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tv   Washington Journal Chris Currie  CSPAN  September 10, 2018 12:01pm-12:31pm EDT

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what they ask of us. hope, i hope the environment we are in now lasts for a while because in that environment, i believe we can deliver. >> thank you. [applause] a great discussion and very informative. spend some time with us the -- in the afternoon. we look forward to seeing you again. thank you very much. [indistinct conversations] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [indistinct conversations]
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>> coming up live in about 30 minutes, a discussion with john bolton, hosted by the federal society and washington, d.c. he will discuss the international criminal court and american sovereignty. starting shortly here on c-span. we take a look at how your money is at work in a different federal program. as another hurricane approaches the mainland, we are joined by chris currie from the government accountability office. we will talk about the hurricanes and wildflowers. $120overnment has provided
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billion in response to maria, andirma, harvey, along with the california wildfires. ofre does 2017 rank in terms disaster spending? guest: great question. 2017, thee to hurricanes were the largest we've ever seen in this country. 265 billion dollars in damage. -- $265 billion in damage. katrina was the prior disaster people remember. host: what are these going to cost the most when all is said and done? guest: it takes so long to understand all of the damage and what it is going to cost. according to fema, hurricane harvey in texas is going to be the most expensive.
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$130 billion in infrastructure repairs. host: costs are more than dollar figures, the death toll in particular from hurricane maria, did you look into the death toll caused by that hurricane? that has been in dispute and of interest. guest: we have ongoing work where we are assessing that issue as well. the government of puerto rico has commissioned its own study. the results came out couple of weeks ago. the deathto that, count was almost 3000 people. host: what went wrong? what could have done better in your view? guest: a number of things together seamlessly caused the challenge of hurricane maria.
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fema and the territory of puerto rico understood the challenges they were going to have before maria. they had done studies that showed long-term power outages and lack of communication was going to be a big problem one of the stories is the sequential nature of the disasters. so many resources had been given to harvey and irma. one of the interesting things we found was many of the resources that were brought to bear in the virgin islands were sent from puerto rico like generators and tarps and water to respond to hurricane irma. a couple of days later, hurricane maria came and the supplies were already depleted. getting equipment and supplies 1000 miles from florida was difficult when ports and
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airports were not open. host: what about the workers who were responding? can you talk about the nature of these disasters, how the dod and the fema workforce was spread out over these disasters? scale,just to give you a these are fema employees of the department of defense, 31,000 employees were deployed to these disasters combined. that is just unprecedented. there has never been a deployment like that. one of the challenges fema encountered was they were overwhelmed in terms of the workforce. they did not happen of people. tople were already deployed texas, florida, and the virgin islands. they had to supplant their staff. they had to call in dod to provide more support than they
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normally provided these disasters. one thing that stuck out october 2017, 54% of an arear working in where they were not qualified. guest: they have a qualification system to determine for its programs who has expertise and who has experience. they use that information to deploy throughout the country to different disasters. open disaster declarations. they have to have expertise in all of the complicated response and recovery programs. a lot of the employees had not reached a level of proficiency that would deem them to be qualified. that has an impact downstream in
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the application of the federal program. that is something that fema recognized in its own report, it needs to do a better job to make sure it has qualified employees for certain jobs. host: chris currie works for the government accountability office. he is talking about the 2017 and them federal response. we are taking your calls online's divided by region. if you are in the east, (202) 748-8000. if you are in the mountain region (202) 784-8001. startn go ahead and calling in. is this something they do every year after the hurricane season? was this a special report in response to the scope of the disasters? guest: fema is always responding
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to disasters. we are doing work assessing their programs. disasters like hurricane katrina or hurricane sandy in 2012, given the amount of money the government provides of the level of support, our workload increases. there are many things for us to look at given how many dollars are being extended. host: what conclusions did you come to 40 workforce issue? for the workplace issue. guest: in the report, we identified this issue is sequentialo large disasters, it is something that
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has to be looked at and improved in the future. right now, we have hurricane florence in the atlantic and to tropical storms behind it. with sequential disasters popping up every year, how many people do we need at the same time to respond to these types of things during hurricane season? host: it looks like north carolina will be the landfall point for hurricane florence. what should they take in terms of lessons learned from florida, texas, and puerto rico? guest: if you look at texas and florida, they were pretty well prepared. challenges.uge at --ad deployed research resources and staged employees to be ready for the storm.
