoes,” said Governor Riley. “I am again urging everyone to take the necessary precautions to ensure your and your family’s safety. Because of the high possibilities of damage, it is extremely important to have a declaration in place.”

 

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency has been directed to make appropriate assessments of damages and seek the necessary state and federal assistance for the affected areas, if necessary.

 

Governor Riley has already put 3,000 Alabama National Guardsmen on alert, and the Departments of Transportation and Public Safety are also preparing to re-route traffic on I-65, should it become necessary.

 

The Governor is keeping in close contact with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, as well as local emergency management officials.

 

The declaration also allows the Governor to invoke Alabama’s price gouging law, which applies during times of a state of emergency issued by the Governor.

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USTIN - Gov. Rick Perry has ordered additional state resources to support evacuation efforts from the southeast Texas coast and Louisiana prior to the landfall of Hurricane Gustav. According to the National Weather Service, Gustav is currently a Category 3 hurricane with winds at 120 mph and potentially strengthen before making landfall on the Gulf Coast.

 

"I urge Texas residents to heed the warnings from local leaders to keep their families and themselves safe as this hurricane heads toward the Gulf Coast," Governor Perry said. "Texas has pre-deployed substantial resources and stands ready to respond to either a direct hit or serious flooding as a result of Hurricane Gustav. We will continue to work with our local leaders, federal partners and neighbors in Louisiana throughout this storm."

 

Today, Gov. Perry joined President George W. Bush, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on a video teleconfercence to discuss preparations for Hurricane Gustav.

 

A tropical storm warning and hurricane watch remains in effect from west of Cameron, La., to just east of High Island, Texas. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours. A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 36 hours.

 

The state of Texas assisted local leaders and emergency responders in successfully evacuating and sheltering nearly 10,000 special-needs Texans from Chambers, Orange and Jefferson counties. Hardin, Jefferson and Orange counties have issued mandatory evacuations, which include the cities of Beaumont and Port Arthur.

 

Following the mandatory evacuation of the city of New Orleans beginning at 8:00 a.m. this morning, Texas state resources began mobilizing aerial resources and personnel to support the evacuation of an estimated 1,000 medical special needs evacuees from Louisiana to Texas.

 

Currently, 27 buses transporting Louisiana residents who cannot evacuate themselves are en route to shelters in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. Texas is also preparing for an estimated 45,000 general population evacuees to Texas from Louisiana.

 

The Emergency Management Council and State Operations Center are fully activated. The State Operations Center is closely monitoring Tropical Storm Gustav and holding twice daily conference calls with federal, state and local officials, private industry partners, volunteer organizations and the National Weather Service.

 

To date, Texas has taken the following actions:

 

Texas Military Forces: Up to 7,500 guardsmen, 15 aerial resources, and six C-130 aircraft have been activated, some of which have begun deploying to transport medical special needs evacuees from New Orleans to Austin today.

 

Texas Engineering Extension Service: Texas Task Force 1 and Texas Task Force 2 are preparing assets and will be mobilized today to provide search and rescue capabilities as needed. A team of 40 members of Texas Task Force 1 are deploying to Louisiana today to assist evacuation efforts.

 

Department of Public Safety: Commercial Vehicle Enforcement troopers have inspected buses that are being used for evacuations.

 

Texas Department of State Health Services: The agency is providing oxygen tanks at each of the temporary fueling stations in East Texas for evacuees. A respiratory therapist is at each of the stations. DSHS is providing health-related evacuation suggestions on its website (www.dshs.state.tx.us)

 

Health and Human Services Commission: The state's 2-1-1 information and referral network has responded to thousands of calls for information about shelter locations and evacuation routes.

 

Department of Family and Protective Services: The agency has provided information to foster parents in the evacuation areas and activated a hotline, 800-252-5400, where caregivers can report their new locations once they reach a safe area.

 

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs: Hurricane housing resources for communities are on the agency's website (www.tdhca.state.tx.us). TDHCA is reminding all affordable housing rental owners statewide to keep their apartment vacancy information current as they supply information to TDHCA. TDHCA will contact community action agencies in the projected path of the storm and advise them that they may be called upon to serve additional persons based on the events transpiring.

