Thursday, September 08, 2005

Is that you, Senator Leahy?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

FEMA/National Guard/DoD response: Week 1

This list is intended as a draft to complement Rick Moran's excellent Katrina timeline.

It covers the period from Saturday, August 27 through Friday, September 2, and is culled from contemporaneous FEMA, DoD and National Guard press statements.

Saturday, August 27 (2 days before landfall)

FEMA: Emergency Aid Authorized For Hurricane Katrina Emergency Response In Louisiana

Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, today announced that Federal resources are being allocated to support emergency protective response efforts response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina.

Brown said President Bush authorized the aid under an emergency disaster declaration issued following a review of FEMA's analysis of the state's request for federal assistance. FEMA will mobilize equipment and resources necessary to protect public health and safety by assisting law enforcement with evacuations, establishing shelters, supporting emergency medical needs, meeting immediate lifesaving and life-sustaining human needs and protecting property, in addition to other emergency protective measures.

Sunday, August 28 (1 day before landfall)

FEMA: Homeland Security Prepping For Dangerous Hurricane Katrina Residents in path of storm "Must take action now"

On Saturday, President Bush has declared an emergency for the states of Louisiana and Mississippi opening up FEMA’s ability to move into the state and assist the state and local governments with mobilizing resources and preparations to save lives and property from the impact of Hurricane Katrina. FEMA is moving supplies of generators, water, ice and food into the region for immediate deployment once the storm passes. FEMA’s Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) and Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) are also staged for immediate response anywhere in the region. The funding and direct federal assistance will assist law enforcement with evacuations, establishing shelters and other emergency protective measures.

FEMA has deployed USAR teams from Tennessee, Missouri and Texas to stage in Shreveport, LA.. USAR teams from Indiana and Ohio are staged in Meridian, MS. Two teams each from Florida and Virginia and one team from Maryland are on alert at their home stations.

A total of 18 DMATs have been deployed to staging areas in Houston, Anniston and Memphis. There are 9 full DMATs (35 members per team) and 9 strike teams (5 members per team) in these staging areas.


FEMA’s Regional Offices in Atlanta, Georgia, and Denton, Texas, are monitoring Hurricane Katrina’s progress through the Gulf and are closely coordinating with Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama state Emergency Operations Centers. FEMA Advance Emergency Response Teams have been deployed to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. FEMA has also sent Mobile Emergency Response Support vehicles to Mississippi and Louisiana. Eighteen Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) and 3 Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) task forces have been deployed to the region for further dispatch when needed.

Monday, August 29 (doomsday)

DoD: National Guard Responds to Hurricane Katrina

Thousands of National Guard troops from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were on duty today as Hurricane Katrina hammered New Orleans, Gulfport, Miss., and other points on the Gulf Coast with 145-mph winds and torrential rains.

The Louisiana National Guard had called almost 3,500 of its members to state active duty as of 7 a.m. today to assist in missions ranging from assisting law enforcement agencies with traffic control and security; transporting and distributing food, water and ice, conducting searches and rescues; providing generator support; and carrying out other missions to protect life and property.

On Aug. 28, Louisiana Guardsmen conducted security and screening at the emergency shelter set-up at the New Orleans Superdome, where a reported 9,000 to 10,000 local residents reported after heeding the city's mandatory evacuation order issued earlier in the day.

As Katrina threatened to flood the low-lying city with water from the Mississippi River and Lake Ponchartrain, other Louisiana Guardsmen were setting up other shelters, helping state police with evacuations and preparing to support relief operations in the hurricane's aftermath.

Army Lt. Col. Pete Schneider reported a successful evacuation from the city, crediting the Louisiana Guard's partners in neighboring states for carrying out "a coordinated effort" that incorporated lessons learned from past evacuations.

Schneider said during an interview today with Fox News the state stood ready to house evacuees at the Superdome "for as long as it takes," reporting that although the massive structure's protective lining tore in the hurricane's Category 4 winds, the roof itself appears to be intact.

The Florida National Guard, just wrapping up its own emergency response to Katrina when it crossed the South Florida peninsula Aug. 25, was preparing to ship 1,000 cots to Louisiana to augment those provided by the Louisiana Guard.

In Mississippi, nearly 900 Army and Air Guard members were on active duty, with as many as 600 more expected to join them by the day's end, to support what Army Lt. Col. Tim Powell called the worst storm to hit the state in more than 30 years.

Powell said the guardsmen will help conduct the "huge mission" of removing debris from roadways, distributing water and ice until power is restored and doing "whatever we can to help the citizens of Mississippi."

Engineer teams assigned to three emergency operations center on the Gulf Coast were also expected to provide search-and-rescue support and assist with evacuations in flooded areas, he said.

The Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Arkansas National Guards were working together to provide four UH-60 Black Hawk and three CH-47 Chinook helicopters requested by Mississippi.

An estimated 160 Alabama National Guardsmen were on duty in the southern part of the state, where they pre-positioned generators and trucks and helped with sandbagging and other disaster response operations, officials there reported.

The National Guard activated its Emergency Operations Center in Mobile, with support from the 711th Signal Battalion and the 226th Area Support Group. Officials said Army and Air National Guardsmen were also monitoring the hurricane and emergency response operations from the Guard's Joint Operations Center in Montgomery.

Although not on active duty at this time, Alabama has about 9,000 more guardsmen available to respond to disaster relief operations in Alabama as well as neighboring states, as required, officials said.

