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FEMA Message

 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Private Sector Advisory
FEMA-Private-Sector@fema.dhs.gov

 

Private Sector Advisory

 UNIFIED Response to Hurricane Harvey CONTINUES

 

September 2, 2017

The federal government continues to focus on the lives and safety of those affected by Hurricane Harvey in the states of Texas and Louisiana. While the integrated response continues, FEMA, along with and its federal, state, local, and tribal partners, are now directing efforts towards the longer-term recovery process.

Bottom Line Up Front

First responders, federal teams and voluntary agencies are working tirelessly to help those in need through search and rescue, staffing emergency shelters, providing meals and offering comfort.  Registering online, at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance since the event will last several days and the full scope of damages may not be evident until the storm has passed. If you are unable to access the internet, you can also call at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). 

In order to ensure that survivors are connected with resources and information on Hurricane Harvey, FEMA created the following resources:

Resources for People with Access & Functional Needs

FEMA has received more than 481,000 registrations for assistance. More $105.6 million in assistance. Of that amount, $28.7 million is approved for housing assistance i.e. rental assistance, and $76.9 million is approved for other needs assistance, which would include financial support to replace personal property, transportation, and disaster related medical and dental needs.

Registering online is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance since the event will last several days and the full scope of damages may not be evident until the storm has passed. If you do not have access to the internet you may register by calling 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). If you use 711 relay or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362 directly. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

To file a flood insurance claim under the National Flood Insurance Program, contact your insurance agent immediately. You can also call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) – select option 2 – to learn more about your policy, and be directed to the appropriate claims resource.

  • As of September 1, 2017, over 63,000 claims have been submitted in Texas.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has received 2,118 disaster loan applications primarily for homes. The SBA has fielded 5,221 calls and completed 451 property damage inspections.

More than 260 state, local, and community shelters are open across the affected and surrounding areas and as of this morning more than 32,000 disaster survivors are currently in shelters. Download the FEMA mobile app (available in English and Spanish) for registration information, directions to open shelters, a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.

Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) has been approved in Texas for eligible disaster survivors who have a continuing need for shelter because they are unable to return to their homes for an extended period of time. To be eligible for TSA, you must be registered for FEMA disaster assistance.  As of this morning, more than 7,900 survivors have checked in to hotels and motels through the TSA program.  Hotels interested in participating in the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program may visit Corporate Lodging Consultants (CLC) website at https://ela.corplodging.com/.  The website provides details on the activation of TSA for Hurricane Harvey, as well as a mechanism to enroll in the program for a lodging provider interested in participating.

This initiative is intended to provide short-term lodging for eligible disaster survivors whose communities are either uninhabitable or inaccessible due to disaster-related damage. FEMA will contact you if you are eligible for the program. A listing of available properties under this program can be found at DisasterAssistance.gov.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits are available to those whose jobs were affected by Tropical Storm Harvey in Texas, specifically those who live or work in the counties included in the major disaster declaration. This may include people not normally eligible for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed persons and farm-workers.

FEMA established Incident Support Bases (ISB) near Seguin, Texas, Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana to ensure supplies including water, meals, blankets and other resources are closer to affected areas and are available for distribution to state, tribal, and local officials. State, local, and tribal officials are responsible for distributing supplies to the community.

  • As of this morning, the following commodities have been provided to the states at their request:

·        Texas:'

o   More than 4 million meals

o   More than 4 million liters of water

o   More than 13,900 blankets

o   More than 13,400 cots

·        Louisiana:

o   More than 416,000 meals

o   More than 414,000 liters of water

 More than 9 million meals, 11 million liters of water, 127,000 blankets, and 37,000 cots, remain available at ISBs for transfer to the states of Texas and Louisiana should they be needed and requested. Additional commodities are in route to the ISBs.

Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSATs) are in the field registering survivors. DSATs will address immediate and emerging needs of disaster survivors including: on-site registration, applicant status checks, on-the-spot needs assessments, requests for disability related accommodations and access to partners offering survivor services.

A Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) opened yesterday at Edna High School Football Stadium in Edna, Texas. DRCs will continue to open in locations identified by the state of Texas to provide information to survivors. Visit the DRC Locator to find locations of open Disaster Recovery Centers in your area.

Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) personnel and equipment are on the ground in Texas and Louisiana to support the states with secure and non-secure voice, video and information services for emergency response communications needs. The following teams and assets are on the ground in Texas, with additional teams deploying:

  • 27 Mobile Emergency Response Support team
  • 25 mobile communication office vehicles and 31 operators in support of US&R, IMAT, ISB, and survivor assistance.

Overall, more than 3,900 FEMA employees and more than 30,000 total federal staff are working in support of Tropical Storm Harvey response.

FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams are in place in Houston and the Texas and Louisiana state emergency operations centers in Austin, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to support requests for federal assistance. Additional teams continue to deploy as the response continues.

FEMA’s National Business Emergency Operations Center and the Department of Homeland Security National Protection and Program Directorate have been working with over 350 companies from critical infrastructure and other industry partners to coordinate situational awareness related to infrastructure restoration, donations, operations, and facilitating access to the disaster area impacted. These efforts are conducted in coordination with state of Texas law enforcement.

The compassion of the American people is already evident in their response to the destruction the storm has caused. People can help by visiting the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) website at nvoad.org to donate or volunteer with the voluntary or charitable organization of their choice, many of which are already in south Texas and Louisiana supporting survivors, even as the rain and wind continue.

Search and Rescue

Federal, state, and local search and rescue teams are operating 24/7 to reach those stranded in flooded areas. Integrated search and rescue operations by federal, state, and local teams are engaged and aligning the right skills with the search and rescue needs as they are identified.

FEMA US&R teams have rescued more than 5,985 survivors and 206 pets. FEMA has more than 1,100 Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) personnel working to save lives in south Texas. 

United States Coast Guard (USCG) continues to work with federal, state and local responders on active search and rescue in flood-impacted areas of Texas and Louisiana. USCG has rescued more than 10,900 survivors. Additional surge boat resources are deployed to Texas from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Department of the Interior (DOI).

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is asking that drone operators -- both hobbyists and commercial operators-- remain clear of search-and rescue efforts. Drones pose a potential danger to low-flying helicopters and their crews and can hinder the efforts of those who are trying to save lives. Operators should check their Notices to Airmen because the FAA issue Temporary Flight Restrictions at any time as conditions change.

Road to Recovery

A Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator (FDRC) will be named today for Hurricane Harvey. The FDRC is supported by a number of federal agencies who, together, will support interim disaster needs as the community develops its long term recovery strategy. The FDRC and partners work to support hard-hit communities gain easier access to federal funding, bridge gaps in assistance, and establish goals for recovery that are measurable, achievable, and affordable.

If you evacuated and have not yet returned to your home, call your insurance company to file a claim.

The National Flood Insurance Program is authorizing advance payments of NFIP claims to expedite recovery.

·        If you have NFIP flood insurance and suffered damage during the recent floods related to Hurricane Harvey, you may be eligible to receive up to $5,000 for building and contents damages prior to the adjuster’s inspection with an advance payment request agreement signed by you. 

·        If you have photos and receipts which validate your out-of-pocket expense, you may receive an advance payment up to $10,000.

·        If the flood insurance adjuster has inspected your loss, you have significant damage, and a copy of your contractor’s estimate, you may receive a larger advance payment based on the estimated covered loss.

While immediate lifesaving and life sustaining operations are the priority for FEMA and our partners, residents and business owners in designated counties who sustained disaster related damage due to Tropical Storm Harvey, and are able to do so, can apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

You may wait to register for FEMA assistance until you know whether your home is damaged. You have 60 days after a declaration to register for FEMA disaster assistance.

When you register, you will also receive information on other resources in your area, including available services from other federal agencies. For example, low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration may be available to help repair flood-related damage to your home or business, and to replace personal property.

It is common to move around after you’ve been displaced from your home. Your address may change, as well as your phone number if you lose or damage your phone. If your contact information changes, just call us and let us know. This helps FEMA help you faster.

