tv [untitled] CSPAN June 5, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
way. the economic turndown in needs of the most vulnerable magnified by disasters at the same time the donations to travel organizations are decreasing. like many nonprofit organizations that depend on the generosity of donors, we are faced with financial challenges. the major disasters of 2008 such as wild fires in california, flooding and midwest and hurricanes gustav and ike based on donations. we are fortunate organization receives support -- >> try to wrap up if you could, i'm sorry. >> with that i will conclude my presentation and if you have questions i would be happy to answer them. >> thank you. ms. durden? >> thank you, chairman landrieu. it's an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to speak today on behalf of the united way and the 211 system across america. as you are aware 211 is an information referral line that connects people to existing
community resources like rent and mortgage assistance as well as food and utility assistance. however, to 11 please a vital role in disaster response and recovery. trained specialists assist callers in times of natural disaster in crisis providing real-time information on shelter locations, food and water distribution sites and important evacuation routes. 211 disseminates accurate information about the prices and relieves the very overworked negative 11 dispatchers also taking those non-emergency calls. as you are aware, to 11 was a bright spot and a very difficult time in our state and responding to the 2005 hurricanes katrina and rita. prior to the land all of katrina, the 211 and new orleans had to close. united way, united we of northeast louisiana and monroe
began taking all of the 211 calls directed from new orleans. overnight we expanded from a four person call center and mom wrote to a 65% to 11. we have additional support that was outstanding. from 211 call specialists of america 25 states send people to the community and there were hundreds of local volunteers that responded. as the result of that in lonrho, to 11 responded to more than 111,000 calls in two months. the call volume peaked at 7,358 the day that rita hit. after 2005 we were even better prepared for 2008. going into the hurricane season in 2008 we had a partially integrated telephony, statewide disaster plan, centralized the sastre database and 24 hour day 70 a week coverage.
211 louisiana answered more than 170,000 calls between gustav hitting august 31st and a december 16th 2008. in the peak of that we were assisted by the 211 system of california which was invaluable expanding capacity and a today window when ike hit texas and the timber texas 211 answered 157,000 calls an absolutely incredible response. inland, the aftermath of hurricane ike caused flooding and wind damage throughout the midwest. the 211 in missouri and iowa, indiana and ohio place significant roles in the recovery effort. lagat one tero nine preparation is well under way and i'm pleased to report we have complete integrated telephony for about the state of
louisiana. most importantly we have an extended enhanced relationship with louisianan state government. i am pleased to tell you we have had both red cross, 211 and national guard embedded in the dss for months of planning that have been under way. and there i would tell you statewide we have recruited and begun training response volunteers if called upon. however they're remain enormous vulnerability and i would like to address those. the current economic crisis has searched the call volume beyond current capacity of the system in many locations across america. most 211 are still in need of critical elements for disaster response for example, generators, remote control calling ability, telephone service priority of arrangements with telephone companies and significant concern to all of us are the gaps and services along with the u.s. atlantic coast. to properly respond to disaster
211 across america need to unify technology and standard operating procedure to ensure best responsiveness. every president must have to 11 access on any kind of telecommunications device particularly self loans. 21 wants need a system of national edna per kildee with each other and other three digit numbers. senator landrieu, we are in desperate need of congress held to insure both reliable response to disasters and everyday needs. fortunately congress can cure the vulnerability during this session by passing the calling for to want one before the next event occurs. senator landrieu we are grateful for your steadfast support of the legislation, for your code sponsorship of the bill and ability to deliver on dedicated federal funding for louisianan 211 this year. thank you again for the opportunity and i welcome the opportunity to answer questions. >> thank you very much.
