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FEMA’s involvement in hurricane response

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 4:56 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -As Hurricane Laura strengthens, President Trump has approved emergency declarations to free up aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in areas of Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana.

According to FEMA Acting Deputy Administrator Bridget Bean, funds will be delivered directly to local governments. FEMA also has workers on the ground in local disaster zones.

“We have pre-staged and positioned people and resources, so before the storm hits, we have people there,” said Bean. “Once the storm arrives and moves away, we will be there to help the residents of those three states.”

Unfortunately, Bean says, there’s no playbook for storms that strike in the middle of a pandemic. Although these funds are separate from those provided to combat the coronavirus, Bean says on the ground, it’s up to local officials to make virus related preparations in hospitals, shelters, and so on.

“We issued guidance back in the late spring to our partners to help them be prepared to make those changes to their emergency plans in light of COVID-19,” said Bean.

Bean says FEMA is also using digital tools and social media to reduce face-to-face contact with storm victims.

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