by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 27, 2011
US President Barack Obama warned Saturday the US east coast was in for a "long 72 hours" as he led his government's response to Hurricane Irene at a disaster command center in Washington.
Obama chaired a meeting at the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) set up at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) headquarters in Washington, which is marshaling federal and local hurricane-relief efforts.
"This is going to be a tough slog getting through this thing," Obama said during a video teleconference including senior federal officials and local government agencies in the east coast path of Irene.
"It's going to be a long 72 hours. Obviously a lot of families are going to be affected ... the biggest concern I'm having right now has to do with flooding and power," Obama said during the videoconference.
"(It) sounds like that's going to be an enormous strain on a lot of states" that could last days, or even longer in some cases, he said.
Officials said the NRCC brings together multiple government agencies and departments to coordinate disaster response with federal, state and local groups around the clock.
The White House said Obama heard updates from governors and emergency management officials in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.
The White House appears to have carefully considered the lesson of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when a botched response effort and confusion between state and federal agencies inflicted a heavy political price on president George W. Bush.
Obama returned home one night early on Friday from his island vacation on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts and appeared keen to be visibly in charge as the response to Hurricane Irene unfolds.
Earlier on Saturday, Obama held a conference call with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA administrator Craig Fugate and other senior emergency management officials.
"The president reiterated that we know that this storm's impacts will continue to be felt throughout the weekend and that we still have work ahead of us to support potentially impacted states and communities," the White House said.
Sustained winds of 85 miles (140 kilometers) an hour lashed coastal areas as Irene made landfall near the southern end of a chain of barrier islands that ring the North Carolina coast, the National Hurricane Center said.
Cities along the east coast of the United States -- from Washington to New York to Boston -- braced for the impact, with hundreds of thousands of people ordered to evacuate low-lying areas.
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
Iraq unveils 100,000-home 'master plan'
Baghdad (AFP) Aug 25, 2011
Iraq's investment commission and a South Korean construction firm unveiled a "master plan" on Thursday to develop a sprawling suburb of Baghdad with 100,000 homes in a $7.25 billion deal. The final contract for the Besmaya redevelopment project has yet to be signed, but promotional material displayed at a news conference promised a "new home for 600,000 Baghdadis", a day after commission chi ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|