Meanwhile, the Arkansas National Guard was preparing to open an armory in Monticello with 100 cots and blankets for people seeking shelter from Hurricane Katrina, officials reported. The Guard sent another 100 cots and blankets to Lake Village to be set up in a local high school.

Although the Arkansas National Guard was not on an official alert status this morning, officials said more than 9,000 soldiers and airmen were standing ready and available should the need arise.

At Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., the Air Force Reserve's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron was busy tracking Katrina for the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Crews were launching aircraft at regular intervals for missions that typically last eight to 12 hours, during which they collect a full range of weather measurements.

On another level of assistance, the Coast Guard closed ports and waterways along the Gulf Coast Aug. 28 and evacuated its own people and resources out of harm's way in anticipation of Katrina's landfall today.

Coast Guard aircraft, small boats, patrol boats and cutters were positioned in around the region, prepared to conduct immediate post-hurricane search, rescue and humanitarian aid operations, waterway impact assessments and waterway reconstitution operations, officials reported.

[Ed: It appears to me from this report that Mississippi is taking better advantage of outside resources - note the request for choppers from Oklahoma, Ohio and Arkansas. The statement that Louisiana is ready to house people at the Superdome "for as long as it takes" is obviously inaccurate, in light of subsequent events]

DoD: Hurricane Response Demonstrates Guard's State, Federal Capabilities

As of today, Louisiana has 65 percent of its troops available for state missions; Mississippi, 60 percent; Alabama, 77 percent; and Florida, 74 percent, Guard officials said.

FEMA: First Responders Urged Not To Respond To Hurricane Impact Areas Unless Dispatched By State, Local Authorities

Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), today urged all fire and emergency services departments not to respond to counties and states affected by Hurricane Katrina without being requested and lawfully dispatched by state and local authorities under mutual aid agreements and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.


“It is critical that fire and emergency departments across the country remain in their jurisdictions until such time as the affected states request assistance,” said U.S. Fire Administrator R. David Paulison. “State and local mutual aid agreements are in place as is the Emergency Management Assistance Compact and those mechanisms will be used to request and task resources needed in the affected areas.”

FEMA: Assistance Continues To Areas Impacted By Hurricane Katrina

In addition to holding regular briefings with emergency management officials in the affected states, FEMA reported the following activities, as of 10 a.m. today, as part of the ongoing federal response.

  • FEMA’s emergency teams and resources are being deployed and configured for coordinated response to Hurricane Katrina. This includes pre-staging critical commodities such as ice, water, meals, and tarps in various strategic locations to be made available to residents of affected areas.

  • FEMA’s Hurricane Liaison Team is onsite and working closely with the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla.

  • FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center and Regional Response Coordination Centers in Atlanta, Ga., and Denton, Texas, are operating around the clock, coordinating the prepositioning of assets and responding to state requests for assistance.

  • FEMA has deployed a National Emergency Response Team to Louisiana with a coordination cell positioned at the State Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge to facilitate state requests for assistance. In addition, four Advance Emergency Response Teams have been deployed to locations in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The teams include federal liaisons who work directly within county emergency operations centers to respond to critical needs as they are identified by local officials and prioritized by the state.

  • Rapid Needs Assessment teams have been prestaged in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

  • Nine Urban Search and Rescue task forces and incident support teams have been deployed. The task forces are from Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri.

  • Thirty-one teams from the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) have been deployed to staging areas in Anniston, Ala., Memphis, Tenn., Houston, Dallas, and New Orleans, including 23 Disaster Medical Assistance Teams. The teams bring truckloads of medical equipment and supplies with them and are trained to handle trauma, pediatrics, surgery and mental health problems. Two Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams are also included as part of NDMS assets deployed, which are able to support and rescue pets, and provide any needed veterinary medical care for rescue dogs.

  • Voluntary agencies, important partners in disasters, are prepared to augment local government services with shelters, mobile feeding units, water and clean-up supplies.

  • FEMA has 500 trucks of ice, 500 trucks of water and 350 trucks of meals ready to eat (MREs) available for distribution over the next 10 days.

  • Tuesday, August 30 (1 day after landfall)

    FEMA: Evacuees Cautioned Not To Re-Enter Damage Areas Prematurely

    FEMA pre-staged emergency response teams and critical commodities such as ice, water, meals ready-to-eat (MREs), and tarps in strategic locations in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Convoys of supplies are moving into heavily impacted areas but with many roads damaged or impassable, it may be several days before emergency workers are able to reach all the victims of Katrina.

    National Guard: Many National Guard Troops Available to Combat Katrina

    More than 6,200 Army and Air National Guard troops were on duty in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida the Monday that Katrina struck with 145-mph winds and blinding rain that, the Associated Press reported, submerged entire New Orleans neighborhoods up to the rooflines and peeled away part of the Superdome.

    Two hundred Louisiana troops assisted civilian authorities by conducting security and screening missions at the Superdome where a Guard spokesman reported that more than 10,000 people sought shelter the Sunday night before the storm struck early Monday morning.

    Potential Guard missions included assisting law enforcement agencies with traffic control and security, transporting and distributing food, water and ice, search and rescue, and providing generators.


    More than 3,600 were on duty in Louisiana, primed to support civilian authorities with aviation assets, with security personnel to police and sheriffs departments, and with engineer equipment including high-wheeled vehicles that could plow through flood waters to rescue stranded victims.

    DoD: Guard, NORTHCOM Respond to Hurricane Aftermath

    Twenty-four hours after Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast, an estimated 7,500 National Guard troops from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi were on duty today, supporting civil authorities, distributing generators, providing medical care, and setting up shelters for displaced residents.