 

Texas Department of Criminal Justice: The TDCJ LeBlanc Unit in Beaumont completed the evacuation of 1,100 inmates to units in Huntsville and Livingston. TDCJ Gist State Jail in Beaumont also completed the evacuation of 2,080 inmates to units in the Palestine and Huntsville areas.

 

Texas Department of Agriculture: The agency has identified commodities that are available for distribution, and is coordinating with the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross.

 

Texas Animal Health Commission: TAHC is coordinating with its member agencies and other animal care agencies to shelter animals.

 

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality: TCEQ is authorizing fuel waivers as necessary and is prepared to respond to impacts from Hurricane Gustav. A strike team capable of handling hazardous materials is on standby. TCEQ is working with local agencies to be prepared to address any environmental impact issues that may result from Gustav.

 

Texas Public Utility Commission: The Public Utility Commission is prepared to coordinate a significant response into potential affected areas in order to restore power in a timely and effective manner.

 

Texas Education Agency: School districts in the interior part of the state are making preparations to open as shelters, if needed. The TEA webpage, www.tea.state.tx.us/gustav/, is providing school officials with the latest school-related hurricane information.

 

Texas Department of Information Resources: A DIR Texas Computer Security Incident Response Team remains on standby.

 

Texas Department of Insurance: TDI continues to monitor Hurricane Gustav and remain in contact with its insurance stakeholder group, the Texas State Disaster Coalition. TDI is also encouraging Texas consumers to prepare for the storm and offering insurance tips (www.tdi.state.tx.us). TDI has contacted the Louisiana Department of Insurance to begin coordinating assistance to Louisiana insurance consumers who may be heading to Texas.

 

Texas Department of Transportation: Previously planned lane closures for I-10 in the Houston area have been cancelled through Monday, Sept. 1. All previously planned lane closures in the Houston and Beaumont area are currently suspended. Major construction on U.S. 59 entering the city of Lufkin from Houston has been suspended. Dynamic message signs are being used to urge residents along the coast to fuel up their vehicles. TxDOT personnel are also sweeping roadside shoulders and patching pavement along potential evacuation routes.

 

Fuel Team: The Fuel Team has ensured the availably of fuel in the evacuation areas and potential impact areas of Gustav.

 

Volunteer organizations throughout Texas are working with local officials to shelter evacuees from Texas and Louisiana.

 

For more information on hurricane preparedness and Hurricane Gustav please visit www.governor.state.tx.us

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The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is working with numerous federal agencies and voluntary organizations to support state and local authorities in their early response to Hurricane Gustav. President Bush has issued pre-landfall Emergency Disaster Declarations for Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi which enables federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts

 

The initial focus is on helping to coordinate evacuations and preparing for the response in the immediate aftermath of the storm. To date, shelters have opened in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. The 69 open shelters have the capacity to house 30,836 evacuees, though currently there are only 2,343 occupants.

 

In an example of interagency coordination: the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Department of the Treasury delivered Railroad Retirement, Office of Personnel Management, Veteran’s Administration, Social Security Administration (SSA) checks on Friday and Saturday across the Gulf Coast region. SSA will issue an on-the-spot replacement check at relocation centers for individuals who may have evacuated prior to the weekend.

 

While the primary focus is on the preparations and response to Hurricane Gustav, FEMA also has an interagency planning team working with states on the Atlantic coast to prepare for Tropical Storm Hanna, which could impact Southeastern or Gulf Coast states later in the week. FEMA encourages all residents in the region not in the areas immediately being evacuated to make final personal preparations to be able to meet their basic needs for 72-hours after landfall. Information is available at www.Ready.gov on how families and individuals can best prepare before the storm.

 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

 

* FEMA has the lead in coordinating the plans and preparatory activities numerous federal agencies are taking. FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center and Regional Response Coordination Centers in Atlanta, Ga., and Denton, Texas, are operating around the clock, coordinating the prepositioning of assets and responding to state requests for assistance.

 

DHS/FEMA continued

 

* FEMA’s emergency teams and resources are being deployed and configured for coordinated response. FEMA has pre-staged life-saving and life-sustaining commodities such water, meals, and tarps in various strategic locations to be made available to residents of affected areas (see attached slide with the most current data), including millions of meals and bottles of water, nearly 500 emergency generators, and hundreds of thousands of tarps, blankets and cots.

