The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Sunday that President Donald J. Trump made additional disaster assistance available to the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands by authorizing an increase in federal funding for certain eligible costs.
The President’s action today authorizes 90 percent federal cost share for debris removal, including direct federal assistance; and a 100 percent federal cost share for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, for 30 days from the start of the incident period, and then a 90 percent federal cost share thereafter.
Under the President’s major disaster declaration issued for the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 7, 2017, federal funding was made available for public assistance, hazard mitigation, and other needs assistance at 75 percent federal funding of total eligible costs.
More than 7,400 Army personnel, including active duty, reserve and National Guardsoldiers, as well asU.S. Army Corps of Engineerscivilian members are involved in or prepared to support state, local and territory agencies or other federal agencies as part of Hurricane Irma relief operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the continental United States, including Florida, according to a statement released by Army public affairs officials.
Sunday morning, Hurricane Irma’s strong winds and whipping rain are impacting the Florida Keys and the southern Florida mainland, according to news reports. At this time, governors are best postured to determine the needs of their residents and to establish response priorities, and are currently using Army National Guard members to help meet those needs, according to the statement. The Army is also prepositioning equipment and personnel in the affected areas to ensure adequate resources are readily available if or when needed.
Arrayed Army Assets
Here are a few highlights as of 5 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Sept. 9, 2017:
— The current Total Army response for Hurricane Irma is more than 7,400 soldiers and Army Corps of Engineers civilians in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the continental United States, including Florida.
— The Army has more than 140 aircraft, 650 trucks, 150 boats prepared; and additional resources as necessary — particularly trucks — on standby to support response efforts if called upon.
— Army National Guard soldiers from Florida, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are currently on State Active Duty status and are either responding, or prepared to respond to each governor’s priorities. Additionally, National Guard units in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are conducting routine inactive duty training, which they will utilize to prepare for a Hurricane Irma response, if required.
— In Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Sept. 8, which will allow Virginia Army National Guard soldiers to respond and support other states if or when called upon.
— The Army Corps of Engineers is already working in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to assist with power restoration efforts and have teams on stand-by to assist in Florida if or when needed. The Corps is also monitoring conditions at the Herbert Hoover Dike (Lake Okeechobee) and will continue to provide expert status updates.
— The Army also has active-duty officers assigned with FEMA Regions II, IV, and V Headquarters to assist with providing expert military advice on storm response efforts.
Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He's formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, a columnist, and a contributor to the nationally syndicated talk-radio program, the Chuck Wilder Show..
He's former chief of police at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter's University and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.