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tv   FEMA Administrator Holds Briefing on Hurricanes Ian Fiona  CSPAN  September 27, 2022 9:02pm-9:25pm EDT

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campaign 2022, your unfiltered view of politics. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government, we are funded by these television companies and more, including charter communication. >> broadbent is a force for empowerment, that is why charter invested billions, building infrastructure, upgrading technology, empowering opportunity in communities big and small, charter is connecting us. >> charter communications support c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> hurricane ian had been upgraded to a category three storm and advised clifford is not to underestimate their working.
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everybody. as you all know we are closely tracking hurricane ian and the president has mobilized the full force of the united states government to support the people of florida as they prepare for this storm. the fema administrator and i just came out of the oval office where the president also held separate calls with mayor jane castor of tampa, mayor ken of st. petersburg and mayor frank of clearwater. they discussed planning and preparation for hurricane ian, the administrators will give a little more of our conversation in just a moment. the president underscores his command to the people of florida
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and made clear that impacted communities will have the full support of the federal government to augment state and local emergency response efforts. emphasize the importance of courage and emily's to heed evacuation -- encourage families to heed evacuation orders. we will share a little bit of that readout in a moment. she was in miami yesterday to assess the ongoing operations and we appreciate her taking the time to be here today. provide all of you an update on what those efforts like in the latest on the storm. with that, fema administrator? >> thank you, good afternoon everybody. as you just heard i joined the president in his conversation with the three mayors in florida. when he spoke about with them was making sure he understood what their needs work, if you want to hear from them on what
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the potential impacts were going to be. he asked about their progress with a mandatory evacuation orders in place. he want to make sure that the mayors new hue has come the full force of the federal family -- mayors knew he committed the full force of the federal family and they can reach out to us in the aftermath of the storm. a little bit about the storm. as of this morning the national hurricane center upgraded hurricane ian to a category three storm, 125 mile-per-hour winds. it is moving towards western florida at approximately 12 miles per hour. at this time we are expecting landfall somewhere between fort myers and tampa. by the time it reaches the storm -- shores of florida it waltzed -- slow down to five miles per hour. floridians will experience the impacts from the storm for a very long time. i can tell you that our biggest
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concern, as we wait for the storm to make landfall is storm surge. i will note that storm surge is a leading cause of hurricane related fatalities. just in 2018 when hurricane michael impacted the florida panhandle there were five recorded fatalities as a result of the storm surge. if people are told to evacuate by the local officials, please listen to them, the decision you choose to make may mean the difference between life and death. you will not just see storm surge on the western coast of florida. ian hurricaneian --hurricane ian 's will bring storm surge to the daytona and jacksonville area. in addition we will see significant rainfall the possibility up to 25 inches in isolated parts of florida. as always there is a possibility for tornadoes, the main message i have for everyone in florida is that this will impact everyone.
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in different ways, you need to stay focused, i did speak with governor desantis on friday to hear his main concerns and response for the prepare nest actions. we immediately began moving resources and personnel in, his pre-landfall declaration request was signed. the preparations for this storm have been extensive and it has been coordinated, it has been a coordinated effort between ima, federal, state, nonprofit partners. a little bit about some of the forward leaning posture we put in place. search-and-rescue, we know this will be a priority. we have established a search-and-rescue coronation group that will be in miami. that includes members from fema's urban search and rescue
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team, coast guard, department of defense, department of interior, as well as the state of florida. they will coordinate search and s -- search and rescue efforts by land, air, sea. we have pre-staged 120 800 gallons of fuel, moving a variety of generators of all types to help restore power in critical in the structure after the storm passes. the army corps of engineers has staged 300 personnel. we have 3.7 million meals and 3.5 million readers of water staged in alabama. there are multiple volunteer organizations that are prepared to support operations as soon as it is safe to do so. the red cross has established 29 shelters right now for evacuees. they are also prepared to open an additional 60 shelters if needed.
