President Barack Obama receives an update on Hurricane Irene in the Situation Room of the White House, August 27, 2011.
Clockwise from left, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; Richard Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security; Nick Shapiro, senior policy advisor to John Brennan; John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security; and Chief of Staff BIll Daley. Onscreen are FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Joing by phone are Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Energy Secretary Steven Chu. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President convened a video teleconference at 10:30AM this morning in the White House Situation Room so that he could receive an update on the impact of Hurricane Irene.
Vice President Biden, Chief of Staff Daley, DHS Secretary Napolitano, Treasury Secretary Geithner, Transportation Secretary LaHood, Energy Secretary Chu, FEMA Administrator Fugate, Homeland Security Advisor Brennan and other senior White House officials participated in the call.
The President was updated on the response and recovery efforts that are currently underway in coordination with state and local officials as well as the status of critical energy and transportation infrastructure in areas that have been impacted as well as areas that continue to be impacted by this storm.
He was updated on FEMA’s support to state and local partners as important damage assessments begin in areas where the storm has passed.
The President asked Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate to continue to be in touch with Governors and local leadership up and down the East Coast. The President directed that all federal efforts on response and recovery operations underway continue, and he will reconvene the team this evening.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said Sunday that federal, state and local governments are working together better in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“We’ve learned to really work as one team, not as separate levels of government, and to put everything together early before the storm hits,” Fugate said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I think the big [lesson] — and this is one Congress recognized and passed the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act – was that we shouldn’t have to wait until a state is overwhelmed to begin getting ready, that we should be able to go in before the governor’s made a request, have supplies ready, have our teams in the state and work as one team, not waiting for damages to occur and that formal request to come,” Fugate said.