    In addition, National Guard units and members in 17 more states were on standby, ready to provide assistance as required in the wake of extensive damage, rising floodwaters, and power and communications outages throughout the region, Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a DoD spokeswoman, said.

    Meanwhile, U.S. Northern Command was arranging for military helicopter crews to fly Federal Emergency Management Agency assessment teams over the affected areas to determine the full extent of the damage and how disaster resources should be distributed, NORTHCOM officials said.

    The command established Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., as a federal operational staging area to expedite the movement of relief supplies and emergency personnel into the affected areas, officials said. In addition, NORTHCOM liaisons are on the ground throughout the area to coordinate efforts between the command, and other elements of DoD, as well as FEMA.

    The Army Corps of Engineers was preparing to support debris removal and laying plans to survey and begin emergency repairs on the levee system around New Orleans that partially gave way during the storm, Gene Pawlik, a Corps of Engineers spokesman, said.

    As of 8 a.m. today, almost 3,800 Louisiana Army and Air Guard members were on duty to remove debris, provide security and shelter, distribute water, food and ice, and offer medical and law-enforcement support, National Guard Bureau officials said.

    The Louisiana Guard was coordinating with Florida, Georgia and Texas to secure two UH-60 Black Hawk and five CH-47 Chinook helicopters to support their operations, officials said.

    In Mississippi, more than 1,900 Guard troops were providing similar support, basing their operations at Camp Shelby.

    The Mississippi Guard coordinated with the National Guards in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Arkansas to add four UH-60s and three CH-47s to the relief effort. In addition, the Alabama National Guard is contributing an engineer battalion and military police battalion to Mississippi's hurricane response.

    In addition to the 300 military police and 500 engineers it is sending to Mississippi, the Alabama National Guard had another 800-plus troops on duty to support that state's Emergency Management Agency, Army Lt. Col. Bob Horton, an Alabama Guard spokesman, said. These troops are staging support equipment around flood-struck areas, and 450 of them will head to Mobile today to support law enforcement officials and enforce security, he said.

    The Arkansas National Guard also mobilized 350 members to assist with hurricane relief efforts in Mississippi. The Arkansas troops include an engineer battalion, transportation company and military police company, officials said. In addition, two UH-60s plan to leave Camp Robinson, Ark., to support search-and-rescue operations.

    The deploying troops will also contribute Humvees, dump trucks, 5-ton trucks, tractor-trailers, generators and lights to the effort, officials said.

    In Florida, more than 700 Florida Guard members were on active duty, working out of logistical support sites in Miami and Homestead to provide ice and water distribution support.

    The Guard was preparing to ship 1,000 cots to Louisiana to support relief operations there, officials said.

    Krenke called the interstate cooperation a sign of the success of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. This interstate agreement enables Guard troops from one state to support operations in another state and has significantly boosted the National Guard's response capability, she explained.

    Through these agreements, 98,000 Guard troops from 12 states in or near the hurricane-stricken region are available to immediately support emergency operations, she said. Nationwide, an estimated 337,000 Guard troops are available to be deployed to states impacted by the hurricane.

    [Ed - This seems to make several points more clear. The NG troops from outside LA are provided under state-to-state compact - in other words, one governor requests another governor's assistance. Meanwhile, the active-duty personnel under Federal control are moving into their headquarters in Mississippi and deploying FEMA assessment teams into the affected areas.]

    Wednesday, August 31 (2 days after landfall)

    National Guard: Texas Guard helping Louisiana with hurricane relief

    In the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of Louisiana, National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from throughout Texas are heading for the Bayou State.

    Some Texas Guardsmen are already in Louisiana. On Tuesday, an aviation task force of approximately 100 Soldiers departed from various Texas locations for Baton Rouge. The task force included eight UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, two CH-47 helicopters, one C-23 Sherpa fixed-wing aircraft, and satellite communications equipment.

    Today, some 400 personnel from both the Texas Army Guard and the Texas Air Guard received orders. Organized as Task Force 536, they will primarily provide medical and communications support. They have been converging on the National Guard armory at 15150 Westheimer Parkway, in Houston, prior to departure for Louisiana.

    Army Guard Soldiers and Air Guard security forces anticipate departure for Louisiana within the next 48 hours to assist local law enforcement agencies with traffic control, evacuations and other missions to protect life and property of Louisiana citizens.

    Engineers and transportation and logistics specialists are also expected to be added to the numbers of Texas National Guardsmen assisting in Louisiana’s recovery from the Aug. 29 storm.

    By the weekend, the Texas National Guard anticipates that more than 1,000 of its members will be involved in the recovery effort.

    Gov. Rick Perry called upon the Texas National Guard to assist its neighbor in response to a request from Louisiana’s governor. Traditionally, the National Guard operates in state active duty status when responding to disasters and civil emergencies.

    Although Texas has about 5,000 Guardsmen overseas at this time, approximately 11,000 Guardsmen remain stateside.

    [Ed - Again, it seems to be the Lousiana Governor who is calling the plays on bringing in available Guard assets. Note also that the reinforcements from Texas must assemble before leaving for Louisiana - it is estimated to be 48 hours until they depart]

    National Guard: Ohio Guard prepares to support Hurricane Katrina relief efforts

    The Ohio National Guard is preparing to deploy approximately 1,500 soldiers and airmen to assist in the Hurricane Katrina rescue and recovery efforts. The units will provide security and general support in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana

    The deploying units include:

  • 437th Military Police Battalion (Columbus)
  • 1-148th Infantry Battalion (Company sized units in: Bowling Green, Delaware, Lima, N. Canton, Urbana, Xenia)
  • 371st Corps Support Group (Kettering)
  • 73rd Troop Command Task Force Command (Columbus)
  • 269th Combat Communications Squadron (Springfield)

    The assistance is being provided under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a national mutual aid and partnership agreement that allows state-to-state assistance during states of emergencies declared by the Governor or President. The agreement provides a responsive and straightforward system to for the National Guard in unaffected states to send personnel and equipment to help disaster relief efforts in affected states.