 

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)

 

* USCG units within the projected landfall are taking actions to ensure personnel are ready to evacuate in time to avoid the storm, while simultaneously relocating personnel to continuity of operations locations to maintain situational awareness, command and control, and to ensure a seamless transition from preparedness to response operations.

* The maritime community and boating public are strongly urged to track Gustav’s progress and take early action to protect themselves and their vessels. Extremely high seas, heavy rains and damaging winds that accompany tropical storms and hurricanes present serious dangers to mariners.

 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

 

* ICE's top priorities in any emergency are life-saving and life-sustaining activities, preventing the loss of property to the extent possible, and assisting with a speedy recovery of the affected region

* There are no immigration enforcement operations, and there are no immigration enforcement checkpoints associated with the evacuations.

 

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

 

* CBP is providing 20 law enforcement personnel to conduct and help protect Search & Rescue efforts as well as to help with evacuation and contra-flow traffic issues.

* CBP will provide aircraft reconnaissance and imagery to improve situational awareness.

 

Department of Defense (DOD)

U.S. National Guard Bureau (NGB)

 

* Approximately 7,000 National Guard members have been called up and are working with civil authorities in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to assist displaced citizens and to prepare for hurricane landfall.

* Nearly 400,000 National Guard Citizen-Soldiers and –Airmen, including nearly 110,000 in the Gulf Coast region, are trained and equipped to help save lives and ease suffering.

* The Texas National Guard is sending 10 rotary wing and six C-130 aircraft to Louisiana to extract nearly 1,000 special-needs people from the New Orleans area.

 

U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM)

 

* NORTHCOM, working with U.S. Transportation Command, has provided contracted airlift and begun to move up to 16,000 general population passengers and cargo. The airlift is moving passengers from New Orleans to Nashville, Tenn.; San Antonio, Texas; Louisville, Ky.; and Ft. Smith, Ark.

* Department of Defense aeromedical evacuation capabilities have begun for evacuations for up to 1,000 patients for Louisiana and up to 500 patients for Texas.

* Department of Defense medium and heavy lift rotary wing aircraft are conducting movement of personnel and supplies in support of disaster operations.

 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

 

* USACE has alerted and begun deploying to the Gulf Coast both local and regional teams from across the nation to assist in debris removal, commodities procurement and delivery, temporary emergency power, temporary housing, temporary roofing, infrastructure assessment, and support to urban search and rescue missions.

 

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

 

* DOT deployed team of transportation experts to assist states with their evacuation procedures and produce bus and rail car safety inspections as needed.

* Air traffic control is working to support air evacuations, with standby mobile air traffic control equipment on standby in Houston to serve as back ups in case storm damages equipment.

 

U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury)

 

* Treasury is working to expedite check and direct deposit payments in the affected areas for certain federal benefits that are scheduled for regular delivery in the first week of the month.

* Treasury, through the Federal Reserve, has requested that financial institutions in the Gulf Coast states honor the paper checks and consider making Direct Deposit payments available.

 

U.S. Postal Service (USPS)

 

* USPS is working closely with various federal agencies to support state and local authorities with their evacuation efforts.

* USPS delivered Railroad Retirement, Office of Personnel Management, Veteran’s Administration, Social Security Administration checks Friday & Saturday for the Gulf Coast areas from Tallahassee Florida to McAllen Texas.

* On Friday August 29, and Saturday August 30, monthly benefit checks for customers in potential Hurricane impacted areas were processed and delivered. Nearly 400,000 people in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have received their Social Security checks rather than on September 3rd, the regularly scheduled payment day.

* USPS has procedures in place to help customers reestablish connection with their lives through the mail. Customers are encouraged to file change of address cards as soon as they have relocated. Filing can be done in three ways: on-line, at www.usps.com; in person at any post office, station or branch; or by phone at 1-800 ASK USPS (1-800-275-8777).

* USPS is working closely with the Social Security Administration and other agencies to continue disbursing checks that have not been received. Customers are encouraged to go to the Social Security website, www.ssa.gov and click on the Hurricane Gustav link for more information.