i appreciate content of all of your testimony and thoughtfulness that went into it. i would like to start, mr. mascelli, with the questions about this chart, the national shelter system. i know that this was probably in your testimony in some detail but could you take a minute to explain? these are the only official who red cross shelters and would you describe most of them as school buildings or most of them churches or places where people worship? how would you describe the shelter if someone looked at that map and said describe the actual buildings those dots represent. >> yes, senator, you are right in the sense most of them are public buildings. part of the criteria when we look at buildings with safety construction etc. is to have facilities to support a
population, kitchen, bathroom, etc., schools and churches fill the bill quite readily so most of them are either churches or schools throughout the u.s.. we had the shelters before katrina, but after katrina we actually put those into a database so the first time in a computer database we could see where they were at short notice, what might be available and also when we have a disaster of local chapters will report back on the shelters and the number of people in the shelters etc.. >> and the school issue is interesting to me because you obviously in a catastrophic disaster that we had and others have had. when people move into schools for a long period of time it's hard to back to the operate the school. and one of the essentials in
ingredients of recovery for parents with children used to get their children back in school as soon as possible because at least then when the children are in school that parents can go about all the work they need to do to rebuild their home, business, etc.. how does the red cross negative the use of school buildings in areas that could potentially suffer catastrophic flooding and destruction and do you have a backup plan in the event using schools in some areas might not be the best in that circumstance? >> there is right now work being done but there is a long way from a solution regarding and on that you are right a catastrophic disaster, what happens when you have large numbers of people better dislocated all i7 basis for long periods of time there is the housing task force that fema has
that should be the natural connection getting people from shelters into some other type of housing. i know that looking at evacuation's of people to other areas is a possibility, but that has its own trials and tribulations in terms of moving and dislocating people from other communities. so as it stands right now, the options are kind of limited and we feel quite a bid to particularly when people evacuate from one community to go to another community and that community would like to get back to normal again, so it's something that until a solution comes up for interim housing for large numbers of people we will still be struggling with that. >> and in the red cross model right now on the sheltering program, do you have a frame work of one week or two weeks or
three days or 30 days? you were sheltering plan as i know for immediate, not long term so what is your definition today? >> we'll look at emergency shelter for about a 30 day period and think over that for a variety of other reasons that may not be good environment for a lot of folks so unless it is absolutely no other option available, we would like the sheltering to be within the 30 period. >> and mr. foresman, given this is what i would identify as one of dozens of caps that i see across the board this is one of them. do you have any comment about any private-sector solution some of your members might be willing to step forward on this particular issue? >> senator, i do, i have got three points i would make. first, i think that part of what you heard an administrator
fugate's testimony is defining the objective rather than the process, and i think that is critical and you sit in your opening statement that part of it is about how do we link because disaster housing is very much a community state issue, local issue. federal government is a supporter and a lot of different ways but it's about being able to partner those entities with those local governments not only in the context of crisis preparedness the first 72 hours but what are the innovative solutions to do large-scale housing operations and i think that fema is to be commended for having gotten the report out on housing but we have got to address the issue what are beginning to do if god forbid we have 200,000 americans homeless again because the solutions we have on the table will not solve that force and house by colleague from the red cross has pointed out you can't leave them in schools indefinitely. the second point we have seen through a lot of corporate sponsors who engaged in a
reactive way as a big player in the community's initiative crestor has provided technology about be unable to identify resources on averitt deskill for instance in a local community and of being dependent on traditional government resources identification, but private sector tools that allow the private sector to put in their resources and make those available to local officials to the nonprofit community to a variety of others to deal with it. and the final comment is this, senator, you know, we have been wrestling with a model of disaster preparedness for the past 25 years that apparently isn't good for catastrophic defense. when you heard in the last hour with administrator fugate's testimony and vision and from the colleagues of 211 and red cross and united way is 21st century thinking for disaster response and recovery. that is what the ready come yaki is about. let's not put it on the back of government to try to be