Expedited rental assistance has been approved in Texas for eligible disaster survivors. Due to the size of the disaster, FEMA is using coastal depth and riverine flooding data to identify damaged homes, so survivors can get funds quickly and begin making decisions regarding their temporary housing solutions.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has deployed housing specialists to Texas and is planning to deploy up to 100 additional personnel. HUD teams are currently evaluating damaged subsidized housing in the affected areas, and are developing comprehensive vacancy lists that will assist with relocating some shelter residents. HUD has several programs that may be of assistance following a disaster.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits are available to those whose jobs were affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, specifically those who live or work in the counties included in the major disaster declaration. This may include people not normally eligible for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed persons and farm-workers.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) has activated its Disaster Distress helpline. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746) to survivors who are experiencing emotional distress.

The U.S. Department of Education has activated its emergency response contact center in response to the devastating impacts of Hurricane Harvey.  The Department’s K-12 and Higher Education stakeholders who are seeking informational resources should contact the Department toll free at 1-844-348-4082 or by email at HarveyRelief@ed.gov.

On Children To report a missing child, contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-866-908-9570. Anyone who finds an unaccompanied child who may have been separated from their parents or caregivers should contact the local police, or enter basic information and/or a photo into the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's Unaccompanied Minors Registry or call 1-866-908-9570. If your missing child has a disability or access and functional need, please indicate that when talking with the NCMEC.  If you have found an unaccompanied child, please indicate this information in the appropriate field in the Unaccompanied Minors Registry.

This is a difficult time for those who have had to evacuate their homes as well as for those who have been able to return and see the damages to their homes. 

It is important not to overlook how this storm affects the children who live in these areas and who have lost their pets, favorite toys, or other cherished treasures.  They may not fully understand what is going on. 

To help children recover or cope with the situation, here are some helpful tips to make them feel safe again:

·        Limit TV Time: Intense media coverage of disasters can frighten young children and disturb teenagers as well.

·        Keep To A Routine: Help your children feel as if they still have a sense of structure, which can make them feel more at ease or provide a sense of familiarity. When schools and child care open again, help them to return to normal activities including going back to class, sports and play groups.

·        Make Time for Them: Help kids to understand that they are safe and secure by talking, playing and doing other family activities with them. To help younger children feel safe and calm, read a favorite book or have a relaxing family game or activity.

Federal Family Actions

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) opened a Federal Medical Station on August 30 in Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center and at two urgent care sites set up in nearby cities. In addition, HHS has more than 1,000 personnel on the ground in Texas and Louisiana, and medical equipment and supplies for teams to use in supporting medical and public health needs in the affected areas. On August 26, 2017 the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price declared a public health emergency in Texas in response to Hurricane Harvey to provide greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is focused on flood mitigation and reservoir operations, temporary emergency power, debris technical assistance, navigation restoration, and infrastructure assessments.

The Red Cross has launched a massive response to this devastating storm. To support shelters, they delivered supplies for more than 75,000 survivors on hand with an additional 10,000 in route. Nine kitchens are deployed in Texas, four operational now with all being operational by tomorrow. The capacity of each kitchen is 10,000 meals per day.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) Texas Water Science Center deployed storm surge sensors in as many as 20 locations between the San Luis Pass and Corpus Christi. USGS is providing advance support, real-time field measurements, and daily reporting of water heights via deployed storm-tide sensors to help public officials assess storm damage, discern between wind and flood damage, and improve computer models used to forecast future floods.

Safety

Remember, follow instructions from state, local, and tribal officials. Do not return to evacuated areas until told it is safe to do so.

There are historic levels of flooding being caused by this storm. Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous, and almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your vehicle, look out for flooding in low-lying areas, at bridges, and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

If you encounter floodwaters, remember: Turn around, don’t drown.

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Download the FEMA App to locate and get directions to open shelters across the state, and receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States. Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Brock Long's activities at https://twitter.com/fema_brock. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications. FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

 Weather alerts. Safety tips. Recovery center locations. It’s all in the FEMA App. Download it here: http://www.fema.gov/mobile-app.