    “The Ohio National Guard will provide essential personnel and critical equipment to the affected states through their state emergency management agencies,” said Brig. Gen. Matt Kambic, Ohio’s assistant adjutant general for Army. “This is what the National Guard does… when people are in need we respond.”

  • National Guard: 10,000 More Guard Troops to Support Military's Hurricane Response

    More than 11,000 Army and Air National Guard members and 7,200 active-duty troops, mostly Navy, are supporting hurricane relief operations along the Gulf Coast, and 10,000 more National Guard troops are expected to join the effort within the next 48 hours, Defense Department officials said today.


    As the added National Guard forces mobilize to support what's being called one of the largest disaster-response mobilizations in U.S. history, the Guard will continue to respond to governors' requests. Blum said he expects those requests to change as the situation on the ground evolves and more information becomes available.


    Meanwhile, U.S. Northern Command is coordinating DoD's active-duty support for the hurricane relief mission, Air Force Brig. Gen. Terry Scherling, deputy director of antiterrorism and homeland defense for the Joint Staff, told reporters.

    The initial focus is on preventing loss of life, restoring infrastructure and maintaining confidence in the government, she said.

    In addition to establishing Joint Task Force Katrina at Camp Shelby, Miss., to coordinate support operations among NORTHCOM, other DoD elements and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the command is supporting recovery operations with aviation and naval assets needed now, with seven ships and 60 helicopters already committed.

    But Scherling said she expects DoD's contribution to increase as governors identify more needs. Already, the military is preparing to provide 4,000 to 5,000 hospital beds, both ashore and afloat, in the affected region.

    DoD: Military Providing Full-Scale Response to Hurricane Relief Effort

    Joint Task Force Katrina is setting up today at Camp Shelby, Miss., as the Defense Department's focal point to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency's relief efforts along the Gulf Coast, Air Force Maj. Eric Butterbaugh, a U.S. Northern Command spokesman, confirmed today.
    Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, 1st U.S. Army commander, will head the task force to coordinate DoD active-duty support for disaster relief efforts in the hurricane's aftermath, much of it already under way or in the works.

    Meanwhile, the number of National Guardsmen on duty in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida rose to almost 8,300 today.

    National Guard units and members in 17 more states remained on standby today, ready to provide assistance as required in the wake of extensive damage, rising floodwaters, and power and communications outages throughout the region, Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a DoD spokeswoman, said.

    The guardsmen remain under their respective governors' control, which enables them to provide law-enforcement support in the affected regions -- something the Posse Comitatus Act prohibits active-duty forces from doing within the United States. While under state control, the National Guard is not bound by Posse Comitatus, NORTHCOM officials explained.

    While establishing Joint Task Force Katrina today, NORTHCOM was already providing or coordinating a full range of support involving active-duty forces and assets.

    As of this morning, four MH-53 Sea Stallion and two HH-60 Seahawk helicopters from USS Bataan were flying medical-evacuation and search-and-rescue missions in Louisiana, and Bataan's hospital was preparing for possible use for medical support. Bataan, based out of Naval Station Ingleside, Texas, is in the waters off the Louisiana coast. High Speed Vessel Swift, also based at Ingleside, sailed to the waters off Louisiana to provide support, as well.

    Three helicopters from the Army's 3rd Corps, in Fort Hood, Texas, are in Baton Rouge, La., and two more in Mississippi to help with searches and rescues and damage assessments, NORTHCOM officials reported.

    In addition, five Air Force helicopters from the 920th Rescue Wing, from Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., and 347th Rescue Wing from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., are in Mississippi for search-and-rescue missions, officials said. These aircraft are capable of nighttime searches and rescues and also will transport FEMA assessment teams over the area to gather critical information for state and federal emergency managers.

    Meanwhile, U.S. Transportation Command is moving eight civilian swift-water rescue teams, each with 14 members, from California to Lafayette, La., today to rescue stranded civilians from flooded areas, NORTHCOM officials reported.

    A wide range of other military members and assets were also bound for the Gulf Coast to provide more support, NORTHCOM officials reported.

    The Iwo Jima Amphibious Readiness Group was preparing to sail from Norfolk, Va., loaded with disaster response equipment and was expected to reach the Louisiana coast in five days, officials said. The group consists of USS Iwo Jima, USS Shreveport, USS Tortuga and USNS Arctic.

    The hospital ship USNS Comfort was preparing to leave Baltimore to bring medical assistance to the Gulf region and was expected to reach the area in seven days, officials said.

    Plans were being made bring USS Grapple, a Navy rescue and salvage vessel, to the region to support maritime and underwater survey and salvage operations.

    NORTHCOM also established federal operational staging areas at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.; Naval Air Station Meridian, Miss.; Barksdale Air Force Base, La.; Alexandria, La.; and Fort Polk, La., to expedite the movement of relief supplies and emergency personnel to affected areas, officials reported.

    In addition, NORTHCOM liaisons are operating in Clanton, Ala.; Baton Rouge, La.; and Jackson, Miss., to coordinate efforts between the command, other DoD elements and FEMA.

