We received the following update today from FEMA. They asked that we share it with all of you.
The top priority of the federal government is pushing forward to provide life safety and life sustaining resources to the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. FEMA and its federal partners continue 24-hour operations to conduct life-saving rescue and medical missions, clear routes of debris, restore emergency communications and power generation, and maintain a heavy flow of meals, water and other commodities for communities. We were here when the storm hit, and we will be here throughout the response and recovery.
We remain committed to put forth the full effort of the federal government to overcome the complex challenges requiring a phased approach to the delivery of personnel, resources, and equipment to move the resources, and provide lodging for responders.
There are more than 12,600 federal staff representing 36 departments and agencies, including more than 800 FEMA personnel, on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands engaged in response and recovery operations from Hurricanes Maria and Irma. Hundreds of additional federal personnel are supporting response and recovery operations through mainland coordination centers and logistics facilities.
Teams are on the ground meeting with survivors, providing meals and water, conducting wellness checks, and connecting families. All municipalities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been reached. FEMA and its federal partners have cleared debris to gain access to ports, airports and roadways; and at the same conducted search and rescue operations, assessed hospitals, and moved meals and water onto and around the island.
It will take time to get power restored to many areas, but work is underway between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Energy, local power authorities, and the private sector to get power restored in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The outpouring of support that is being offered from across the nation, combined with the selfless dedication of volunteers shows the compassion and unity of Americans helping Americans. To donate or volunteer for the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico, contact the voluntary or charitable organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (NVOAD) at www.nvoad.org.
Hospitals: Assessment of the Myra Keating Medical Facility on St. John is complete and repairs to this facility are a top priority.
Medical evacuations continue from the U.S. Virgin Islands for critical need dialysis patients.
Delivery of Commodities: Officials in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico opened points of distribution (POD) in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for survivors to get meals, water, and other commodities.
FEMA, working in coordination with federal partners, provided millions of meals and millions of liters of water to Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Additional meals and water continue to arrive to the islands daily via air and sea.
Communications: Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) communications assets and personnel continue to support the FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT), Urban Search and Rescue (US&R), National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), and other federal teams in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are more than 30 MERS personnel in Puerto Rico and more than 20 MERS personnel in the USVI.
A U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) mobile communications team is in Puerto Rico to help improve communications across the storm-impacted area.
Life Safety and Life Sustaining: The U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority drinking water system is back online, and other drinking water systems on the islands are top priority for receiving generators.
(This does not pertain to those who rely on cisterns for water.)
The U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Waste Management, and USACE are addressing potential public health risks of garbage build up; coordinating route clearance of wires and poles to enable garbage haulers to access the St. Thomas landfill.
The National Guard Bureau (NGB) has thousands of Guard members on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands taking part in security and support operations. The Air National Guard is focused on transporting food, water, and communications capabilities as well as rapidly increasing airlift into affected areas.
Fuel, Transportation, and Debris: St. Croix and St. Thomas report adequate fuel supply on the islands for power generation and response efforts, including gasoline, diesel, and propane.
USACE temporary power response teams are on the ground in Puerto Rico and USVI, assessing power needs and installing generators at critical facilities. Teams have completed more than 170 inspections, and more than 200 assessments have been requested for facilities. Generator installations are underway in both Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, with 20 installations completed.
The federal government is working with its interagency and private sector partners to support availability, transportation and delivery of fuel, based on priorities identified by Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The USACE Blue Roof program is active in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 43 Blue Roofs are installed in the U.S. Virgin Islands to date.
Declarations: President Trump issued major disaster declarations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Additional information for the U.S. Virgin Islands is available at the following locations:
Additional questions can be directed to FEMA Intergovernmental Affairs at 202-285-7835.