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in florida, you had people evacuated from the coast. there are positive lessons learned from hurricanes harvey and irma. i hope this doesn't happen with florence, but puerto rico was a lack of power and communication which caused huge problems. one key is being ready to restore power and communications as quickly as possible. in irma, we had 6 million people without power. power was restored pretty quickly informed. having the resources ready to go to respond to those challenges is what needs to be done. host: you can look at the report online. and2017 fires
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hurricanes. we are taking your calls. good morning. caller: good morning. about this all floodse world, we have and rain.des i would like to mention that japan had a typhoon and an earthquake at the same time. i listened to some of the news and they seemed really prepared. maybe we can learn something from them. thank you. host: are there lessons to be learned from other countries? guest: absolutely. we are aware of the earthquake. prepared and have the
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infrastructure. a key point here is having response resources ready to go when a hurricane or earthquake hits is important. investing over the long haul in building resilience in the infrastructure is critical. that helps to avoid damage down the road. more resilientes to disasters, making public infrastructure and our utility systems more resilient. one of the key points from this report is with so many billions of dollars being invested over the next decade in rebuild and recover, there is an opportunity to rebuild and a resilient way so the next time there is not as much damage. host: james is on twitter.
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is that possible? guest: james makes a great point. this is something theme and dead did during-- fema hurricane sandy. they deployed 4000 employees from other favorable -- federal agencies to help with the response. there were employees from nasa that deployed. this is a volunteer program. it worked pretty well. there were some problems as you might imagine. it was hard to match skills exactly into what was needed for response and recovery. this is something fema needs to look at in the future. you can't just maintain a ready force when there is no disaster and pay them. what does your reserve workforce looked like? -- look like?
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host: martha is in maine. good morning. caller: i have a question regarding -- i remember hearing during the puerto rico disaster there was a large hospital ship out in the harbor ready to help and that was delayed and delayed. a lot of people died from a lack of insulin or oxygen. why it like your take on took so long for those resources to be sent out or two taken patients? host: thanks for the call. guest: that's exactly right. it was in puerto rico after hurricane maria. we did not look at the health care aspect of this. the healthview of
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care aspect in puerto rico. additional number of resources brought to bear after hurricane maria. the comfort got a lot of coverage in the press. the department set up field medical hospitals like they do in war zones to help with health care. the were trying to prop up puerto rican health care system with generators to get their hospitals up and running. one of the other challenges in puerto rico was even if resources were available in certain places to handle medical needs, the damage to the roads and the infrastructure, people may not have been able to get to those places, especially people in the mountainous regions. that caused a lot of delays and potential issues for getting people to help they needed. host: dwight is in houston, texas.
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can you talk about the federal response you suck? where: i am not far from -- the westside where all of the things broke down. i wanted to ask, was there thegh money allocated for process? think puerto rico was just a disaster. why is it that they were not able to get to them? guest: good question. he asked about individual losses in texas. peopleng to fema, 80% of affected by hurricane harvey did not have flood insurance.
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programs are supposed to be a bridge to help people get back on their feet. and-term insurance coverage other resources are the things that are supposed to make people hold. whole. that is a huge problem. if yout's (202) 748-8000 are in the eastern or central time zones. it's (202) 784-8001 if you are in the north pacific time zones. the number in our dateline segment is $120 billion. that is federal funding for recovery efforts related to those for disasters. fourou explain that -- disasters.
