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FEMA and its federal partners stand ready to support states affected by severe weather

Thursday, March 8, 2012

WASHINGTON - The Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with the entire federal family, is continuing to closely monitor conditions following severe storms that affected much of the Midwest and Southern states this week.

FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, Mo., Chicago, Ill. and Atlanta, Ga., is in close contact with state emergency officials in states that are being affected by severe weather, including tornadoes. FEMA's National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., and its Regional Response Coordination Center in Chicago, Ill. are fully activated to support state requests for assistance.

FEMA's regional administrators have been in touch with state emergency management officials for Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Alabama, Georgia North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones and those whose lives have been affected by the storms. Our priority, as always, is to make sure that we are here to support local efforts to keep residents and communities safe. FEMA has teams on the ground in hard hit areas and is prepared to deploy additional teams and resources if needed by the states," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "We urge residents in impacted areas to listen carefully to instructions from their local officials. If asked to remain in shelters, homes or safe places or to avoid affected areas, please do so. Roads may be damaged or blocked by debris, and traffic jams can slow emergency managers and first responders in doing their job."

At the requests of the states, FEMA and the Small Business Administration have deployed teams to Missouri and Illinois to assist with preliminary damage assessments. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties and to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested. A FEMA disability integration specialist was part of the preliminary damage assessment team in Missouri to assess the needs of people with disabilities and access and functional needs who were displaced from their independent living center.

FEMA has also proactively deployed a federal coordinating officer to Indiana, who is serving as a liaison to the Indiana Emergency Operations Center to provide support to the state and to assist in coordination efforts as the state continues to respond to the recent storms. Incident Management Assistance Team and eleven community relations teams have also been proactively deployed to Indiana to assist with situational awareness following the storms in support of the state and governor, as requested.

At all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories. To support the affected states, FEMA has coordinated with the Department of Defense to establish a national Incident Support Base in Kentucky to stage commodities in strategic locations close to the impacted areas, if needed and requested by the state. More than 98,000 meals and 146,000 liters of water are en route to the Incident Support Base.

Many local governments and voluntary agencies, such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, are providing shelter to disaster survivors who have been displaced from the storms. During these times, the compassion and generosity of the American people is never more evident than after a disaster. If you would like to help residents suffering the effects of recent Midwest storms, cash donations are best. They go right to the areas of need and bring relief faster. For more information on how you can help, visit www.fema.gov/donations .

According the National Weather Service, there is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms across the eastern Gulf Coast into the coastal Carolinas. The main threat will be heavy rains across much of the Southeast today.

FEMA encourages everyone to take steps to ensure their family, homes and businesses are prepared for a possible emergency. Important items to have ready in case of an emergency include a battery-powered radio (like a NOAA Weather Radio), flashlight, extra batteries, medicines, non-perishable food, hand-operated can opener, utility knife and first aid supplies. Important documents, such as medical records, contracts, property deeds, leases, banking records, insurance records and birth certificates, should be copied and kept in a safe place. Visit www.Ready.gov for more information on preparing yourself and your family for emergencies.

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