DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. – As the heavy rain and winds of Florence move out, the recovery effort will start ramping up.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s regional response coordination center in DeKalb County Friday.
Diamant met with men and women there who represent dozens of agencies. Their work began days ago, moving critical resources as close as possible to the storm zone and making sure local first responders had the tools they need.
The main focus, right now, is on life and safety missions. The work will last long after Florence clears out.
[LIVE UPDATES: Florence downgraded to tropical storm; at least 5 dead]
“I think the intensity is often driven by what they see up on the screen, too, because now the storm has landed, and now there (is) actual. You can see debris flying around, and you can see the waves crashing,” Deputy Response Division Director Glen Sachtleben said.
As the slow-moving tropical storm keeps pounding the Carolina coast, Sachtleben detailed how the men and women are quarterbacking the massive federal relief and recovery efforts.
“The last four days, what we’ve been trying to do is build resources and capabilities and commodities in those incident support bases,” Sachtleben said.
Federal search and rescue teams are already out across the impact zone. FEMA will roll out the remaining pre-staged assets as the weather clears and the recovery begins.
“So today, while this has basically kept everybody hunkered down and battling the storm, what we’re trying to do is anticipate what the burn rate is going to be on those commodities,” Sachtleben said.
The team is thinking days, weeks and months down the road.
“You have to. You don’t want to be caught short because you’re just satisfied with what you’ve done yesterday,” Sachtleben said.
So far, Florence has claimed several lives, adding even more urgency to the round-the-clock work inside the center.
“I think it comes to roost for those that are thinking about, ‘Why am I doing what I’m doing?’ It’s because I’m focused on providing support for survivors,” Sachtleben said.
Calls for federal help will keep picking up, and in the coming days, the focus here will be fully on recovery efforts and coordinating critical missions, from restoring power to removing debris to rebuilding roads and taking care of evacuees.
There will be some busy days and weeks ahead.
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