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we have 200 ambulances from our ima can't -- fima contracts working side-by-side local officials we have for federal medical teams on standby. while we are postured and ready to support florida, i want to make clear that fema's ongoing support to puerto rico as well as alaska's recovery is still ongoing. we remain focused on helping puerto rico restore critical services like power and water. our staff remain engaged with family to help them with the application process. i'm happy to say just now the final four municipalities in puerto rico were added for individual assistance, the entire commonwealth has that available to them. our teams in alaska have helped the state complete damage assessments and address emergency repairs as they
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prepare for the near freeze up as winter approaches. as far as he hurricane pat become more defined, it can still be unpredictable -- past has become more defined, it can still be unpredictable. stay diligent -- vigilant. my message to those watching at home, get ready and do not underestimate the potential the storm can bring. know where you're going to get your information. listen to your local officials and heed their advice, they are trying to keep you safe. have a plan to communicate with your family. finally, fema and our partners are here. we are ready. we are focused on meeting the needs of those we are charged to serve. we need the help of everyone at home to be as prepared as they can be. i am confident we have the right team in place as we work this
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emergency sponsor hurricane ian, together we have the capability to meet with other threats come our way. >> a couple of questions. rakeen: -- >> thank you, you briefly mention puerto rico and customers without power in puerto rico. you authorized a new $600 million, i believe for equipment for rebuilding the power grid there. 10 billion approved back in 2020, was the status of the status of efforts to try to rebuild what rico's -- puerto rico's power grid. has any that taken place? >> i was there three weeks ago checking on the recovery from hurricane marina, what i saw when i was there was one cohesive team between the common health of puerto rico and the power restoration.
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when we were there last week checking on the impacts from hurricane fiona, what i saw there is that they were putting power back as quickly as they could. the important piece and what stood out to me, i saw as they repaired the downed power poles they were bring them back more resilient. putting new poles to be more resilient. we continue to work with the governor of puerto rico and his efforts to rebuild this grid in a way that will be more easily for future impacts. >> how you think that will take? >> we have done a lot of work and making sure we have taken the time right now to do the plans, the commonwealth has, do the plans that as they rebuild it will be more resilient. we will get back to you on what the timeframe is. it takes time. recovery is never as fast as anyone wants it to be. we will continue to work and expedite anything we can't to speed up the recovery.
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>> has the administration or will the administration waive the jones act to allow ships to dock in puerto rico to provide provisions? >> we are committed to do everything we can within our legal authority to support the people of puerto rico. we know that the jones act waiver is one of those things. we have a legal obligation to ensure that each waiver request meets the legal requirements of congress. any final determination will be made by the secretary of homeland security. >> what timeframe should they anticipate that decision should be made given the urgent need for that? >> i know that they are actively working on that approval process for their consideration right now, i did not have a timeframe for you right now. >> just a curiosity, you have several mayors down there, whether the mayors said a primary concern was complacency.
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the first question is about complacency, the second, is there a scheduled call for the two men to speak? >> i do have concerns about complacency. we are talking about impacts and a part of florida that has not seen a major direct impact in nearly 100 years. there are parts of florida where there are a lot of new residents that have not experienced this type of threat. my message to them is to take this very seriously, listen to your local officials. those floridians that have been through this before help your neighbors that may have not gone through this. heeding the advice of your local officials is most important. as far as the conversation, the president asked me to contact the governor early on forwarded the declaration. i did that, my regional administrators with the governor right now understanding their needs and we are focused on the current life safety needs to be met. >> can you describe the level of the communications with state officials?