 

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

 

* DOE has activated its Strategic Petroleum Reserve Emergency Operations Center for 24-hour operations in Monroe, Louisiana. It will coordinate any distribution from the Reserve.

* DOE has 15 responders deployed to the FEMA National and Regions Response Coordination Centers. Staff are also deployed to Pennsylvania in preparation for Tropical Storm Hanna.

 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

 

* NOAA’s National Hurricane Center is continuing to monitor the track and intensity of Hurricane Gustav. The center will issue watches and warnings to affected areas as needed.

* NOAA aircraft are flying missions into Hurricane Gustav providing data on the storm for research and operational forecasts. NOAA’s geostationary and polar orbiting satellites are also providing valuable data to hurricane forecasters.

* NOAA post-landfall functions such as navigation response teams, hazardous materials incident scientific support are being staged and prepared for deployment.

 

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

 

* USDA responded to a state request and funded the purchase of infant formula and baby food that will be delivered on Aug. 31 to the two large shelters set up in Alexandria and Shreveport.

* The State of Louisiana requested a waiver for early issuance of food stamp benefits which USDA approved on Aug. 30.

 

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

 

* More than 600 SBA disaster personnel are standing by to deploy into the disaster impact area. An additional 500 disaster reservists are prepared to staff the agency's Disaster Loan Processing and Disbursement Center in Ft. Worth, Texas, and the Disaster Customer Service Center in Buffalo, NY

* The SBA coordinates with federal and state emergency management agencies in the initial post-disaster damage assessment, and works with federal and state partners to provide information about disaster recovery assistance in the form of low-interest loans for homeowners, renters, non-profit organizations and businesses of all sizes. The majority of disaster loans approved by the SBA--about 80%--go to homeowners and renters.

 

Department of Justice (DOJ)

 

* DOJ and federal law enforcement agencies are carefully monitoring the path of Hurricane Gustav and making appropriate preparations in order to respond to the storms landfall.

* Federal Law Enforcement Agencies are setting up command posts and positioning appropriate response teams. Currently, 2,700 interagency personnel from federal law enforcement agencies have been placed on standby. These resources consist of uniformed officers with marked vehicles, criminal investigators, and tactical teams from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshal Service, and Customs and Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, FPC, Drug Enforcement Agency, Office of Personnel Management’s Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Forest Service, Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General, and U.S. Mint Police.

 

U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI)

 

* DOI’s U.S. Geological Survey is deploying temporary storm surge sensors in New Orleans, La.

* DOI has deployed 30 Search & Rescue boat units from the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

* DOI’s Minerals Management Service has activated its "Continuity of Operations Plan" team to monitor activities of Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas operators

 

American Red Cross (ARC)

 

* This is the largest Red Cross relief effort since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Red Cross has stood up relief operations in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. ARC’s first priority during this disaster is to provide people with food, shelter and emotional support. As people leave their homes, ARC staff are on the receiving end to provide shelter and to make them as comfortable as possible in our shelters.

* ARC is prepared to shelter more than 150,000 people in the four affected states, as well as those states that have agreed to host evacuees. Together, with its partners, ARC has the capacity to provide nearly 650,000 meals per day post-landfall.

* ARC is reaching out to underserved communities with partner groups, including: the NAACP, the National Immigration Law Center, the Southern Baptist Convention and Catholic Charities.

 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

 

* In response to a possible activation for oil and hazardous materials response, EPA’s Regional Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been brought to a heightened state of alert. EPA has personnel at the FEMA Regional Response and Coordination Center in Atlanta and is providing staff to the Mississippi EOC and the Alabama EOC.

* EPA regional water program offices are coordinating with states in preparation for potential support should the storm impact the water sector and overwhelm local and state capabilities.

 

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

 

* NRC dispatched additional staff to nuclear power plants in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. One plant, Waterford about 20 miles west of New Orleans, planned to shut down late Sunday as the storm approached.

* NRC requires plants to shut down if winds hit hurricane strength. They may not restart without permission from the NRC and assurance from FEMA that evacuation routes are open.

 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

 

* HHS agencies continue to work closely with federal, states and local agencies to coordinate the public health and medical response.

