President Obama continues to receive the latest updates throughout the day on our preparation and response efforts to Hurricane Matthew.
The President received an update today from Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco on the latest impacts from Hurricane Matthew and ongoing federal response and recovery efforts. The President also spoke with North Carolina Governor McCrory to discuss the ongoing response to flooding across the state and reiterated that all necessary federal resources be directed to help North Carolina and all impacted states response and recover from the storm.
So here's what you need to know.
Recovery efforts are under way in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina and response efforts continue in North Carolina, including thousands of water rescues supported by FEMA, Department of Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Coast Guard responders. Flooding in the Carolinas is creating dangerous and life-threatening conditions into the next week. The President reiterated that all necessary federal resources be directed to help these impacted states respond effectively to the storm. The President continues to stress that the response to the storm is far from over and the danger continues from flooding for the coming days, and urges those in the potential path of the flooding to continue to listen to local officials. The President also expressed that his thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives from the storm, and for all those who have been affected. The President will continue to be regularly briefed on the response to Hurricane Matthew this week.
The President has declared that a major disaster exists in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina -- he has ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local response efforts. As the President made clear this week, residents of the impacted areas should follow the guidance of emergency response officials and should be taking this storm seriously. The President urged everyone in the potential path of the storm to monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information.
Evacuations for coastal counties in South Carolina and along rivers in North Carolina are in effect. Listen to the directions of your state, tribal, and local officials in your area. If you have evacuated, do not return until local officials have stated that it is safe to return back to your community.
For flooding information specific to your area in the United States, please monitor your local National Weather Service forecast office at weather.gov.
If your community is in the path of the hurricane, there are steps you can take right now to make sure you, your family, and your home is prepared.
Here are 5 basic preparedness tips you can follow:
Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
Put together a disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate.
If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
Make a family emergency communication plan. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to think about the following situations and plan just in case.
Shelters are beginning to open across the potentially impacted states. Download the FEMA mobile app for shelter information, disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips, in English and in Spanish. The app provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.
Find out what else you can and should do here: Ready.gov
USAID Administrator Gayle Smith made the following statement on international humanitarian relief efforts in response to the devestation caused by Hurricane Matthew:
"As countries throughout the Caribbean and humanitarian agencies on the ground begin to assess casualties and damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, USAID joins millions of Americans and people around the world in expressing our deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones. The United States is committed to supporting our neighbors in the aftermath of this disaster, and we are working around the clock to save lives and meet urgent needs.
"USAID is airlifting more than 480 metric tons of relief supplies to Haiti including 40,000 blankets, 20,000 hygiene kits, nearly 18,700 kitchen sets, and 3,500 rolls of heavy duty plastic sheeting to provide for emergency shelter needs. These supplies, which will be transported aboard five cargo planes, are expected to benefit up to 100,000 people.
"USAID is working with the Government of Haiti and local non-governmental organizations to continually assess the damage and ensure life-saving emergency relief reaches people in need, especially in the hard-hit regions along the country's southwest peninsula. At USAID's request, the Department of Defense is providing airlift and logistical capabilities in order to get critical humanitarian assistance to areas cut off by the storm.
"On Thursday, USAID conducted a three-and-a-half hour aerial assessment of the most affected regions aboard a U.S. Coast Guard aircraft. The team flew over Haiti's southwest peninsula and observed significant damage to houses, public buildings, and roads due to heavy rains in the Sud region, as well as severe flood damage in Grand'Anse.
"USAID is proud to represent the good will and compassion of the American people as we help our neighbors in the Caribbean get through this devastating hurricane."
Americans who want to help can visit the Center for International Disaster Assistance at www.cidi.org to learn more.
Follow along in real-time to get the latest on Hurricane Matthew, where it's headed, and what you need to know to keep yourself and your family safe.
Sean Griffin is the Director for Incident Management Integration Policy in the National Security Council.