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can you explain that? guest: yes. this is what the government has provided for the hurricanes in the california fires. that does not equate a total damage loss. it's common after disasters for congress to provide a down payment for relief and recovery. stated local governments come back later and ask for supplemental funding. the damage estimates for harvey, almost $300ria were billion. there is going to be consideration for additional funding to be provided. congress estimate that decision. the two biggest pots of money are for fema and the department of housing and urban development. recoveryge long-term
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programs for rebuilding homes and public infrastructure. host: breaking down that funding further, our viewers see a chart about that funding. $19 billion for the department of defense. $3 billion for the department of education. health and human services. how did the department of education and small business administration get involved? guest: that's a great question. when people think about the federal government, they think about fema. federal disaster spending ranges across 17 different departments. everybody plays a role. the small business administration, unless you've been affected by disaster you probably don't know, they provide loans to citizens and businesses to rebuild their
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homes or businesses at low rates. they have to be paid back. it's a very low interest rate. host: the department of education? there are multiple things that go into that. funding for schools or damage to you had in puerto rico huge amounts of damage to the school system. kids were out of school for over six months in that location. it is assistance to help schools and students get back on their feet. host: good morning. --ler: host: john is in oregon. caller: good morning. thank you for being on the program. is specifically
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about earthquakes and earthquake preparedness. about 35 years ago, we have a major fault off the oregon coast. easily a nine point o category earthquake. 9.0 category earthquake. i was wondering, what would you thek about a program where federal government could provide some assistance, encouraging state and local governments to whenme of this hardening we face this earthquake.
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we would be better able to survive. maybe you can talk about that. that is a number one disaster. host: thank you for the call. guest: it's a great question. the cascadia, and earthquake in the pacific northwest could cause a major synonymy. that is a huge area of concern for fema and federal agencies for number of reasons. earthquakes, it's and no notice of it. with a hurricane, you have warning it's going to happen. you can't marshal resources and events -- in advance. this is why you have to have preparedness action going on before hand. you were talking about federal funding, there are billions of
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dollars for federal funding used for that. they go to state and locals before the disaster to help them plan and prepare. after the disaster, more that money is spent. we have been encouraging the federal government to emphasize making sure the money after the disaster goes to rebuild infrastructure not the way it was before, but in a way that is going to be resilient to the risks we know will happen. host: we are in the florida keys where hurricane irma made landfall. go ahead. caller: you talk about funding for evacuation. i am in a wheelchair. hurricane shelter for my county, they were totally unprepared for the amount of people. one restroom for men
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and one for women for 130 people. then we were transferred to -- shelter. they were still unprepared for us. then you speak of the amount of hurricanes, what about andrew and the 1935 labor day hurricane? what is the amount? how many servicemen were down here in the keys in 1975? they were being evacuated by the flagler railroad and were caught in the hurricane. guest: thank you. i'm sorry to hear about your
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situation. it sounds frustrating. i want to talk about the sheltering issue. in the after action report by fema, sheltering particularly in florida was at a historic level of evacuation and sheltering. it was a massive challenge. were not ascials prepared as they could have been for the need to evacuate and shelter so many people for a long time. that is something that needs to be looked at. it will be interesting to see this is handled with hurricane florence this week. in places like north carolina and the outer banks, there will be need to evacuate those people. some people have the ability to stay in hotels or with friends and family. be a massive ability to shelter people in
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cases like this. host: what was the post-katrina emergency reform act? did it make a difference? guest: most of the viewers remember the stories after katrina and the challenges the federal government faced. post-katrina emergency management reform act was the sweeping legislation to fix those things. the law itself was enormous. it gave the federal government the ability to be much more proactive in terms of disaster preparedness and response. an example, instead of waiting canstates'requests, they request help beforehand. it is happening right now in north carolina. fema officials are already
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planted in the state. there are national guard resources. a lot of coordination is going on before hand. you are not trying to figure that out after t
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extensive involvement just because they are so large. one of the things that happened in puerto rico was because the island was -- the entire island was disaster survivors. host: how much are states surrounding north carolina helping out by preparing ahead of the landfall this week? guest: there are multiple states that could be impacted. each state has to prepare. that is one of the great things about our system here in the continental u.s. we saw this with hurricane irma in florida. there were 6 million people
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without power. we restored power quickly because we had a record number of people coming in from all over the country to help restore power. there are compacts states have with one another where they will reimburse each other for those resources. it's a great system and it works really well in the continental

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