* HHS has activated the National Disaster Medical System, a federally coordinated operation that can assist state and local officials in dealing with major disasters. HHS also is working with FEMA and the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to provide air evacuation of 500 medical patients in Texas and an estimated 500 by air from Louisiana.

* HHS has placed Federal Medical Stations, each with a 250-bed capacity, in Texas and Louisiana to provide low-critical care to residents during the emergency. HHS has caches of medical supplies in place in the Gulf region, with additional caches ready to deploy.

* Teams from HHS human services agencies will work with special needs populations. For instance, the Administration on Aging has been facilitating discussions with directors of state agencies that aid the aging, to help coordinate preparation to ensure the needs of the elderly are met. Liaisons from the Indian Health Service are working with state officials and tribes to ensure state requests for assistance are met.

 

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. For more information on FEMA activities visit www.FEMA.gov and for more information on personal preparedness see www.Ready.gov.

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Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

 

* Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

* Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

* Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both

* Flashlight and extra batteries

* First aid kit

* Whistle to signal for help

* Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

* Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

* Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

* Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)

* Local maps

 

http://www.washdc.com/emergency-supply-kit

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New Orleans Mayor Announces Mandatory Evacuation

 

Mayor C. Ray Nagin has announced a mandatory evacuation for the City of New Orleans beginning Sunday. Mayor Nagin called for a mandatory evacuation on the West Bank of New Orleans beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday. The mandatory evacuation is set to begin at noon on the East Bank.

 

The Mayor said Hurricane Gustav is likely to be larger and stronger than Hurricane Katrina.

 

The City Assisted Evacuation Plan will continue until midnight on Saturday and from 6 a.m. until noon on Sunday to provide transportation for citizens who cannot evacuate on their own.

 

Those who need transportation should go to one of 17 designated pick-up sites. Residents who have special medical needs should call 311 for assistance.

 

Mayor Nagin urged tourists to leave the city immediately.

 

According to Mary Beth Romig of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors’ Bureau said local hotels will heed the evacuation order and close for business. She further urged citizens to depart from the city.

 

Travelers who have airline reservations may board a shuttle at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown New Orleans. Travelers must have proof of a reservation in order to board.

 

The City is paring down its staff to a skeleton crew. Mayor Nagin said he will trim the staff from approximately 200 people to 50 people.

 

The New Orleans Police Department may also have some officers evacuate from the city. Most other city agencies are evacuating their entire staffs.

 

Mayor Nagin urged that the West Bank may be most severely impacted by the hurricane and storm surge. He reiterated that the area’s storm protection system is not adequate to protect the New Orleans area in the face of the anticipated storm.

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Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, are urging residents who will need assistance to evacuate from New Orleans to register for the City Assisted Evacuation Plan.

 

The City estimates that 30,000 people will need evacuation assistance because they do not have vehicles, cannot afford to evacuate on their own, or have special medical needs.

 

Below is key information about the program:

 

 

* Register by calling 311 or (504) 658-2299

* Citizens also may register in the Office of Public Advocacy,

* Citizens will board RTA buses at 17 pickup sites once the CAEP is initiated. Each site has special signage.

* Citizens should identify the closest pick-up site now.

* People who have not registered may still show up at one of the sites.

* ID will not be required in order to board a bus.

* Buses will transport citizens to the Union Passenger Terminal. From there, they will be transported to a shelter outside the New Orleans.

* Bring luggage similar to what would be taken as a carry-on for an airplane - one medium-sized bag and a personal bag, such as a purse or laptop bag.

* Maps are available online at http://www.cityofno.com

 

 

Citizens with special medical needs

 

 

* Residents with special needs are urged to evacuate with a family member or friend if possible.

* Registration is critical for those with special medical needs who may need to be transported by ambulance or who may require other special care.

* Residents with special medical needs who have been pre-identified will be transported from their homes.

* Citizens with special medical needs should plan to bring one attendant with them.

 

 

Pets

 

 

* Citizens may bring their pets

Edited by Luke_Wilbur
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(CNN artical) — Hurricane Gustav could cause $29.3 billion in property damage when the storm hits the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to a federally supported computer projection issued on Sunday.

 

Along with the property damage, business interruption losses are estimated to be $5.1 billion, according to estimates from HAZUS-MH, a software program that crunches numbers calculating potential losses from disasters such as floods, hurricane winds, and earthquakes.