    Standing Joint Forces Headquarters North will provide an augmentation cell and its command-and-control vehicle to Joint Task Force Katrina, and JTF Civil Support will provide a joint planning augmentation cell, officials said.

    Meanwhile, in Colorado Springs, Colo., NORTHCOM's Joint Operations Center remains on 24-hour duty to expedite any additional requests for help from FEMA representatives, officials said.

    FEMA: Life Safety Tops FEMA Priorities, Supplies Pour In

    Michael D. Brown, Department of Homeland Security’s Principal Federal Officer for Hurricane Katrina response and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, announced that federal resources and support are continuing for states impacted by Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating hurricanes to hit the United States.

    “The priority at this time is to meet the immediate life saving and life sustaining needs of victims in the impacted areas,” said Brown. “FEMA, along with other federal partners and state governments, is coordinating a massive mobilization of resources for urban search and rescue efforts, housing, food and medical care.”

    Federal response activities include:

  • As of early August 31, more than 54,000 people were in 317 shelters. FEMA is working with a multi-state housing task force to address expected continued sheltering and eventual housing needs. More than 82,000 meals have been served in the impacted areas.
  • More than 1,700 trucks have been mobilized through federal, state and contract sources to supply ice, water and supplies. These supplies and equipment are being moved into the hardest hit areas as quickly as possible, especially water, ice, meals, medical supplies, and generators. It may, however, take several days for supplies and equipment to reach all victims because of damaged and closed roads and bridges.
  • Eighteen of FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue task forces and two Incident Support Teams are working in Louisiana and Mississippi Eight swift water teams from California are also deployed making a total of 1,200 people conducting search and rescue missions. All 28 of FEMA’s teams are activated for response, with the balance staged, enroute or mobilized.
  • Fifty-one teams from the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) have been deployed, including five Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) that are supporting New Orleans medical facilities and hospitals not fully operational. These teams have truckloads of medical equipment and supplies with them and are trained to handle trauma, pediatrics, surgery and mental health problems. Additional teams are staged in Anniston, Ala.; Camp Shelby, Miss.; and Baton Rogue, La., and will move out as conditions permit.
  • NDMS has identified 2,600 hospital beds in a 12-state area around the affected area and is working with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to move patients to these facilities.
  • USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is providing food at shelters and mass feeding sites and issuing emergency food stamps, infant formula and food packages to households in need.
  • FEMA is coordinating logistics with the U.S. Department of Transportation and Louisiana National Guard in support of the ground evacuation of refugees sheltered at the Superdome in New Orleans to the Houston Astrodome in Harris County, Texas.
  • A team of 66 transportation experts is supporting state and local officials in the damage assessment of highways, railroads, airports, transit systems, ports and pipelines. The Department of Transportation is supporting detour planning and critical transportation system repairs.

  • Thursday, September 1 (3 days after landfall)

    DoD: Military Hurricane Relief Focuses on Saving Lives, Reducing Suffering

    Military support for the hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast intensified today as more troops and assets arrived in the region, where responders are focusing on saving lives and relieving suffering among thousands of the hurricane’s victims, the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina told Pentagon reporters today.

    Speaking to reporters by satellite phone from Biloxi-Gulfport (Miss.) Regional Airport, Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore outlined details of a massive DoD effort to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency, state governors, and other federal, state and civil authorities in the hurricane-stricken region.

    More than 13,000 Army and Air National Guard members were on state active duty this morning in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, a number expected to surge to more than 20,000 by the day’s end, National Guard Bureau officials reported.

    Honore said the National Guard currently has 4,700 National Guardsmen on the ground in Louisiana and 2,700 in Mississippi. In Louisiana, those numbers will increase to 7,400 later today and 8,600 by Sept. 2, he said. In Mississippi, 6,000 guardsmen will be on duty by nightfall and 9,500 by Sept. 2.

    Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita told reporters today the total National Guard contribution to the effort is likely to spike closer to 30,000 in the days ahead.

    Many of those troops will be dedicated to the law-enforcement mission, helping local and state law-enforcement officials in maintaining security, he said. Unlike federal troops, the guardsmen operate under their state governors’ authority and are not subject to laws that prevent active-duty troops from performing law enforcement in the United States, U.S. Northern Command officials explained.

    In addition, more than 7,000 active-duty troops, mostly Navy, were also supporting hurricane-relief operations in the region, a number defense officials acknowledged will increase as required.

    USS Harry S. Truman, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, was preparing to leave Norfolk, Va., today to serve as a command center and afloat staging base, Lt. Trey Brown, a Navy spokesman, confirmed. Truman is expected to carry additional helicopters from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., to support search-and-rescue operations.

    USS Whidbey Island, a dock landing ship also based in Norfolk, was also slated to depart for the Gulf today. Once there, it will help move heavy equipment ashore in areas not accessible by land, Brown explained.

    In addition, National Guard troops and elements in every state except Hawaii and Guam were either supporting or poised to support the effort if needed, Army Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told Pentagon reporters Aug. 31.

    The military support is concentrating on three priorities President Bush laid out during an Aug. 31 statement to the nation: first, save lives; second, sustain lives with food, water, shelter and medical supplies; and finally, execute a comprehensive recovery effort.

    Toward that end, Honore said, the primary emphasis is on conducting search-and-rescue missions and providing other life-saving support, such as getting people to the medical care they need. Equally critical, he said, is getting food and drinkable water to those left homeless by Katrina.

