Inside the White House Hurricane Response


At precisely 12:30 on Sept. 12, more than 60 federal, state and local emergency response officials from around the country convened on a video teleconference to address the catastrophic effects of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The White House dialed in from a secure, windowless office across from the West Wing, its 24/7 use over the last weeks indicated by the coat rack of suits and the pillow and blanket stacked beside the sofa. The National Weather Service, the Pentagon and U.S. Northern Command linked in via their own video feeds. Front line responders from the Gulf Coast to the mid-Atlantic tuned in to provide updates from the field.

The brisk cadence was well rehearsed. Officials in Florida discussed the ongoing effort to restore power in the wake of Irma’s mass outages, and efforts to prioritize the delivery of food to areas where stores have yet to reopen. They reported the arrival of a Disaster Medical Assistance Team in the hard-hit Florida Keys, and the presence of five urban search and rescue teams on the islands. Homer Bryson, the Director of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, warned of fuel issues in the state, especially with evacuated Florida residents looking …read more

Source:: Time – Science

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