 

The numbers show that nearly 4.5 million people and 1.6 million buildings in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi will be in the path of the storm.

 

About 232,500 buildings, around 14 percent of the buildings in the region, will be moderately damaged and 59,953 structures will be destroyed, the projection says. Most of the buildings are classified as residential.

 

About 28.4 million tons of debris will be generated, and 170 hospitals, 599 fire stations and 568 police stations will be in the path of the storm, the projections said.

 

“Before the hurricane, the region had 25,594 hospital beds available for use. On the day of the

 

hurricane, the model estimates 14,088 hospital beds (only 55.00 percent) are available for use. After one week, 75.00 percent of the beds will be in services. By 30 days, 84.00 percent will be operational,” the report said.

 

The projection estimates 116,700 households will be displaced because of the hurricane and of those 32,901 people “will seek temporary shelter in public shelters.”

 

The numbers reflect the growing strength of the storm, now at Category 3, and there are expectations that New Orleans will be hit hard by the hurricane.

 

Developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute of Building Sciences, the HAZUS-MH estimates are designed to help officials cope with impending disasters. "POLITICAL FOOTBALL" ANYONE?

 

SEE:

http://cnnwire.blogs.cnn.com/2008/08/31/gu...on-in-billions/

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Guest human_*

The lessons of Katrina were learned. No longer will the President of the United States NEED PERMISSION from the Governor FIRST in order to institute needed aid for NATURAL DISASTERS.

 

It's a different ball game this time, and Happy Labor Day Everyone.

 

Everyone keeps on blaming the Republicans for Katrina, but if people BOTHERED TO DO THEIR HOMEWORK? They would have realized all of this.

 

Oh!!! and USA.gov is a good link for this, and other information. :)

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I have family and friends that live in the hurricane area, and my prayers are going out to them

and anyone else in the area for their safety.

 

I think Katrina taught everyone a lesson, and that lesson was that anything can happen in a natural disaster. To follow safety measures, and not delay in evacuating the area.

 

 

 

The lessons of Katrina were learned. No longer will the President of the United States NEED PERMISSION from the Governor FIRST in order to institute needed aid for NATURAL DISASTERS.

 

It's a different ball game this time, and Happy Labor Day Everyone.

 

Everyone keeps on blaming the Republicans for Katrina, but if people BOTHERED TO DO THEIR HOMEWORK? They would have realized all of this.

 

Oh!!! and USA.gov is a good link for this, and other information. :)

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Guest SAND RAT

BELLE CHASSE, La. (September 1, 2008) - At 6:30AM this morning, Monday September 1, 2008- Plaquemines Parish is feeling Tropical Storm Force winds and some Hurricane Force winds.

 

There are no reports of any damage. In Belle Chasse where the Sheriff's Department, Parish Officials and EMS workers are monitoring the storm, there are no reports of any damage due to wind or any flooding.

 

So far, Parish President Billy Nungesser reports the levees are holding. The protective levee built across Highway 23 was completed around 11:30pm last night. The four-foot structure is intended to prevent Belle Chasse from flooding.

 

Pump operators have pumped down and are manning their stations at this hour in the north end of the parish. The operators in the south end were evacuated late last night.

 

Again, Plaquemine Parish is holding up well at this hour. There are no reports of any problems or wind damage.

 

###

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Belle Chasse, LA- The water levels around the Caenarvon Diversion and Scarsdale Levees are falling some and it appears the sandbagging effort is making a difference. Parish President Billy Nungesser says, “We have stopped the bleeding…and I am very encouraged by what we are seeing.” Additionally, permission has been granted by the State to reverse the Caenarvon Diversion Siphon to allow the water to drain into the river which could greatly aid in the effort.

 

“This could not have been accomplished without the incredible support of St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jack Stephens and Parish President Craig Taffaro. They sent manpower and sandbags and were just a huge help. We also are grateful to the parish employees and many volunteers who came out to help…also for all the support and help from Governor Bobby Jindal, Garret Graves with the Governor’s office and Col. Jeff Bedey with the Army Corps of Engineers,” says Nungesser.

