Dorian moves dangerously closer to Georgia coast

Georgia’s Governor Brian P. Kemp and Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor hold a news conference in Atlanta Wednesday, in preparation of approaching Hurricane Dorian to the state and warn of high tides and flooding. (Sept. 4)

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What’s Happening To Puerto Rico Without The Delayed Disaster Aid (HBO)

Maria Cruz-Vega can sometimes hear the foundation creaking when she’s in bed at night. There are holes in her floor—and her walls—and she prays the blue-tarp roof that covers her home won’t collapse on her and her family. Nearly 30,000 households in Puerto Rico are still living like this, literally without a real roof over their heads almost two years after Hurricane Maria hit the island. So far, Cruz-Vega has only received about $3,000 from FEMA.

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AP Top Stories February 13 P

Here’s the latest for Wednesday, February 13th: Trump portrays border security agreement a win; Brock Long, head of FEMA resigns; NASA’s longest running Mars rover is pronounced dead; The winner of Westminster dog show eats steak at Sardi’s in New York.

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President Trump assess damage in Florida following hurricane

President Trump is in Florida assessing the damage following Hurricane Michael, talking with people affected by the storm, distributing water, and meeting search and rescue teams involved in relief efforts. The president and First Lady are touring Lynn Haven, near Panama City, with Governor Rick Scott and FEMA administrator Brock Long.

Trumps distribute bottled water at FEMA center

(15 Oct 2018) President Donald Trump is marveling at the hurricane damage he’s seen while touring devastated Florida Panhandle communities. (Oct. 15)

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FEMA: Warns still not safe to return home

(12 Oct 2018) The Federal Emergency Management Agency is pleading with residents who have been displaced from their homes due to Hurricane Michael, to please be patient before they return home, because it may not be safe. (Oct. 12)

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Trump on hurricane response, SArabia relations

(11 Oct 2018) President Donald Trump is praising the response to Hurricane Michael, saying that FEMA has received “rave reviews.” During the same photo-op, Trump said that he’s reluctant to slash weapons sales to Saudi Arabia over a missing Saudi writer. (Oct. 11)

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Florida’s panhandle braces for Hurricane Michael

(10 Oct 2018) The storm surge from Hurricane Michael has come ashore in Florida and is growing deeper. Waves are already gnawing away at the base of sand dunes at Panama City Beach. FEMA has nearly 3,000 people in the field ready to assist. (Oct. 10)

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FEMA: Hurricane Michael gaining strength

(9 Oct 2018) Officials with FEMA and NOAA briefed reporters on the latest threats from Hurricane Michael and urged citizens to heed local warnings ahead of landfall. (Oct. 9)

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FEMA to test nationwide ‘Presidential Alert’

(2 Oct 2018) About 225 million cell phones across the United States will wail and buzz Wednesday afternoon as the Federal Emergency Management Agency conducts an emergency alert test. (Oct. 2)

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North Carolina Didn’t Need FEMA To Weather Hurricane Florence (HBO)

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Onslow County Manager David Cotton has been camped out dealing with the Hurricane Florence response at the county’s Emergency Operations Center since Wednesday.

During that time, he’s only slept six hours.

“Everything was so fast-paced. High-tempo decisions having to be made in the middle of the night: Opening shelters, how should we do this, weighing in on critical decisions all throughout this evolution,” Cotton told VICE News Monday morning.

By then the storm had just about passed and the sun was out in Jacksonville, the Onslow County seat and the town where the Emergency Operations Center is based. But Cotton won’t be resting anytime soon.

“We’re moving out of the sprint phase and moving into more of a marathon of the recovery,” he said.

This is the epicenter of the emergency response effort for the entire county, which lies just 50 miles north of where the eye of the storm hit when it first made landfall on the North Carolina coast. While the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, faced controversy in Washington over his alleged misuse of government vehicles, the hurricane response efforts took shape in North Carolina’s counties and towns, independent of the federal authorities and their support.

The heads of all the county’s key departments — police, fire, transportation and others — all gathered in a single, windowless room for the entirety of the storm, snatching sleep whenever possible in cots tucked into side offices.

Cotton oversaw the entire operation and eventually called in federal support as the storm caused historic levels of flooding across the region. County officials made direct calls to the National Guard, Coast Guard, and Marines from Camp Lejeune for additional resources as flooding became too much for local authorities to handle.

They largely left FEMA out of it, and that was intentional: Cotton said emergencies are better handled by the staff on the ground, and that the federal agency will come in to support recovery efforts, which could last as long as two years.

Long, for his part, defended FEMA against criticism of its handling of past natural disasters, telling VICE News that, “There are some unrealistic expectations placed on this agency.”

“The disaster response works best when it’s locally executed, state managed and federally supported. FEMA is not a first responder,” Long said.

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North Carolina Didn’t Need FEMA To Weather Hurricane Florence (HBO)

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Onslow County Manager David Cotton has been camped out dealing with the Hurricane Florence response at the county’s Emergency Operations Center since Wednesday.

During that time, he’s only slept six hours.

“Everything was so fast-paced. High-tempo decisions having to be made in the middle of the night: Opening shelters, how should we do this, weighing in on critical decisions all throughout this evolution,” Cotton told VICE News Monday morning.

