Washington, D.C., September 12, 2001 — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to assist state and local officials in New York and Washington D.C., in the aftermath of apparent terrorist events in those two localities. FEMA is working closely with the White House to coordinate and manage the consequences of the events. The Department of Justice has immediate responsibility for crisis management. Highlights of the federal response:
* The President has granted a major disaster declaration for individual and public assistance, as requested by the governor of New York. The declaration includes Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens and Richmond counties.
* Gov. Gilmore has requested an emergency declaration for Arlington County. A declaration decision is pending.
* FEMA’s Washington-based Emergency Response Team (EST) is fully activated and on 24-hour operations.
* FEMA is establishing a mobilization center in Washington D.C., at Anacostia Naval Station.
* A FEMA liaison is staffing the FBI Strategic Information Operations Center, in Washington, D.C., to help coordinate information.
* All 10 FEMA regions – headquartered in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Denton, Tex., Kansas City, Kan., Denver, San Francisco and Bothell, Wash. – are fully activated.
* FEMA has activated the Federal Response Plan, which brings together 28 federal agencies and the American Red Cross to assist local and state governments in response to national emergencies and disasters.
* The Red Cross has opened 12 shelters in New York City – 10 for the public and one each for families of firefighters and police. An additional 15 shelters have been opened in New Jersey. In Arlington, Va., two shelters have been opened. Mental health workers are on site to aid and counsel rescue workers. Family support centers have been opened at Ft. Belvoir, Walter Reed and Bethesda Medical Centers.
* Families seeking information about missing family members are directed to call their local Red Cross offices for assistance.
* Advance elements of an Emergency Response Team are at a mobilization center in Edison, N.J. An interim disaster field office has been set up in Arlington, Va.
* FEMA has deployed eight Urban Search & Rescue teams (US&R) to New York City to search for victims in the affected buildings. US&R teams are specially trained teams that include engineers and other technical experts as well as specially trained search dogs. Another four teams have been deployed to the Pentagon, for search and rescue efforts there. Four other teams are standing by.
* The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is deploying a planning cell specializing in debris removal to New York City. Structural assessment teams are standing by in case needed. Additional debris planning cells will be deployed to Virginia once air restrictions are lifted.
* EPA Regions I and II are working to address potential air quality issues resulting from the release of asbestos within the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
* Four disaster medical teams and three disaster mortuary teams are being deployed to New York. Three disaster medical team and four disaster mortuary teams are stationed in Washington, D.C. to be deployed to the Pentagon, if necessary.
* People in the declared disaster counties in New York who are in need of temporary housing assistance, loans to replace personal property destroyed by the collapse of the World Trade Center, crisis counseling or other immediate disaster-related needs should call the FEMA toll-free number to register for assistance, 800-462-9029.
* FEMA’s immediate priorities are to render all possible federal help to affected states and communities; identify, extract and treat injured survivors in collapsed structures; deploy response support teams; establish on-site facilities to support response operations; and establish and provide support to victims and their families.