everything to everybody in the midst of a crisis. the crisis. >> thank you. i want you to know i agree 100% with what you said but i also would stress it is important for the federal government to be able to function efficiently and well because when it does and the other party is whether they are private-sector, non-profit or states where locals have that much more of a difficult time, so you are correct. the focus of this is is the nation ready, not just is fema or homeland security ready or the federal government ready, is the nation already, but it is important for at least the federal infrastructure to be and i think the vision administrator fugate, and i happen to agree with you about the quality of people now in these positions and if any team could get it done this is the team that can
with our support and of course a lot of other people's and put. mr. mascelli, let me ask this about the red cross. i understand, i don't understand, i know congress just appropriated a significant amount of money for the red cross which maybe is not unprecedented but it's not usable. can you comment on the financial stability right now of your organization and what resources you have to address this pending hurricane season? >> yes. in addition we did receive an appropriation from the federal government and we are in the process of drawing funds through the federal emergency management which is the executors of the grand -- >> and how much was that? >> $100 million total. and we are in the process join for that reimbursement of expenses over the last hurricane season and it continues until
the end of this fiscal year, federal fiscal year. in addition to that we've taken a number of activities to basically come within budget and looking at our financing part of that is we have restructured the organization fairly substantially at the national headquarters and then with the chapter structure to reduce cost and we are in the middle of that at this point. in addition to that aggressive fund-raising campaign to get out in this type of -- in this time of economic instability to be able to raise funds when we have these disasters on an ongoing basis so we believe the combination of cutting back and restructuring the organization reducing expenses, aggressive fund-raising and use of the appropriation that we should balance our organization. we do project the next fiscal year which begins the first of july we will have a balanced
budget and proceed on that basis. >> thank you. and what is your operating budget? >> i did have to get back to you. counting the biomedical services it is a little over $3 billion. >> miss durden, can you comment about the bill we are moving through congress and again, what the two or three most important parts of the legislation are for supporting national network basically of volunteers in large measure it is led by staff, but leveraged by volunteers the would provide not only the operations but the training necessary to provide the backup communications so essentials in disaster of any size for small disaster and as mr. fugate said if it is your roof that is gone it is not a small problem for you.
but tell us again about the specifics of what you see benefitting in that legislation. >> the column for the 211 act is critical, and i think the first point is only 80% of the country has access to 211. there are 23 states in america that have 100% coverage as we are in louisianan. 25 counting puerto rico, i think there's a map that shows that. >> the map could be put out so the full coverage is -- >> the full coverage is in and green. >> and the red states are? >> weare 211 is in development and i think it is particularly concerned that there are gaps along the gulf coast all the way up to delaware, long island, new york, rural georgia, north carolina and panhandle of florida are some of the areas there are gaps and that is of
significance. another factor that this authorization bill would allow was the telephony capacity to be connected. we are blessed in louisianan that there was donors that gave after katrina that enables us to have a voice over ip and then gives the opportunity with flapping of a switch to move it around and that is an absolutely incredible opportunity. but that is rare in our country and so the capacity for technology is critical. >> if you could take that down if you would just a moment and leave the state issue. >> the map. >> nicoe and the new york has gaps at the highly urbanized area blacks were shaking your head, new york, new jersey. is it pennsylvania? >> that is correct. >> and is that kentucky, west
virginia? >> kentucky, south dakota, wyoming, the western states but on the eastern seaboard and the reason i raise this issue at this hearing in the beginning of the season is the production site seen or the feeling about the season because the storms have been so intense in the gulf coast there is some sense that this is the east coast time and i just need to reinforce i know people in the northeast haven't had a storm for a long time but there are some significant studies that show what will happen if there is, and it is not a pretty picture. and in 1938 there was a major storm that hit all my mind, and you can just understand and think about the population was and what it is today.