By then the storm had just about passed and the sun was out in Jacksonville, the Onslow County seat and the town where the Emergency Operations Center is based. But Cotton won’t be resting anytime soon.

“We’re moving out of the sprint phase and moving into more of a marathon of the recovery,” he said.

This is the epicenter of the emergency response effort for the entire county, which lies just 50 miles north of where the eye of the storm hit when it first made landfall on the North Carolina coast. While the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, faced controversy in Washington over his alleged misuse of government vehicles, the hurricane response efforts took shape in North Carolina’s counties and towns, independent of the federal authorities and their support.

The heads of all the county’s key departments — police, fire, transportation and others — all gathered in a single, windowless room for the entirety of the storm, snatching sleep whenever possible in cots tucked into side offices.

Cotton oversaw the entire operation and eventually called in federal support as the storm caused historic levels of flooding across the region. County officials made direct calls to the National Guard, Coast Guard, and Marines from Camp Lejeune for additional resources as flooding became too much for local authorities to handle.

They largely left FEMA out of it, and that was intentional: Cotton said emergencies are better handled by the staff on the ground, and that the federal agency will come in to support recovery efforts, which could last as long as two years.

Long, for his part, defended FEMA against criticism of its handling of past natural disasters, telling VICE News that, “There are some unrealistic expectations placed on this agency.”

“The disaster response works best when it’s locally executed, state managed and federally supported. FEMA is not a first responder,” Long said.

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DHS chief offers condolences, highlights response

(17 Sep 2018) U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says the FEMA has 300 people on the ground and is ready to go into places such as Wilmington, North Carolina, as soon as it is safe to do so. (Sept. 17)

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FEMA: A lot of water still to come from Florence

(15 Sep 2018) Tropical Storm Florence is continuing to dump dangerous amounts of rain as it continues its slow slog across the Carolinas. (Sept. 15)

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Hurricane Florence bears down towards the Carolinas

FEMA team preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Florence in North Carolina. Florence was downgraded to a Category 2 storm, but it is still packing hurricane-force winds of 105 miles per hour (165 kilometers per hour) says the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

FEMA on Florence: ‘Do not let your guard down’

(13 Sep 2018) Federal emergency officials are urging people to treat Hurricane Florence seriously even though it is now a Category 2 storm. FEMA Administrator Brock Long warned those under evacuation orders, ‘Your time is running out.’ (Sept. 13)

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FEMA: The time to flee Florence is now

(12 Sep 2018) Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was imperative locals heed the evacuation warnings. He says the time to flee Hurricane Florence is now. Landfall is sometime late Thursday. (Sept. 11)

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FEMA eyes massive damage ahead from Florence

(11 Sep 2018) Officials at FEMA are warning that Florence’s impact will be far-reaching and recovery will take more than just days. (Sept. 11)

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FEMA: More torrential rain to come in Hawaii

(24 Aug 2018) FEMA officials said torrential rains will continue in Hawaii for the next 48 to 72 hours as Hurricane Lane barrels onto the Big Island. (Aug. 24)

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AP Top Stories January 18 A

Here’s the latest for Thursday, January 18th: Congress leaders look for budget deal support; Trump immigration views said to be evolving; Hawaii officials waited for FEMA before announcing alert was false; Winter weather may cause rolling blackouts.

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Time And Money Are Running Out For Families Still Displaced by Hurricane Harvey (HBO)

In late August Hurricane Harvey destroyed property across southeast Texas, and more than four months later, 10,000 affected families are still spread across 12,000 hotel rooms waiting for their lives to get back to normal.

In the next few days FEMA is expected to announce whether or not they’ll extend their hotel program, called Transitional Shelter Assistance, for the fourth time. If allowed to expire on January 16, thousands of Texans whose homes have been deemed unlivable will immediately have to seek or request new shelter — a daunting prospect that has many Harvey survivors feeling anxious and frustrated with FEMA’s lack of communication and last minute decision-making.

The challenge is FEMA is not insurance: it’s a federal aid designed to be temporary. The agency’s disaster assistance has taken on several forms that range from direct financial compensation to temporary mobile homes. In a region where 80% of victims did not have flood insurance, recovery is costly and FEMA can’t answer exactly who will get what help for how much longer.

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Puerto Rico governor warns of ‘mass exodus’ post Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rican governor, Ricardo Rosello warns the US congress that if help doesn’t come fast a massive exodus from the island could occur after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. FEMA administrator and US Homeland Security advisor envoys arrived in Puerto Rico to assess the damage and continue helping with emergency aid coordination.

A Family Returns Home After Hurricane Harvey (HBO)

Harvey’s drenching rains are moving east after days over the Houston area. Which means that in America’s fourth-largest city, floodwaters have begun to creep down—offering a first look at the storm’s real legacy of destruction.

According to FEMA data, only 20 percent of the people in the hardest-hit areas have flood insurance. Homeowners whose houses were flooded may be able to get grants from FEMA, but those grants are only available to people whose homes are completely unlivable, and they typically cover only a fraction of repair costs. Homeowners can apply for a federal loan to cover the cost of rebuilding, which effectively means taking out a second mortgage on their homes.

Tens of thousands may decide to relocate altogether.

But right now, all of those decisions are impossibly remote, and for the families venturing out of Houston’s shelters, there’s one consuming imperative: assess the damage. VICE News traveled with a Houston family as they returned home for the first time since the storm:

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