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Volume 30, Issue 3

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Tuesday, 12 September 2017 17:48

Record-Breaking Hurricanes Stretch and Strain FEMA

(TNS) — WASHINGTON — The devastating paths of hurricanes Irma and Harvey have stretched the Federal Emergency Management Agency to a point unlike any in recent memory as the country looks to recover from the damage caused by record-breaking winds and flooding across Florida, Southeast Texas and South Carolina, not to mention wildfires in the West.

The two storms have illustrated how the disaster agency — unable to be everywhere at once — has been forced to become more nimble. It has evolved from a command-and-control operation into coordinator that oversees and encourages help from outside groups, such as the private sector and nonprofits, and regular citizens in Houston who were called on to break out their canoes to help stranded neighbors when traditional search and rescue teams couldn't reach them.

"You didn't use to see that 10 to 15 years ago," said Katie Fox, acting deputy administrator at FEMA. "Government folks have recognized that there is a huge amount of capability out there in the population. Engaging those folks is a huge help. It often used to be seen as a hindrance that you'd have to manage."

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http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/Record-Breaking-Hurricanes-Stretch-and-Strain-FEMA.html