One month after the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) emphasized the agency's commitment to assist all those affected for as long as there is need, reports a recent FEMA press release.
"Over the past 30 days, the people of this country have shown great determination and strength," said Director Joe M. Allbaugh. "But there are still many people in need of help. We will continue to be with them every step of the way as they move forward with the challenge of putting their lives back together."
A summary of response and recovery operations as of October 11, 2001 follows:
On Sept. 11, President Bush signed a major disaster declaration for the five boroughs of New York City. The declaration was later amended to include Individual and Public Assistance for 10 additional New York counties. Subsequently, Public Assistance to reimburse the cost of emergency services was granted to all counties in the state. Operations in New York since September 11 include:
FEMA provided 1,240 personnel and equipment to support the search and rescue effort for 25 days. Twenty-one of FEMA's 28 Urban Search and Rescue teams worked at the World Trade Center site during the first month. In addition, FEMA medical, mental health and veterinary personnel working at ground zero and throughout the city have provided over 7,200 medical, 4,000 mental health and 934 veterinary treatments.
FEMA tasked more than $100 million in mission assignments to other federal agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Defense to assist in the response effort.
The USACE continues to provide technical assistance to the city's debris removal operation that, to date, has resulted in 220,695 tons of debris having been moved to the Staten Island landfill. USACE structural engineers continue to provide technical guidance on structural integrity/stabilization of buildings and subterranean infrastructure using mapping and remote sensing. The USACE dredging mission resulted in 59,300 cubic yards of material being removed around Pier 6 to allow expedited debris removal.
The Environmental Protection Agency continue to monitor and dispose of debris as necessary, collect water and air samples as needed, operate wash stations and supervac public areas as requested in the affected area.
More than 2,000 federal personnel have been deployed to support the recovery effort. More than 1,000 employees remain in New York, of which 538 are FEMA disaster assistance specialists.
A Disaster Assistance Service Center opened at 141 Worth St. in Lower Manhattan on Sept. 28. Representatives from 26 agencies and organizations offering victim assistance are staffing the center. To date, more than 3,900 World Trade Center victims and their family members have come to the center. Visitors are able to register for city, state and federal assistance programs, receive crisis counseling and speak with staff about the many programs and services available to support their recovery.
More than $22.7 million has been granted to support "Project Liberty," which will provide immediate services through the state's crisis counseling program for those needing mental health assistance.
Twenty FEMA community relations teams are working alongside city, state and Department of Justice staff in Lower Manhattan to distribute registration, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and crisis counseling information to residents and workers. Additional community relations staff are assisting volunteer operations and human service workers at the Family Assistance Center on Pier 94. Identification of individuals and groups with special needs - mobility, language, older adults or other - is a priority.
To date, 20,413 have called the FEMA teleregistration number. Anyone affected by the WTC disaster is urged to call FEMA's toll-free number to register, 800-462-9029, (TTY 800-462-7585), which begins the flow of federal assistance. Operators are able to refer callers to local and voluntary agencies as well as to the New York Crime Victims Board, 800-247-8035 (TTY 888-289-9747) for assistance under the Department of Justice Victims of Crime Act.
To date, more than $10.7 million in FEMA disaster housing assistance has been provided homeowners and renters affected by the World Trade Center attack. FEMA reports 5,274 completed inspections of residential properties.
The SBA has taken more than 19,000 applications for low-interest loans from homeowners, renters and business owners and approved more than $26 million for disbursement to aid in their rebuilding efforts.
More than $125 million has been approved in federal public assistance to help state and local government rebuild. FEMA will provide technical and financial assistance in the long process of rebuilding infrastructure damaged in attack. Public assistance dollars will be put toward repairing or rebuilding roads, replacing public buildings and repairing utility services.
FEMA's efforts and resources continue to be directed toward helping people recover from the World Trade Center attack. Because FEMA is charged with addressing the long-term consequences of disaster, disaster assistance figures for individuals, businesses and governments is preliminary. The level of federal assistance is expected to grow in all categories as the recovery continues.
On September 21, President Bush signed a major disaster declaration for Arlington County, Va. The declaration followed the President's emergency declaration on September 13 to support immediate response operations and provides assistance to individuals, families, businesses, and local governments affected by the attack.
Five urban search and rescue teams supported the rescue and recovery efforts at the Pentagon, along with the Arlington Fire Department, the Alexandria Fire Department and special operations teams from Fort Meyer and Arlington Fire Department. In addition, three disaster medical assistance teams provided medical assistance at the site.
FEMA has received 38 applications for Public Assistance (infrastructure repair) and has allocated $7.5 million to cover costs.
FEMA's provided technical support to the Department of Defense during recovery operations, and is staffing a disaster field office in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Virginia to coordinate local, state and federal recovery efforts. The Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, SBA, USACE and the American Red Cross jointly located operations at the disaster field office as well.
FEMA is working closely with the Department of Justice's Office for Crime Victims, American Red Cross, Department of Defense and various state and voluntary agencies to provide assistance to families of victims impacted by the Pentagon attack.
FEMA has allocated $1 million in disaster unemployment assistance for self-employed individuals at Reagan National Airport affected by the closing of the airport and the reduced operations since reopening October 4. The assistance supplements existing benefits through state employment agencies for residents of Virginia and surrounding states who lost jobs as a result of the Pentagon attack.
Crisis counseling remains a long-term priority for local, state and federal officials. Two million dollars have been allocated for immediate needs, with an additional $3.3 million allocated for on-going services that will be provided through the National Institute of Mental Health.
More than $2 million is allocated for potential mortgage and rental assistance needs and $750,000 in individual and family grants for emergency needs that include uninsured medical and funeral needs.
The SBA has scheduled two workshops for individuals businesses to obtain information on assistance available. To date, the SBA has approved 7 disaster loans for more than $1 million. In addition to the declarations in New York and Virginia, federal funds were made available by President Bush for New Jersey to cover state and local emergency response costs associated with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Photo courtesy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Washington, D.C.