    The task force is also helping the Louisiana National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency evacuate New Orleans residents taking refuge at the city’s Superdome and move them to the Houston Astrodome.

    U.S. Transportation Command is transporting some 2,500 patients from New Orleans International Airport to federal coordinating centers as part of the Defense Department’s extensive support for the hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast, U.S. Northern Command officials reported.

    Military support for search-and-rescue efforts continues throughout the region. Today, four MH-53 Sea Stallion and two HH-60 Seahawk helicopters from USS Bataan were flying medical-evacuation and search-and-rescue missions in Louisiana.

    Honore told Pentagon reporters today he’s ordered the Bataan to move to Biloxi, Miss., to support search-and-rescue efforts in Mississippi, where he said the disaster had spread over a far larger area than in Louisiana, leaving many areas isolated.

    Three helicopters from the Army’s 3rd Corps at Fort Hood, Texas, are in Baton Rouge, La., and two more are in Mississippi supporting search-and-rescue missions and damage assessments. Another five helicopters from the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., and the 347th Rescue Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., are also in Mississippi continuing searches and rescues, officials said.

    U.S. Transportation Command also flew eight swift-water rescue teams from California to Lafayette, La. These civilian volunteer teams are trained to rescue stranded people from flooded areas.

    High Speed Vessel Swift was also in the waters off Louisiana in anticipation of filling requests for help by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, officials said.

    Meanwhile, more help is on the way. The Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group is sailing from Norfolk and expected to be operating off the Louisiana coast beginning Sept. 4, officials said. The strike group includes USS Iwo Jima, USS Shreveport USS Tortuga and USNS Arctic.

    The hospital ship USNS Comfort is slated to leave its Baltimore port Sept. 2, to reach the hurricane region by Sept. 8 to provide critical medical support, Air Force Brig. Gen. Terry Scherling, deputy director of antiterrorism and homeland defense for the Joint Staff, told reporters Aug. 31.

    Four HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters from the 55th Rescue Squadron are slated to leave Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Sept. 2 to provide additional search-and-rescue support in Mississippi, Air Force officials reported.

    The Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., started generating missions for Air Mobility Command aircrews to fly supporting relief efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi, Air Force officials said.

    In addition, plans are being made to deploy USS Grapple to the region to help with maritime and underwater survey and salvage operations, NORTHCOM officials reported.

    Joint Task Force Katrina continued setting up its operation today at Camp Shelby, Miss., to provide command and control of DoD assets supporting recovery and relief efforts along the Gulf Coast.

    Federal operational staging areas set up at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.; Naval Air Station Meridian, Miss.; Barksdale Air Force Base, La.; Alexandria, La.; and Fort Polk, La., are helping expedite the movement of relief supplies and emergency personnel into the affected areas, officials said.

    Joint Forces Command is also providing DoD-leased property at the former England Air Force Base, La., as an intermediate staging base to support hurricane response in Louisiana. The airfield will serve as a staging point for National Guard troops arriving from other states to join the hurricane relief effort.

    Liaisons are also based in Clanton, Ala., Baton Rouge; and Jackson, Miss., to coordinate operations among U.S. Northern Command, other DoD elements and FEMA.

    Honore said DoD’s contribution to the overall effort is expected to get stronger every day as more forces and their equipment pour into the region.

    “A lot of people need help, and our job is to try and bring that help to them, working in support of the state agencies and the lead federal agency, FEMA,” he said.

    [Ed - here we seem to see the first major influx of additional military personnel. It is now three days after the disaster struck. The active-duty military (NORTHCOM) has 7,000 troops on the scene, primarily engaged in search and rescue, and assisting evacuation. Presumably most are from the Navy and Coast Guard, with some aviation support from the Army and Air Force. There are about an equal number (7,400) National Guard troops on the ground, operating under state control in LA and MS, with the numbers set to almost double within two days. Because only these troops are legally allowed to perform needed law-enforcement in the wake of the NOPD's collapse, they are presumably less able to conduct other relief duties.]

    DoD: Defense Leaders Define Military Security Duties During Katrina Response

    The National Guard troops reporting for duty in the Gulf region to help maintain security are trained professionals, many who serve as civilian law enforcement officers when not on military duty, the chief of the National Guard Bureau told reporters today.

    Army Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum said the Guard forces aren’t simply troops with no police skills pulled into the mission; they’re bringing solid expertise to the mission and an understanding that they’re supporting existing law enforcement authorities, not replacing them.

    “They are military police, trained badge-carrying law enforcement officers that discharge their duties when called to active duty, both here at home or overseas,” he said. “Many of these people are civilian law enforcement officers. When they are not in military uniform, they’re in civilian law enforcement uniform. So they come with great expertise and great sensitivity to the fact that they are there in support of the existing law enforcement agency.”

    An estimated 1,400 National Guard military police – a force the size of the entire New Orleans Police Department -- are arriving in New Orleans today, with an equal number to arrive Sept. 2 and 3, Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul McHale said during a Department of Homeland Security news briefing on hurricane-relief operations.

    There, they will join 2,800 National Guard police already on the ground to help maintain security, prevent looting and control what Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff called “isolated incidents of criminality.”

    Chertoff confirmed that a National Guard soldier was shot in the leg in New Orleans Aug. 31. The shooter was arrested, Chertoff said.

    Blum emphasized that the Guard is not enforcing martial law, as some media outlets have reported. “This is helping a police force that is overstretched with the extraordinary challenge that it’s facing,” he said.

    The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits active-duty forces from conducting law enforcement operations, but does not cover National Guard members operating under their state governors’ control. This enables Guard forces, who often come from the communities they are serving, to work side by side with law enforcement officials in ways active-duty forces simply can’t, McHale said.

