Pricey Harrison

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Statewide Efforts To Aid Katrina Victims

The N.C. Division of Forest Resources (NCDFR) has dispatched 27 employees trained in disaster relief to Louisiana. They will partner with another eight Division employees, who were sent last week to Florida to help that state recover from Katrina. The 35 NCDFR staff will assist FEMA teams who are receiving and distributing ice, bottled water, ready-to-eat meals, canned foods, portable lights, batteries, first aid kits and other relief supplies to victims of the hurricane.
The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has offered assistance with bridge repairs, debris removal and traffic control in affected states. NCDOT crews are on standby and ready to respond as needed.
The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (NCDENR) Division of Forest Resources has dispatched a total of 80 employees trained in disaster relief to the Gulf Coast to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The staff will assist FEMA teams who are receiving and distributing ice, bottled water, ready-to-eat meals, canned foods, portable lights, batteries, first aid kits and other relief supplies to victims of the hurricane.
NCDENR’s Division of Environmental Health is assembling teams of state and local food specialists and onsite wastewater specialists to leave as early as Sunday for Louisiana for a two-week period. These individuals will assist Louisiana officials in determining if restaurants are safe to reopen and septic systems are viable for use.

The N.C. Department of Commerce (NCDOC) is offering its experience regarding disaster recovery programs, particularly related to hurricane and flood damage, to the Departments of Commerce in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. These programs will work to bring quick relief to businesses owners and shorten the turnaround time to get the businesses back in operation. The NCDOC is also ready to offer states affected by Hurricane Katrina advice and technical assistance with state business assistance programs.
The N.C. Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (NCJJDP) Center for the Prevention of School Violence will provide technical assistance and expertise on disaster recovery to the Mississippi Safe Schools Center. Officials in Mississippi have stated that, “32 out of 152 school districts in Mississippi are out of operation with major structural damage.” NCJJDP is awaiting a list of needs from Mississippi to determine next steps with its technical assistance provision.

In addition, the Division of Emergency Management has offered staff to assist with damage assessment and donation management. The divisions of Facility Services and Emergency Management also are preparing to send a field hospital with a team of physicians, nurses and paramedics to the region later this week.
The N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety (NCCCPS) and the N.C. National Guard are deploying 300 troops to the Gulf region. Troops will help rescue stranded refugees, provide assistance to the sick and injured, hand out supplies of food, water and ice, and provide traffic and crowd control.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ (NCDHHS) Division of Public Health has 21 employees on standby to join recovery efforts. In addition, the division has provided the affected states with hurricane educational materials that were developed during Hurricanes Fran and Floyd. The NCDHHS Division of Facility Services is coordinating a portable 110-bed hospital deploying this weekend to serve survivors in the New Orleans area. Sixty medical specialists from across the state, ranging from surgeons and anesthesiologists to nurses and paramedics, will join this effort.

The Division of Public Health has 21 employees on standby to join recovery efforts. In addition, the division has provided the affected states with hurricane educational materials that were developed during Hurricanes Fran and Floyd.

The Department of Cultural Resources has offered its resources to FEMA and will work with the N.C. Museums Council, the Southeastern Museums Conference and the American Association of Museums to organize support for art museums, archival collections, and historical museums in affected states. Help can include technical assistance, refrigeration for archival materials, climate controlled storage space for objects and archival materials, communications and other appropriate measures.

Gov. Mike Easley has ordered select N.C. National Guard armories to open Monday morning as storm shelters to provide refuge for those fleeing the path of the then-Category 5 hurricane. Shelters remain available in Asheville, Gastonia and Charlotte.

Brenda Hodge, communications officer for the Louisiana Senate, has provided the following Internet link for anyone who may be interested in helping with Katrina relief efforts: http://2theadvocate.com/livepages4/830.shtml.

Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), urged all fire and emergency services departments not to respond to counties and states affected by Hurricane Katrina unless requested and lawfully dispatched by state and local authorities under mutual aid agreements and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

The U.S. Fire Administration, part of FEMA, asks that fire and emergency services organizations remain in contact with their local and state emergency management agency officials for updates on requirements in the affected areas.

FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003

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