Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Obama's Isaac Update Aug. 29

This morning, President Obama received a briefing on impacts of Hurricane Isaac, which is currently affecting Gulf Coast states including Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and the ongoing federal response. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb, and Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan provided the President an update on extensive rainfall, storm surge, and wind damage to date in coastal areas, including in Louisiana and Mississippi where there are extensive power outages and flooding in coastal areas, as well as ongoing efforts to support response activities and meet the needs of impacted communities.
The President directed FEMA to continue to make sure all available resources were brought to bear to support state and local responders, including any resources to support power restoration efforts once the storm clears, and to stay in close contact with Governors’ teams as the storm evolves. The President also made clear that while the impacts and focus right now is on Gulf Coast communities under threat from the storm, he expects FEMA to remain proactive and take necessary steps in areas further inland that could be impacted by the major wind and rain event in the coming days and into the weekend. Administrator Fugate, who was in Mississippi yesterday and is now in Louisiana where he participated in today’s briefing by phone, and the FEMA team are already in touch with states that are forecast to have major rain events as a result of Isaac later this week. FEMA continues to make resources and assets available to impacted areas of Louisiana and Mississippi through the Emergency Declarations already granted by the President earlier this week.

Later in the day, the President convened a call with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. On the call, the President opened by acknowledging the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the important reminder the anniversary provides of the lasting effects these types of storms can have on communities. The President asked Dr. Knabb, Secretary Napolitano, and Administrator Fugate to provide the Governors and Mayor an update on the storm’s impacts, as well as on the resources and steps FEMA has taken to support their teams as they respond to the slow-moving storm. The President made clear that the Federal government was prepared, and he had directed Administrator Fugate to continue to provide all necessary support and available resources. The President heard from the Governors and Mayor about the current conditions on the ground and the steps their teams are taking to respond. The President asked the Governors to continue to identify any additional needs if they arise as the effects of Isaac and the response efforts continue. More from the White House