WASHINGTON–Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate, and FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino traveled to New York and New Jersey today to survey ongoing recovery and response efforts on the ground following Hurricane Irene and to affirm the federal government’s continuing commitment to state, local, tribal and community partners throughout the disaster response and recovery.
“Even before Hurricane Irene made landfall we were working with our federal, state, local, and tribal emergency management partners to prepare and minimize loss of life and damage,” said Secretary Napolitano. “However, our work is not done—as we enter the next phrase, the Obama administration is leaning forward to support communities throughout the East Coast as we respond and recover.”
In Prattsville, N.Y., Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate joined New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Chris Gibson and other officials on an aerial and walking tour of the areas there damaged by Hurricane Irene. Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate met with local officials, first responders, and volunteers to discuss response and recovery efforts to flooding and power outages in the surrounding region.
“Our top priority is to continue to support the state and local officials as they continue their response operations and start to move into their initial recovery,” said Administrator Fugate. “What we saw today, and what we saw yesterday in Connecticut, North Carolina, Virginia and Vermont, is that it’s our first responders, emergency managers, state and local teams who have been on the frontlines of this response – and we’ll continue to do everything we can to bring the full resources of the entire team to bear as they begin to rebuild.”
Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate then traveled to New Jersey to join New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Senator Frank Lautenberg, Rep. Bill Pascrell and other officials to tour flood-damaged areas in Passaic County.
They received a briefing from first responders and emergency management teams on the coordination among federal, state and local partners on response and recovery efforts throughout the region.
At the same time, FEMA Deputy Administrator Serino traveled to New Jersey to meet with state and local officials. While in New Jersey, Deputy Administrator Serino visited a shelter for disaster survivors at the Bergen County Community College.
The Obama Administration has been heavily engaged in response and recovery efforts since the storms first hit, and Administration officials have urged Americans in affected areas to continue to listen to guidance and direction from state and local officials.
Yesterday, Secretary Napolitano and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with local officials and visited impacted areas in North Carolina and Virginia. FEMA Administrator Fugate traveled to Vermont yesterday to meet with local and emergency officials, while Deputy Administrator Serino met with state and local officials in Hartford, Connecticut.