    Friday, September 2 (4 days after landfall)

    FEMA: FEMA Urges Patience While Search Continues for Stranded Victims and Supplies Stream In

    Michael D. Brown, Department of Homeland Security's Principal Federal Officer for Hurricane Katrina response and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, called for patience in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

    "Response operations are being conducted over a disaster area of nearly 90,000 square miles - the biggest single disaster response in our nation's history. This is a catastrophic event, and it takes time to get assets to victims over this large area," said Brown. "We ask for patience from individuals who may be uncomfortable but are safe while we conduct search and rescue efforts for those who are stranded and without commodities."

    To date, Federal response activities include:

  • The sheltering and care of more than 91,000 hurricane victims. FEMA is supporting state partners, the American Red Cross and voluntary agencies, in ensuring that victims of the storms are in safe shelters with essential life-sustaining commodities. As of today, people are in 275 shelters in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.
  • The rescue of more than 4,800 people by FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) teams, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other federal, state and local rescue teams. All 28 of FEMA's US&R task forces have been deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina.
  • Fourteen task forces and two Incident Support Teams are working in Louisiana and Mississippi and the remaining task forces are enroute. Eight swift water teams from California are also deployed making a total of approximately 1,800 US&R responding to this disaster.
  • The deployment of nearly 1,200 National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) personnel to support medical facilities and hospitals in Louisiana and Mississippi which are not fully operational. Teams are staged near disaster areas for immediate and rapid deployment further into the disaster zone once it is safe to do so. NDMS teams are also coordinating the transport of medical needs victims from New Orleans to Houston.
  • The coordination of nearly 16,000 law enforcement personnel including National Guardsmen, and federal, state and local police officers being sent to the stricken areas.
  • Convoys of food, water and ice which are arriving hourly in impacted areas.
  • The evacuation of thousands from New Orleans to Texas. FEMA has contracted for more than 650 buses to expedite the state-ordered evacuation.
  • President Bush has authorized 100-percent reimbursement to Louisiana for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance. The government normally pays 75 percent of these costs.

  • DoD: Full-Scale Defense Department Hurricane Response Continues

    Military support for the Hurricane Katrina response focused today on continuing to evacuate people stranded along the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast and getting food, water and medical care to the storm's victims.

    Thousands of additional National Guard troops poured into the region today, many of them military police helping provide security and restore law and order so the relief operation could continue, National Guard Bureau officials said.

    President Bush, speaking at the White House before leaving for the region, acknowledged that results of the national response are "not acceptable," but promised that millions of gallons of water, tons of food and other aid are surging toward the area.

    Bush planned to make stops in Mobile, Ala.; Biloxi, Miss.; and New Orleans to thank relief workers for their Herculean efforts and reassure those displaced by the hurricane that more help is on the way.

    Meanwhile, efforts were under way today to distribute the 9.3 million individually packaged military rations provided by the Defense Logistics Agency.

    Officials are working to assure a "continued flow" of rations and water to staging areas set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Army Col. Robbie Woods, chief of U.S. Northern Command's logistics plans and operations division, said Sept. 1. "The trucks keep rolling out," he said.

    Six hundred 25,000-pound sandbags were delivered to the Gulf Coast on Sept. 1, with another 200 expected today as part of the effort to repair broken levees.

    More than 400 members of the Army Corps of Engineers were on site, working to repair the levee system in New Orleans and removing floodwaters from the city, Army Lt. Gen. Carl Strock told Pentagon reporters today.

    Strock, the Army's chief of engineers, said the Corps also is working on plans to establish temporary housing for thousands of displaced residents and working to restore navigation in the area.

    But the primary focus remained on life-saving efforts in the hurricane-struck area. The U.S. Coast Guard reported rescuing more than 3,000 people off rooftops and flooded neighborhoods since the hurricane made landfall. In addition, 113 DoD helicopters, about half from the National Guard and half from active-duty Navy, Army and Air Force units, were continuing to support search and recovery missions today.

    U.S. Transportation Command is providing medical airlift support for patients in need of medical care. Among units supporting that effort are two aeromedical evacuation crews from the 932nd Airlift Wing at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Air Force officials said.

    USNS Comfort was slated to leave its Baltimore port today to provide critically needed medical capabilities and hospital beds to the region. Initially, some 270 medical personnel, most of them from the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., will operate the ship's medical treatment facility, Military Sealift Command officials said.

    The carrier USS Harry S. Truman and dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island also are en route to the region to support operations, as well as the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group. One of the group's ships, USNS Arctic, already is on station providing fuel and supplies for naval support efforts, Navy officials said.

    USS Grapple also is on the way, with 31 drivers aboard to assist with maritime and underwater survey operations.

    The Air Force is supporting airlift missions in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, delivering goods, water and critical supplies, Air Force officials reported. As of Sept. 1, the Air Force had moved more than 190 tons of relief supplies and support equipment, along with almost 200 passengers and 54 medical patients.

    A 105-member "Red Horse" engineer team from Hurlburt Field, Fla., was lending its expertise in disaster recovery of facilities and infrastructure to the response effort.

    In addition, Air Force combat controllers and a medical team were working to reopen New Orleans International Airport, a critical air transport hub, Air Force officials said. The 621st Contingency Response Wing from McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., was tackling the task of establishing bare-base airfield operations.

    In Lafayette, La., the 615th Contingency Response Wing, from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., was working to reopen the regional airfield as a potential staging area for incoming cargo and troops, Air Force officials reported.