 

Crews are continuing the sandbagging efforts. Nungesser says they will not give up and will continue the fight as long as it takes to save the East Bank’s Braithwaite area. So far no homes have flooded.

 

Meantime, there is some overtopping on the Citrus Lands Levees on the westbank…there is work underway to flood fight in that area as well. However, the water is not threatening Highway 23.

 

The water had been rising in the Myrtle Grove area as well and is being monitored very carefully. So far no serious flooding has been reported.

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At some point we need to ask ourselves whether saving New Orleans is worth it. The city lies underneath the water line and our country spends millions and millions to save/rebuild it.

 

How much money was spent after Katrina? And now the city was in danger of being lost again.

 

Is New Orleans really worth saving?

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Guest Jim Garamone

Cooperation among federal, state, local governments and non-governmental agencies has been much better as Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf Coast than it was when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, emergency officials said.

Speaking in Austin, Texas, today, President Bush praised the governors of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, saying “there was clearly a spirit of sharing assets, of listening to somebody's problems and saying, how can we best address them?”

 

Bush said the federal government is very much involved in assisting the states. Gustav stormed ashore in Louisiana this morning. More than 2 million people evacuated their homes in advance of the storm that killed 84 people in the Caribbean.

 

“It's hard for a citizen to pull up stakes and move out of their homes and face the uncertainty that comes when you're not at home,” Bush said.

 

The storm has been downgraded to a category 1 hurricane, but it has spawned tornadoes into Alabama and Mississippi and rain from the storm threatens to flood northern Louisiana and eastern Texas. Bush told evacuees not to go back home before local officials have cleared the area.

 

“This storm is yet to pass,” he said. “It's a serious event.”

 

Officials in the area are beginning to begin the search and rescue phase. There are more than 70 National Guard helicopters in Meridian, Miss., waiting for permission to fly. The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army also have choppers that can be deployed if needed, said Federal Emergency Management Agency officials.

 

In Gulfport, Miss. – an area wiped out by Hurricane Katrina – road crews are already working to clear highways of debris. In New Orleans National Guardsmen and police are patrolling the streets of the nearly deserted city.

 

There are currently more than 12,000 National Guardsmen on state missions in the region. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has requested a further 16,000 National Guard troops for his state, National Guard Bureau officials said. Governors from as far away as New York and New Mexico offered their National Guard soldiers to assist in the Gulf Coast if needed.

 

The Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of flood protection for New Orleans, said the storm surge of about 8 feet overwashed the levees in some areas, but so far have not broken. Television footage showed water lapping over the levee near the Industrial Canal, where a break in 2005 flooded 80 percent of the city. Corps officials said for now pumps can handle the water in the city. Corps officials said the surge had gone down in the Industrial Canal from earlier in the day.

 

But officials were quick to say, the danger has not passed. Tornadoes and torrential rain remain a problem even for inland counties and parishes. FEMA officials urged all those who evacuated to remain un place until they receive an all clear.

 

FEMA officials said they are keeping a watchful eye on Hurricane Hannah. The storm is a category 1 hurricane that could land in the southeastern United States from Florida to North Carolina.

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FBI Warns of Relief Scams Following Gustav

 

 

Recent history, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ivan; the tsunamis in Asia; and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, has shown that some criminals seek to profit from disaster by means of fraud. The FBI asks that individuals beware of e-mails claiming to seek donations for Hurricane Gustav relief efforts. The FBI will be checking for fraudulent websites and e-mails and will thoroughly investigate all complaints.

 

Everyone should consider the following:

 

Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.

Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials soliciting via e-mail for donations.

Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.

Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.

To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly to recognized organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.

Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the recognized charity or aid organization's website rather than following an alleged link to the site.

Attempt to verify the legitimacy of the non-profit status of the organization by using various Internet-based resources, which also may assist in confirming the actual existence of the organization.

Do not provide personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: providing such information may compromise your identity and expose you to identity theft.

“People that want to donate to the victims should do so, but should make sure the donation goes to a legitimate charity. We cannot allow the kindness of Americans to be exploited in times of crisis,” said Special Agent Richard Kolko, Chief, National Press Office. “We want to help ensure that the money and support so generously offered reaches the intended recipients—the victims of Hurricane Gustav—and that people who donate do not themselves become victims.”

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