FEMA juggles pandemic and storm response
While the Federal Emergency Management Agency is focusing on the coronavirus pandemic, severe weather is striking the South.
At least one suspected tornado touched down Thursday evening. Seven people have been killed in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana.
“This response to COVID-19 is historic,” said FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor. “We are going to apply those lessons learned, whether it’s flooding, hurricanes or tornadoes, to how to operate in those conditions”
Gaynor says the agency is prepared to handle multiple disasters at the same time, but the virus will impact some standard procedures.
“Typically, in a hurricane, we would move people from their homes that are at risk to a shelter,” he said. “But now we have to take that into consideration. How much space do we need in a shelter? What are all the conditions that have to be there, to make sure that we are socially distancing and that we have good hygiene in shelters?”
Gaynor says FEMA is preparing some planning guidance for states on how to operate during hurricane season and the COVID-19 pandemic.