STAMFORD, CT—Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Sunday issued the following statement on the impact Hurricane Irene has had on Connecticut and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s response. The Committee oversees issues regarding FEMA and the federal government’s disaster response operations.
“I was briefed this afternoon on Hurricane Irene by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and thanked him for a job well done. FEMA, along with its state and local partners, was ready to respond to Hurricane Irene’s damage in Connecticut and across the East Coast, and was proactive in doing so. Their ready stance minimized the potential harm to millions of people. Much credit must also go to Governor Malloy and emergency responders across his administration and Connecticut for seeking help before the storm ever hit and getting out in front of the response. Of course this could not eliminate the damage and in Connecticut alone hundreds of thousands of people are still without power and many are dealing with the impacts and threats of serious flooding. It is critically important that Connecticut residents listen to local officials on when it is safe to go outside or return home so that they can effectively manage the response and first phases of recovery.
“Administrator Fugate and the rest of his team showed this weekend that we have a new FEMA, as envisioned in the Post-Katrina legislation which Senator Susan Collins and I coauthored to address the problems laid bare in the response to Hurricane Katrina. This new FEMA is much stronger than the one we had during Hurricane Katrina. The full extent of Hurricane Irene's damage is still unknown but on the eve of the sixth anniversary of Katrina’s landfall, it is heartening to see FEMA and the country as a whole has learned many important lessons from that tragic chapter in American history. So far the job has been well done, but we are far from finished and must make sure that we continue to get resources to hard-hit areas so people can recover as quickly as possible.”