Transcript: Opening remarks by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate at a Hurricane Sandy press briefing

Transcript of opening remarks by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate at a Hurricane Sandy press briefing on Oct. 30, 2012:

Good afternoon, everybody.

Now that Sandy has transitioned into a post-tropical storm, you are obviously aware of a lot of the damages that occurred last night and the early morning hours due to storm surge and flooding.

We see snow conditions again – blizzard conditions in the Appalachians, particularly in West Virginia, and rather extensive power outages.

Really, the big update today is as the states and locals are rapidly working out rescue operations – President Obama last night after consultations with the Governors of New York and New Jersey rendered a major presidential disaster declaration for emergency protective measures to bring individual assistance for some of the counties in each state that were most heavily impacted.

This is extraordinary in that generally we do more thorough assessment and it’s oftentimes will take longer. But because of the extent of the damages, it was evident to the President in conversations with the Governors that he would do this as a verbal declaration.

Historically, in this administration, we’ve only done this once before and that was in the America Samoas – it was a tsunami.

Today, the response operations in support of state and local governments with priorities on life safety, life sustaining, and the President’s direction to work closely with the utility companies on power restoration. The Department of Energy and other federal agencies – Army Corps of Engineers – working very closely with the Governors as we are working all of the various issues that have come up and continue to come up with the storm.

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