    A U-2 surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft from Beale Air Force Base, Calif., flew over the region to take high-resolution photos to help FEMA assist with disaster-relief efforts. The media processing facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, the only U.S. government facility dedicated to processing and duplicating U-2 imagery, is processing the imagery, Air Force officials said.

    Woods said she expects NORTHCOM's supportive role to Hurricane Katrina to continue to grow as requirements increase for temporary housing and medical support for victims. "We think the sustainment mission is just beginning," she said.

    Meanwhile, Army and Air National Guard members operating under their state governors' authority continued to make up the biggest percentage of the DoD response to Hurricane Katrina.

    The Guard presence in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida jumped to 15,000 troops today, a number National Guard Bureau officials confirmed will double in the days ahead.

    These troops are assisting in missions ranging from assisting law-enforcement agencies with traffic control and security, transporting and distributing food, water and ice, conducting searches and rescues, providing generator support, and carrying out other missions to protect life and property, National Guard Bureau officials said.

    More than 320,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen from every state, as well as their equipment, are available to support emergency operations if needed, thanks to formal agreements between state governors, officials said.

    National Guard: Guard Pours Into Gulf Region, Engineers Focus on Draining New Orleans

    As National Guard vehicles forded floodwaters in downtown New Orleans today delivering critical relief supplies and helping law enforcement officials restore order, workers from the Army Corps of Engineers were focused on draining the city and repairing gaps in its levee system.

    At the same time, Corps of Engineers planners are looking at plans to create a city of temporary housing for as many as 50,000 displaced people, the chief of engineers told Pentagon reporters today.

    Army Lt. Gen. Carl Strock said this city is likely to be similar to the trailer parks the Corps built in Florida after last year's devastating string of hurricanes.

    Today, more than 5,000 National Guard troops are flowing into the hurricane-struck region to augment the 15,000 already on the ground, Army Maj. Gen. Ronald Young from the National Guard Bureau's Joint Staff told reporters during a Department of Homeland Security conference call.

    By the day's end, almost 12,000 National Guard troops will be on duty in Louisiana and almost 8,000 in Mississippi, he said. An additional 2,500 Guard members are supporting relief efforts in Florida and Alabama.

    Another 4,000 Guard troops will move into the area Sept. 3, and by late Sept. 4, 26,500 troops will be on duty in Louisiana and Mississippi, he said.

    Acting under their state governors' authority, the guardsmen are focusing on law enforcement support and general security, Young said, while carrying out other missions to say lives and relieve suffering: search-and-rescue missions, medical support, shelter support and logistical delivery among them.

    Two divisional headquarters are moving into the region to work for the state adjutants general and facilitate the response effort, he said.

    While the National Guard continues to funnel additional forces and equipment into the region, its leaders are looking at plans to sustain that support, probably through troop rotations and replacements after about three weeks, Young said.

    FEMA: Critical Commodities Continue Into Disaster Areas While Government Responds to Challenges

    FEMA, along with its federal partners, state governments and voluntary agencies, are all working to keep meals ready to eat (MREs), food, water, ice, medical supplies, generators, and other critical commodities flowing into hurricane-hit areas, said Michael D. Brown, Department of Homeland Security’s Principal Federal Officer for Hurricane Katrina response and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    “This is a disaster of catastrophic magnitude like none we’ve seen before,” said Brown. “It has created challenges that we are working around the clock to address and fix. In the meantime, we continue life-saving and sustaining efforts and directing resources to those with the most urgent needs.”

    To date,

  • 15,000 evacuations have been made from the New Orleans Superdome to the Astrodome in Houston and are continuing today to San Antonio for housing at Kelly Air Force Base. Evacuations will continue from Louisiana to Reunion Arena in Dallas, and Lackland AFB, Tex.
  • 2,000 patients have been evacuated from the New Orleans airport. Seven National Disaster Medical Service Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) and 3 strike teams are supporting New Orleans medical facilities and hospitals not fully operational and setting up MASH-style tents. Five DMATs and 5 strike teams are working in medical facilities and hospitals in Gulfport, Biloxi and other areas of Mississippi.
  • Commodities delivered to date include:

  • 1.9 million MREs
  • 6.7 million liters of water
  • 1.7 million pounds of ice
  • More than 600 buses to transport evacuees

  • As of yesterday, there were 204 shelters with a population of 53,004. This number fluctuates daily.
  • More than 170,000 meals a day are being served throughout the affected areas.
  • 14,000 National Guard are on the ground in three states and an additional 1,400 will arrive today and 1,400 on Saturday to assist with security of victims and responders. A total of 27,000 members of the National Guard will be deployed to the affected areas.
  • 200 Border Patrol agents, 200 additional law enforcement officers from other Louisiana jurisdictions and 2,000 officers from neighboring states are assisting in restoring order in the streets of New Orleans.
  • Nearly 500 U.S. Corps of Engineers civilians and soldiers are working on the New Orleans levee breach and coordinating the transport of ice and water.
  • A Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is opening today in Bayou La Batre, Ala., and another tomorrow in Chatom, Ala.
  • FEMA is setting up a Joint Housing Solutions Center to bring together public, private and voluntary agency stakeholders to develop innovative funding and streamlined operational partnerships to address the short and long-term housing needs of disaster victims.
  • More than 7,000 people have been rescued – Urban Search and Rescue task forces have made more than 2,000 rescues and U.S. Coast Guard ships, boats and aircraft have been used to rescue approximately 5,000 people.