- The Washington Times - Friday, September 3, 2004


The Federal Emergency Management Agency is mobilizing three times as many disaster relief workers for Hurricane Frances as it did for Hurricane Charley last month.

FEMA Director Michael Brown said he put out calls for emergency crews from as far away as Seattle and Oregon. He expected to have about 4,500 personnel assisting with recovery efforts in Florida after Frances hit land.

An additional 1,500 staffers will continue their work with victims of Charley, which devastated parts of the state’s west coast just three weeks ago — killing 27 persons and causing billions of dollars in damage.

“We have not had, in a long time, a double whammy of a hurricane like this,” Mr. Brown said.

For their safety, FEMA has pulled most of its workers out of Florida and sent them to its regional office in Atlanta until it’s safe to return. They’ll move back in “the minute that Frances gets out of our way, so that we’re just trailing in right behind her,” Mr. Brown said.

FEMA is accustomed to dealing with a number of disasters at the same time, but “what’s unique about this is that we’re working multiple disasters right in the same state,”Mr. Brown said.

Four disaster medical assistance teams consisting of about 85 doctors, nurses and others have been put on standby, he said. Search and rescue teams also were activated, and food, water, blankets, tents and other supplies were being assembled.

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