Click here to view Disaster News (9-27-21) as a PDF.
DISASTER NEWS (9-27-21)
- Increasing national and regional coverage of COVID booster shots, vaccination rates, and hospital capacity issues.
Hurricane Sam rapidly intensified over the weekend and is now a Category 4 storm. CBS News reports forecasters believe the system has “peaked in intensity” as it moves east-southeast of the Leeward Islands, although there could be some fluctuations in its strength over the next day or so. AccuWeather reports there is growing confidence in the forecast models that Sam will not make a direct hit on the U.S., but the storm will still produce rough surf and rip currents likely to reach much of the eastern coast of the U.S. later this week. The Weather Channel reports Sam is expected to track north of the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands and will move close to Bermuda late in the week.
In Louisiana, CNN reports caskets swept out of their tombs are still scattered around the town of Ironton in Plaquemines Parish almost four weeks after Hurricane Ida. One church official says, “They’re shocked by the magnitude of the destruction, but they’re even more so overwhelmed by their loved ones floating and ending up landing in the streets and people’s yards and on the side of the levee and out in the field, and it’s just, just overwhelming.” Estimates are that between 30 to 40 caskets and vaults were displaced, but the number could be higher. The article notes residents are beginning the grueling process of rebuilding as decisions are made about relocating the caskets. Debris pickup is underway and parish officials have asked FEMA for authorization to remove debris from private property. FEMA is also encouraging residents to apply for housing and other disaster assistance.
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Saturday that President Biden approved his request for 15 more days of federal funding following Hurricanes Laura and Ida. BR Proud (LA) notes Public Assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures will have 100 percent federal funding. The overall federal cost-share for FEMA Public Assistance funding for Hurricane Ida was also increased to 90 percent. Edwards said, “It is a meaningful and important step to help communities across our state recover as much work remains to be done.”
In Michigan, the Detroit News (MI) reports FEMA has expanded assistance to Macomb and Oakland counties after flooding in June. The expansion means individuals in the declared counties are now eligible for assistance such as low-cost loans, temporary housing or home repairs. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer thanked FEMA for reversing its decision in a Saturday statement. Whitmer said, “We are going to do everything in our power to ensure that Michiganders get the assistance they need to recover from these storms.”
A Business Insider opinion article looks at one reporter’s experience with the Isolation Hotel Program that was implemented in April 2020 by NYC Health and Hospitals. The program provides a safe, affordable space for residents and travelers to quarantine. The article says New York operated five hotels at the peak of the pandemic, but hotels were decommissioned as infection rates decreased. Since March 2020, over 24,000 New York residents have checked in, but the hotels have never been at capacity. The article says the program is eligible under FEMA and is free for a 10-night stay with three daily meals, a weekly laundry service, and four outdoor breaks a day. The article notes other major cities like Chicago, Baltimore, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Miami, and cities across California also have similar programs.
Afghan Arrivals Mission
- Afghans arrived near a small Virginia town, exposing two different versions of America (Washington Post)
- In the Philly region, a massive effort to help Afghan families (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Philadelphia International Airport is currently the main hub for Afghan refugees in the U.S. | Today in Pa. (Penn Live)
- Afghan Refugees Make the DMV Their New Home (The Hilltop)
- Walensky: ‘We don’t necessarily have the answer’ for annual boosters (The Hill)
- CDC director admits coronavirus booster messaging led to confusion (Washington Post)
- In a matter of days, Pfizer CEO says they’ll be ready to ask for approval of a Covid-19 vaccine for kids (CNN)
- More hospitals forced to ration care amid delta surge (The Hill)
- ‘The writing is on the wall. Why can’t they read it?’: Teens aren’t getting the Covid-19 vaccine even at clinics meant for them (CNN)
- This Lab Charges $380 for a Covid Test. Is That What Congress Had in Mind? (New York Times)
- Could This Covid Wave Reverse the Recovery? Here’s What to Watch. (New York Times)
Senate: In Session
House: In Session
(Click on links for status/updates)
Hearings/Briefings/Other Events: NSTR