August 26, 2011

As Irene Heads North, Delegation Wants Obama to Speed Emergency Assistance to RI

For Hurricane Irene Resources for Rhode Island, please visit:

2011.08.25 Hurricane Irene Resources PagePROVIDENCE, RI – As Rhode Island prepares for the impact of Hurricane Irene, the state’s Congressional delegation wants to help speed up emergency assistance from the federal government.  U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline sent a letter to President Obama urging expedited approval of any forthcoming request for additional federal assistance as well as possible requests for emergency or disaster declarations for the state.
“Last year’s historic flooding caused severe economic damage to Rhode Island families, businesses, and communities.  As Rhode Islanders prepare for Hurricane Irene, we want to ensure they have all the support that can be provided and that the state can quickly tap into any federal assistance that becomes necessary,” said the members of the Congressional delegation.
Governor Lincoln Chafee today declared a state of emergency, which enables the Governor to order evacuations, close highways, deploy the National Guard to storm duty, and take other necessary measures.  Rhode Island is the 8th state along the East Coast to declare a state of emergency in advance of Hurricane Irene, joining: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Weather Service are consulting with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) to ensure the state is fully prepared.  FEMA is pre-positioning personnel and assets in Rhode Island to support the state.
While the projected storm path continues to develop, Rhode Island will be affected by the nearly 600-mile-wide Hurricane Irene.  At this time, the National Weather Service has issued Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watches for the state.
Forecasters predict Hurricane Irene will make landfall in New England on Sunday and could impact up to 65 million East Coast residents.

A copy of the letter sent to President Obama can be downloaded here.

The full text of the letter follows:
The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As you know, Hurricane Irene is poised to deal a major blow to the East Coast.  At this time, the National Weather Service has indicated that the storm is likely to pass directly over Rhode Island or to its West over the weekend.  As such, Rhode Island may face a storm that is more powerful than any other it has experienced in decades.
The State of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, the Rhode Island National Guard, and local emergency planners are already mobilizing in preparation for this storm.  We appreciate the steps FEMA has undertaken to preposition personnel and assets in Rhode Island in support of our state.  Given the currently expected intensity of this storm as it nears Rhode Island, we urge you to support and expedite the approval of any forthcoming request for federal assistance, including any requests for emergency or disaster declarations from Governor Chafee.
Thank you for your attention to this request.  
Jack Reed                                                                 Sheldon Whitehouse
United States Senator                                              United States Senator
James R. Langevin                                                   David N. Cicilline
Member of Congress                                               Member of Congress
cc:       The Honorable W. Craig Fugate

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