Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Pete T. Gaynor, tour the facilities and meet staff personnel during a visit to FEMA on April 15, 2020. (DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard)

House Homeland Dems Ask FEMA About Ability to Respond to Multiple Disasters During COVID-19

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and the Democratic Members of the Committee, sent a letter to Peter Gaynor, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), raising concerns about the agency’s ability to respond to multiple disasters simultaneously during the COVID-19 pandemic and asking for a briefing on their preparation efforts.  The Atlantic Hurricane Season does not begin until June 1 and there have already been two named storms this month, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicting an above normal season.

“Given these projections, we are concerned about FEMA’s capacity to manage natural disaster preparedness and response efforts during the ongoing pandemic,” the Committee Members write. “Going forward, FEMA needs to take a proactive role in procuring the staffing and resources necessary to respond, keeping in mind that conventional disaster response strategies, such as communal shelters and volunteer recovery and supply distribution efforts, could pose increased health and safety risks during the pandemic.”

Link to letter

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