Earlier this week, Hurricane Sandy brought heavy rains, major flooding, and damaging winds to the Northeast, parts of the Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest. During a Hurricane like Sandy, our role as a key support agency for the federal government is more important than ever. Under federal emergency plans, we are responsible for providing FEMA and other agencies what they need to work and meet the challenges presented during an emergency. GSA offers several services to assist in a disaster such as this.
The GSA Disaster Relief Program is providing federal agencies, as well as local and state governments, quick access to disaster and emergency related supplies, equipment, and services. For example, first responder equipment, emergency food supplies, or medicine can be quickly accessed through GSA. We are also providing access to this program to the Red Cross, to assist in their relief efforts. Our IT and telecommunications services are also available for disaster relief and emergency response efforts. GSA is also monitoring thousands of federal facilities in the path of the storm and employees have been working long hours to assess any damage and ultimately return all locations to full operation.
During the Hurricane, GSA employees have been working tirelessly to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our partner agencies. In areas affected directly by Hurricane Sandy, more than 4,000 GSA employees have been teleworking to maintain the continuity of our operations. Some employees braved the storm to protect federal facilities; others contributed to emergency response operations; still others did what was necessary to meet the needs of first responders. For example, in New York City, on the roughest night of the storm, GSA employees opened up the Brooklyn Courthouse to house some of the NYC emergency workers.
All have shown their commitment and dedication to our mission, the agencies we support and the American people, even, in some cases, in the face of personal hardship.
Here are just a few more examples of what we do and our commitment to service:
- At the request of FEMA, GSA procured 1,000 chainsaws to support Pennsylvania’s recovery efforts.
- GSA employees have already arranged for 34 shipments that are in transit for items such as sheeting, generators, pumps, portable toilets and handwashing stations.
- Currently, GSA is working to secure 100,000 square feet of office space for FEMA’s joint field office space in the Northeast.
- We are also working to identify options for pumping services that will help clear New York City tunnels.
Hurricane Sandy has done untold damage and has impacted millions in its path. I want to assure the American people that all of us will be doing everything we can in the days and weeks ahead to assist in the recovery.