FEMA coordinating Federal response to Midwest storms


To date, federal representatives from the affected regions and across the nation have responded to deliver immediate aid and coordination efforts under the combined federal response led by FEMA. The American Red Cross is also deploying disaster assessment teams to flooded areas.

Specifically, efforts undertaken include:

In Iowa, FEMA and partners are providing for more than 4,000 evacuees in the Cedar Rapids area. The American Red Cross (ARC) opened 10 shelters which served 461 residents last night. More than 6,000 meals have been served, with more than 115,000 meals on-hand. FEMA has provided six truckloads of water, has 20 truckloads on-hand and an additional 10 en route to affected areas. Altogether, more than 738,000 liters will be delivered. Three trucks of meals (MREs) are also on the way to supplement current supplies. Through contracts with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), FEMA can provide additional water and meals as necessary. FEMA has 20 teams standing by to conduct Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs). FEMA is coordinating the efforts of a housing assistance task force to review emergency housing needs and available housing alternatives.

In Indiana, FEMA continues to coordinate the federal response to earlier flooding. The federal disaster declaration for Indiana has been amended to extend the incident period for damages to May 30 and expanded to include assistance for individuals and households in additional affected communities. The first Mobile Disaster Recovery Center opened this morning and residents are encouraged to register for assistance. FEMA is delivering over 100,000 liters of water to support the towns of Linton and Vincennes. Three USACE flood fighting teams are actively engaged in assessing levee/dam conditions. The ARC also continues to provide shelter, meals and snacks to the displaced populations in the state.

In Wisconsin, PDA’s are already underway. The state is also under a flood watch and additional flooding is possible. National Guard engineers continue to provide engineering expertise to other officials through aerial and ground assessments. The Guard completed delivery of 20,000 sandbags to Dodge County, and delivered 10,000 sandbags to Mukwonago.

In Kansas, Rapid Needs Assessments are underway or completed in communities hit by tornadoes in recent days. Most response activities are being conducted at the local and state level, though federal resources have been prepositioned to meet any request for assistance.

In Illinois, planning is being conducted in anticipation of flooding that may occur along the Mississippi River as waters from states already impacted flow through the state.

In Minnesota, PDA’s are underway in conjunction with state and local authorities following earlier flooding.

Federal agencies have responded in a coordinated fashion:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with state and local authorities to coordinate flood-fighting activities in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, as well as Kansas, and Minnesota. A total of 1,816,700 sandbags and 82 pumps have been issued to support state requests for assistance. Currently, there are 151 employees are directly involved with flood fight efforts. The Corps is providing technical assistance for dam inspections, debris, and housing. In addition, the Corps is working with local and state officials in Iowa to provide temporary power to critical public facilities and to plan for commodity ordering, delivery and distribution. The Corps is monitoring river conditions in the affected area. Currently, seven locks and dams along the Upper Mississippi River have closed or will close in the near future, severely affecting navigation. With many rivers not expected to crest until tomorrow or later, the Corps anticipates more levee and dam over toppings and breaches.

The Department of Defense’s U.S. Northern Command has deployed a Defense Coordinating Officer and a Defense Coordinating Element to assess the impact of the flood conditions and to identify assets that could be used in mitigating the effects of that flooding. The Department of Defense anticipates additional support based on current and future weather predications, and is standing by to assist in local and state response efforts.

The American Red Cross is sheltering and feeding those impacted by the recent severe weather. The ARC has deployed 58 emergency response vehicles to support these activities. Through the „Safe and Well” Web site, accessible through RedCross.org, the Red Cross provides an easy way to assist people in locating loved ones who evacuate their homes or communities.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is surveying the interstate highways, bridges and other roads impacted by the storms. Five rail bridges have been identified as being damaged and one airport closed in Wisconsin due to flooding. A section of interstate highway between Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul is currently closed. Rail service may also be affected.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is providing forecast information and reviews and comparisons involving previous storms. NOAA aircraft, satellites and survey vessels on the great lakes are also supporting these activities. NOAA has personnel on the ground in key state locations to provide immediate forecast information and to support local actions.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has deployed seven Regional Emergency Coordinators to support initial and ongoing health needs assessments. The National Disaster Medical System Office has pre-identified teams that are on stand-by to deploy if the states request assistance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided approximately 10,000 does of tetanus vaccine to the Indiana. The CDC’s Emergency Communication System has reached out to senior public affairs and communication specialists in affected areas to provide a list of key public health information and messages related to floods and power outages.

The U.S. Coast Guard is using equipment to monitor flood levels. Of note, they are installing streamgages in the Cedar Rapids area in order to track water levels along the river.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has sent staff to the Duane Arnold nuclear power plant in Iowa and to the Kansas State University research reactor to ensure both facilities respond properly to the effects of recent storms and flooding.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a consumer alert to the affected region on keeping food safe during an emergency and issued a notice to field offices yesterday extending crop reporting dates and other extensions due in part to the Midwest flooding.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is staging resources and personnel and making full preparations for cleanup when the flooding abates. EPA will then work with its federal, state and local partners to ensure household and hazardous waste cleanup and assessment of possible impacts on drinking water and sewage treatment facilities.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is assisting state and local agencies in the performance of law enforcement functions within the affected areas. The FBI is also coordinating with the command post set up by the state and local agencies in terms of where they need assistance.

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.