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Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Gustav’

Returning Home

September 26th, 2008

Earlier this week, residents returned to their homes on Galveston Island for the first time since Hurricane Ike roared through the Texas coast. For many families, they came home to a scene of devastation, destruction, and loss. Please join me in praying that they will have hope for the future, wisdom as to what to do next, and strength for the long hard days ahead.

One of our teammates takes applications for Blue Roofs in Texas

One of our teammates takes applications for Blue Roofs in Texas

Returning home is the first step towards recovering from this challenging event. Their return would not be possible if not for the efforts of hundreds of dedicated men and women of our Corps Family across the nation who so worked hard with our federal, state, and local partners.

Together, we installed generators to provide critical power, delivered life-sustaining ice and water, and provided valuable temporary roofing and debris removal services and expertise.

To the volunteers who deployed to assist our Galveston teammates, and those back at home who carried a little more weight to continue your missions, I’m grateful for your hard work and determination. It’s moments and days like these that highlight why I am so honored to be a part of this great family.

We've contracted crews and more than 80 trucks to help clear interstate of debris

We've contracted crews and more than 80 trucks to help clear interstate of debris

We still have a long way to go to fully recover from Hurricanes Ike, Gustav and Katrina, but days like today serve as a reminder that together we can overcome anything!

Keep on BUILDING STRONG.

Emergency Response, Gulf Coast Recovery, Levees , ,

Going Above and Beyond

September 11th, 2008

As we speak, Hurricane Gustav recovery operations are in full swing and Hurricane Ike is bearing down on the Texas Coast…

The constructed portions of the Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction System in New Orleans performed admirably- just as they were designed to do.  We have completed 120 of 350 contracts needed to bring the system to the 100 year level, but we still have a lot of work to do.

Our team in New Orleans under the leadership of Karen Durham-Aguilara, COL Al Lee, and COL Jeff Bedey have done amazingly well in getting us to this point – and truly helped reduce the risk for the people of New Orleans.

At the peak of Hurricane Gustav’s attack on the Gulf Coast, a member of New Orleans District demonstrated exceptional selfless service and personal courage.

Billy Zar, the captain of one of our debris-removal tug boats, and his team saw a 500-gallon fuel tank floating in dangerously high water in the Industrial Canal. They knew that if the tank were to hit the flood wall or other important structures, there could have been grave consequences.   So, acting on instinct and courage – and taking the appropriate safety precautions (including a life line tied to him, manned by his teammates), Billy jumped into the water and corralled the 500-gallon tank, possibly saving countless lives and protecting property.  Check out the whole story here.

Truth be known, he went into the water at least three times that day.  His heroism and the support of his team are testimony to our most valuable asset… our people.  And while we know that we still have a long way to go in restoring and improving flood risk reduction to the city of New Orleans, heroes like Billy Zar reinforce my confidence that we have the right people doing the right things to make it happen.

BUILDING STRONG

Emergency Response, Gulf Coast Recovery, Levees , , , , ,

Bracing For Gustav

August 30th, 2008

Today is the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and we are busy readying for Hurricane Gustav! As people throughout the Gulf Coast brace for the storm, and take all the necessary precautions, we stand ready to support the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA in the many mission areas we have in disaster response: debris removal; buying and delivering water, ice and other critical necessities; providing temporary power, housing and roofing; infrastructure assessment; and support to urban search and rescue missions.

While a large portion of the Gulf Coast may face Gustav’s landfall, much of the Nation’s attention is focused on the storm’s threat to Southeast Louisiana. It’s important to understand that New Orleans now has the best Hurricane and storm damage reduction system in its history. The system is stronger than pre-Katrina. Many levees are now internally stronger, better constructed, armored with cement on the top to prevent dirt from washing away, and have improved floodwalls. There is stronger construction than before at Hurricane Katrina breach sites, and transition points between flood walls and levees have been strengthened.

In the New Orleans metropolitan area, the gates and temporary pumping stations built after Katrina at the mouths of the three outfall canals are ready. Computerized systems remotely monitor water levels in the canals, and interior pump stations have been repaired and improved.

Preparing additional protection in preparation for Hurricane Gustav

Preparing additional protection in preparation for Hurricane Gustav

As an innovative flood-fighting measure, to provide even more support, we are placing sand-filled HESCO baskets along an 1800-foot section of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal and Lock’s west floodwall, to alleviate the risk of water pressure from potential high water levels in the canal.

 

We're doing everything we can to brace for Gustav!

We're doing everything we can to brace for Gustav!

We also have three contracts for light helicopter support to quickly deploy flood fighting teams, and an agreement with the Coast Guard, so that as soon as the weather clears, they’ll fly us around to survey the area for damage.

We are working closely with the parish and state leaders, the National Guard, and FEMA to protect the people of the Gulf Coast. I am confident that we are all much better prepared to respond to a storm today, than we were three years ago – and that is a direct result of the selfless, dedicated efforts of so many of you.

For those of you in the possible path of the storm, and the hundreds of volunteers who will deploy if needed to help with the flood-fight and recovery, please be safe. Our prayers are with you, and all who may be affected by Gustav.

Emergency Response, Gulf Coast Recovery, Levees , , , , , ,