FEMA setting up shelters in 50 counties

Alexa Ortiz, 23, left and Lucas Garcia, 60, walk through their destroyed home in Refugio. Garcia, Ortiz and six other family members along with seven animals rode out Hurricane Harvey in a single room in their home.

Updated at 5:51 p.m. Monday

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is in the rescue stages of relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, said William C. Lindsey, media relations specialist with FEMA.

“Rescue is the immediate situation right now,” Lindsey said.

FEMA is in the process of putting shelters in 50 counties that have a need, he said.

“Disasters start locally and they end locally,” he said.

People who are affected by the flooding can contact local emergency management and law enforcement, he said.

After the emergency phase, the recovery phase will begin.

Recovery is FEMA’s mission.

People seeking assistance can call 1-800-621-3362 to register or register online at disasterassistance.gov.

Expanding the number of shelters to different areas depends on areas who are in the most need, he said.

After the registration process, social security number and driver’s license will need to be provided.

A number will then be issued to the person, he said. The issued number should be protected as if it were a social security number.

A packet will then be mailed, he said.

Shelters coordinate with the United States Postal Service for deliver to people who may have lost their homes, he said.

If you need help filling out the packet, call 1-800-621-3362 or visit a Disaster Recovery Center.

FEMA’s setup of centers is “a little way off” because of flooding and rain, Lindsey said.

An inspector will then assess damage, he said. Next, comes insurance.

“We want to help anyone out there who needs recovery assistance no matter what it is,” he said.

Original Story

Federal Emergency Management Agency is responding to Tropical Storm Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.

More than 1,200 FEMA employees are deployed, said Robin Smith, FEMA spokesperson.

Urban Search and Rescue task forces with the National Urban Search and Rescue System, deployed to Texas to support the state and tribes as needed and requested.

Up to four task forces are conducting operations in South Texas, four task forces are staged in San Antonio and four in Fort Worth and one incident support team is in College Station.

Each of these teams has swift water rescue capabilities.

FEMA established Incident Support Bases near Seguin and Camp Beauregard to pre-position supplies including water, meals, blankets and other resources closer to potentially affected areas, should they be needed and requested by the state.

State, local, and tribal officials are responsible for distributing supplies to the community.

Bases and staging areas as of Sunday morning had 490,000 liters of water, 524,000 meals, 20,500 tarps and 60 generators are available to the state if needed.

FEMA activated the National Emergency Medical Services contract for 100 ambulances and 15 air ambulances for advanced and basic life support and are staged in San Antonio.

Mobile Emergency Response Support personnel and equipment are on the ground in Texas and Louisiana to support the states with secure and non-secure voice, video and information services for emergency response communications needs.

FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams are in place in Austin and Baton Rouge to support requests for federal assistance. Additional teams continue to deploy as the response continues.

FEMA’s National Business Emergency Operations Center is activated to facilitate coordination between government and private sector organizations as the community responds to Tropical Storm Harvey.

The National Flood Insurance Program has General Adjusters situated in Texas and Louisiana to support initial damage assessments and assist with positioning adjuster resources following the event.

The Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration leadership is in contact with senior insurance officials in Texas and Louisiana.

The United States Coast Guard is providing rescue assistance to people. USCG is using shallow-draft vessels to provide search and rescue assistance in flooded areas, while Coast Guard aircrews conduct damage assessment overflights and search and rescue patrols.

The United States Geological Survey Texas Water Science Center deployed storm surge sensors in as many as 20 locations between the San Luis Pass and Corpus Christi.

The Civil Air Patrol is providing aircraft, vehicles, and personnel to accomplish aerial and ground imaging, damage assessments, and transportation of personnel and light cargo.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting flood-fighting activities such as stockpiling and issuing flood-fighting materials to local government entities in an effort to mitigate the effects of flooding in the affected areas.

The locations and times are unknown for where assistance will be offered next, Smith said.

“There will be change and movement as the weather improves,” Smith said.

The state will make the determination where the areas of most need are, Smith said.

“We are here for the state at their request,” she said.

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Education reporter

Gabriella Canales graduated from the University of Houston-Victoria with a B.A. in English in 2016. Feel free to contact her with ideas because she is eager to tell stories.

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