80 deer sophos -- 80 years plus later. and in that highly urbanized area they're virtually is no communication of people outside of your 911 if you want to report an emergency. but in terms where you can get shelter and where you could get a voucher for a house or a meal for your child, that is basically the surface that you provide. >> that is correct and you are right. it speaks to the urgency of this call in for 211 act in your supporting and i have to tell you that we know that was never more vividly described or illustrated than after mauney left in the state of new york didn't have it, the state of connecticut did and the documented difference and
response in that earlham iced region of the country was did fit and to one point was a very successful and the response of the state of connecticut and it's well documented the concerns that occurred in new york following 9/11. >> in 1938 a category four hurricane struck long island and destroyed 75, said buildings and displaced thousands of residents. so the question is for these highly densely populated areas if you don't have a number to dial to get information, if your electricity is severely compromised, if you don't have the right sheltering plans and if the only fema housing plan were still what it is today fema trailers, we are in for a very serious situation here, and that is why this committee continues
to work and we will continue to work but it is just a matter of time. and i don't know how much more i can do personally to impress upon people have insufficient some of these, i mean, how real some of these gaps are and what catastrophe lies ahead showed a hurricane five or four or powerful free slam into one of these urban densely populated urban and low-lying areas along the coast. so having said that i don't know if we have got just a short amount of time if there is anything you want to add i have bought one or two more questions. is their anything, mr. mascelli you would like to add how you are going to shelter millions of people. >> in the level of capacity and preparedness in the area, it
really, these catastrophic disasters are an animal on to themselves and something that fortunately we have not experienced until recently and there is a great deal of work that needs to be done particularly in those in areas we seem to do okay that is those happen on a regular basis but when you get to these catastrophic events large populations affect large dislocation it affects the whole country, economy, the people, the psyche, etc. so is something that keeps us concerned on a consistent basis. >> just for comparison, not to beat a dead horse, but it has been something that as a senator from louisiana and lead spokesperson for the gulf coast on this issue i have to say that with the terrorist attack in new york, which was a horrible totally different kind of event,
but there were a confined number of buildings that were destroyed in a very confined space and while it was a disaster that rocked the world, 99.9.9% of the people were home in their own homes and there was a small percentage of people led by eight rudy giuliani and all the rest of a very small groups that were focused on this particular thing. i mean, hands-on, the whole world watched, but that night in new york and new jersey and connecticut and almost everyone was in their own bed. that is the difference between what happened there and what happened in katrina where that might in the storm 2 million
people were somewhere other than their own bedroom. and i don't think the country understands what this coin to happen if this happens in new york or new jersey or connecticut or pennsylvania, virginia, anyplace. and i think people think that they are now going to be impacted by category five hurricane. i think they think they've built buildings strong enough to withstand them but i beg to differ. so i will continue to, you know, make my valise heard to the president and the leadership and hope that we get through the storm season of without facing a category three, four, or five in a major metropolitan area. not that new orleans is not a major metropolitan area or galveston or houston, but northeast metropolitan area has a lot more density than even we
do along the gulf coast because the numbers are staggering and i don't know, ms. gif anitere if you want -- >> i want to thank you for your sense of urgency and give an update regarding this critical issue of the urban parts of the northeast. new works and has excellent coverage of 211 but because the economic condition of many states specifically new york state has had to cut their funding of 211. so you are absolutely on the point as you talk about that urgency in those metropolitan areas. the other comment i would make an you know this differently while you did an outstanding chart that shows the 73% growth in call volume in a two-year period i think the public needs to understand those 14 million our people and during her katrina, those were people whose lives were being saved by the volunteers and staff on the
phone of 211. we did rooftop rescues, we did connecting people to the appropriate governmental entities and the most vivid example happened to someone you know quite well, joe thomas's wife, robin, was serving as a volunteer and took a call from a man who went back into his home and found his mother's body. there was no one to call about 211. i think that you were urgency to continue this funding and legislation speaks to the need of american people and i want to thank do for that. >> thank you. any closing comments? >> senator i just want to make also add thanks having spent a few years doing this i've gotten good at realizing there hasn't been a lot of efficacy on the hill, consistent advocacy on disaster response and recovery and to the .1 of the things we have seen with the ready come emt initiative is i know the you are focused on hurricanes your constituency, that's your
geography, that's one of the biggest threats that you face but over the course the last 60 days have a little bit of a shake in the los angeles region and we've had a scare from pandemic and the one recognition and the one thing i strongly encourage you to do is let's make this about the need for better capabilities to deal with catastrophic events particularly housing in respect of the cause is because the senator from illinois appointed out he's more concerned about tornadoes or whatever we are calling them or microbursts these days and we've got to make sure we are designating the argument with the people who are here. >> i will tell you what i am going to do because i want to support the white you just made on and going to call a hearing for earthquakes particularly and i want to show a film in this committee of what is going to happen when an earthquake, a major earthquake hits not just california but memphis which is a target and i am going to use
the risk assessment that has been done by the risk managers to show the likely disasters based on their scientific information this isn't what senator landrieu thinks might happen, this is what our government and scientists and leaders believed is probable to happen and what this committee is going to do is try to continuously show those probabilities and the gaps to respond to what we are predicting is going to happen. and as we work i realize there are other priorities in the government. this is not the only priority of the government but having represented people who lived through and survived through a catastrophic disaster it is hard to tell them that there is of a priority -- another priority. for the