The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi Valley Division is in full hurricane response mode as the slow-moving storm creates havoc along the Gulf Coast. The drenching rains and powerful winds of Hurricane Isaac made landfall last night along the north-central Gulf Coast near New Orleans. The safety of the public is and always will be the Corps top priority.
MVD is supporting the states of Louisiana and Mississippi and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Regions IV and VI operations centers to organize response efforts. The Corps has received mission assignments from FEMA and we have deployed Emergency Power Teams to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Commodities, debris and temporary roofing teams are also being deployed to Louisiana.
Other response teams, such as commodities, debris, temporary roofing and temporary housing, have been placed on alert status to support Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. The Corps is also deploying Emergency Command and Control Vehicles to assist with onsite communications. Two vehicles are deploying to Alabama, and one vehicle is deploying to Mississippi.
The National Hurricane Center forecasts a storm surge of 6 to 12 feet for southeast Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and a 3 to 6 feet surge for the Florida Panhandle. We are confident in the new Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System around greater New Orleans, a system built for storm surge that has a 1% chance of occurring each year. The New Orleans District will reduce risk of flooding by operating the surge barriers and closure structures per operational protocols.
"Teams from our six districts and other districts within the United States are trained, rehearsed and ready to move into the area with FEMA and state emergency management teams as soon as practical,” said David Sills, Chief of MVD’s Readiness and Contingency Operations. “We also want to make sure our employees and their families are safe while providing continuity of operations.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts its emergency response activities under two basic authorities: the Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Act (P.L. 84- 99, as amended) and the Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. 93-288, as amended). Under the Stafford Act, the Corps supports the Federal Emergency Management Agency in carrying out the National Response Plan, which calls on 26 Federal departments and agencies to provide coordinated disaster relief and recovery operations.
The Mississippi Valley Division has a primary role in support of the National Response Plan. The plan describes the basic structure by which the federal government will mobilize resources and conduct response and recovery activities to assist states and local governments in coping with the consequences of significant natural or man-made disasters, to include terrorist events.
Within this plan, the Department of Defense has designated the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the primary agency for planning, preparedness and response under the Emergency Support Function #3, Public Works and Engineering. The type of assistance provided by the Corps includes restoration of critical public services and facilities, including supply of adequate amounts of potable water and ice, temporary restoration of water supply systems, provision of temporary emergency electrical power, temporary emergency housing, structural evaluation of buildings and damage assessment, and clearance, removal, and disposal of debris.
The Mississippi Valley Division is responsible for emergency preparedness and developing plans for all hazards response. In addition, each of its six districts has a specific primary mission assignment for execution in support of FEMA under the National Response Plan. These missions are executed by a Planning and Response Team trained specifically for the assigned mission. These teams may respond within the Mississippi Valley area or may be deployed worldwide.
MVD includes portions of 12 states and encompasses 370,000 square miles.
The district offices that conduct the programs and activities overseen by the Mississippi Valley Division are located in St. Paul, Minn.; Rock Island, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo.; Memphis, Tenn.; Vicksburg, Miss.; and New Orleans, La.