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are there any challenges with that? >> the commune occasion we have had with the state officials has been excellent. my regional admin straighter out of region 4 is in florida and has been there yesterday. she has been embedded with the state emergency management director one of want to understand what their needs are, she is traveling with the governor to a few areas today to understand what those needs, they have a long relationship with orta. -- florida. region for has done a lot of work with the means of polities and the counties and i think the relationship is strong. >> is there anything different about this preparation compared to how fema normally compares -- prepares for hurricanes? the strength of the storm, where will land, that changed how you prepare? >> i will not know if i would say how it changed how we prepare, the administration has given me clear direction that we will lean in and not wait to
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provide assistance. that is what we have done for this one as well as the previous hurricanes last year. we understand that this will have significant impacts, one have the right resources in place ahead of time to respond to be daily when it is safe to do so. >> related to the last question, how has fema adapted its storm planning preparation and procedures to deal with increasingly rapid intensification of hurricanes? doesn't make it harder to respond? -- does it make it harder to respond? >> i do not know if amita harder to respond, -- it made it harder to respond. what i find is we have less time for states to give evacuation orders because of the rapid intensification of the storms. what we are doing, contacted the governor on friday to make sure we are ready to support his
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pre-landfall emergency needs and giving him the insurance that we would have funding support his actions and also our ability to bring in the federal family to respond that. >> you mention the ongoing operation in puerto rico, are you concerned your agency is stretched thin right now dealing with that and preparing what is coming? do you have the resources and staff to handle the second storm? >> we do have a lot of events going on right now we are supporting the recovery in kentucky, the current recovery in puerto rico. we have a talented and dedicated work staff, a team of emergency managers, we have enough people to come in right support the response for this. we will work to identify what the recovery needs are once we understand what the damages are. we can support this response. >> the president said the federal government would recover -- would cover 100% of the recovery in puerto rico for the
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next month, you have an estimate of what that will cost? >> i do not come to covers emergency protective measures, debris removal, overtime costs, as far as a dollar assessment i do not have that yet. we can certainly see if we have a better estimate and get back to you. >> [indiscernible] i want to return what peter asked about the governor. in the past president trump -- president biden made a call to governors in situations, natural disasters, kay ivey and alabama, arkansas, or the governor in texas. can you articulate how those determinations are made? why it has not been made in this case to have the president call the governor? >> the president is very focused on making sure the federal family has the right resources to support this, that is why i
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contact the governor right away, we have a team of my senior readership embedded with the governor to support that. our focus today is to make sure we have the right measures in place to support elect -- lifesaving measures in place. >> you have made conversations with the mayors. is there any reasons why not the governor? >> we have a strong team in place supporting the governor right now working side-by-side with him and his staff we will continue to stay engaged with him. >> just a follow-up to that. normally presidents call governors for governors call presidents -- or governors call presidents. the only real question i've not answered, is it that they have not talked, there has been impeded efforts from the governor to government plans in florida, if so i would be? >> we are very focused on the need to florida right now, we do not bring politics into our
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ability to respond to these disasters. we will support whatever governor desantis asked of us. we signed his emergency declaration within hours of him sending it in. we will continue to see what the impact of the storm is. >> the communication -- the governor has no impact on how you operate. >> just on the trajectory of the storm, you expect it to make landfall somewhere on the west coast. is there an excitation that could change in the coming day or two? if it makes landfall some morals, -- some where else. what resources can be taken to the area and preparing for that? >> we have a tendency to focus on the code and where it makes landfall, as i talked about in my remarks we will see impacts across the state of florida, inland flooding from the large amount of rain, tornadoes are kenito watches you see in the
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southern part of the state today. to the storm surge, the hurricane force winds that may impact the committees near landfall. we are -- communities near landfall. we are postured because we know that there will be impacts across the state. >> [indiscernible] has that in any way put a strain on the agency, at this moment that you need to do that as well as -- >> the resources that we are providing support the influx of the migrant flow is an emergency food and shelter program. it is a reimbursable grant program the main source of our involvement right now. >> when you talk about the agency what is your concern? the key evacuation areas? >> when i think about complacency, if there has been a
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near miss in the past, they will write it out, i've been through this before have no issues in a good again, that is a dangerous way to think you need to listen to your local officials. the storm surge, 10 feet, maybe some areas hire to be significant -- higher, it may be significant, in some places you'll get 24 inches of rain. people who have not gotten it before, take it seriously do not underestimate the potential the storm can bring. >> in the aftermath, the strategic petroleum reserves than the lowest level in 37 years, will be sending gas to florida is there concern that the reserve is not hive off now to handle the aftermath of this emergency and -- not high enough now to handle this emergency and other ones that may come? >> i do not think there is a concern we will continue to
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assess after the storm passes to see what the impacts are, we will put measures in place. it all depends on what the impacts of the storm might bring. we will do an assessment after the storm happens. when the back. -- way in the back. >> the storm is expected to travel north, do you have conversations with governors of south carolina and georgia? >> i spoke with both governors yesterday to get an idea of what they are concerned about. they are stepping up their postures to prepare to support any impact they might see. as the storm track continues to change, our regional office will continue to engage with them, will be moving resources into their as needed -- there as needed. >> we will hear from the fema administrator again tomorrow as
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she holds a briefing in the hours before hurricane ian is expected to make landfall in florida. that is streaming live on the free c-span now video app at 10:00 p.m. eastern. quick c-span is your onset of view of government. >> homework can be hard. but squatting in identical internetwork is even harder. homework and just be homework. >> giving you a front row seat democracy. >> the former u.s. solicitor general previewed the supreme court upcoming term which is next week.


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