Director Allbaugh traveled to New York yesterday to visit the rescue efforts at "Ground Zero", the site of the World Trade Center (TWC) collapse. He also visited the new Disaster Field Office.
FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) task forces continue to work with other emergency services and volunteers to find possible survivors of last Tuesday's catastrophe. Nine FEMA USAR task forces plus New Jersey USAR and Puerto Rico USAR taskforces are continuing to work the WTC site. USAR Texas Task Force 1 is scheduled to depart Austin, TX for McGuire AFB this afternoon for rotation. One member of the USAR Indiana Task Force 1 was injured early in the morning, Sunday, September 16th and was treated for burns to the arms, hands and face at Bellevue Hospital.
The State reported that as of September 16, 180 bodies have been recovered from the World Trade Center (WTC) of which 115 have been identified. The number of injured is 3,201 of which 164 remain hospitalized and 5,097 persons are registered as missing. Nine shelters remain open in the metro area with a population of 81 people.
The hospital ship, USNS Comfort, is docked at Pier 92 and is prepared to provide medical support to disaster site workers. The ship has a complement of 359 personnel.
Four warehouse sites throughout New York have been established to accept unsolicited donations that have been collected to support the recovery effort. Three staff have deployed to Albany to assist with donations coordination efforts, one each at the New York City (NYC) Emergency Operations Center, DFO, and NY State Emergency Management Office.
In a related matter, Director Allbaugh wrote a letter to all state governors and requested their help in letting the public know those sending donations do so in cash instead of items. The NYC donations hotline has received 50,000 phone calls. Operators are encouraging monetary donations.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) Prime Power team completed providing technical assistance to Consolidated Edison in their effort to restore power and set up generators for the opening of financial markets today. The team will monitor the situation and provide technical assistance throughout the opening day and as necessary thereafter to ensure adequate power.
A U.S. Army demolitions expert was requested to assist USAR task forces in precision demolition of WTC ruins for a seven-day mission starting today.
The FEMA and USACE debris teams coordinated and provided assistance to the City of New York on debris removal issue. The city debris removal operation involves four $250,000,000 contracts. The biggest concern is the recovery of human remains and criminal evidence within the debris. FEMA and USACE will continue to provide technical assistance to the City in performing efficiency reviews of the debris collection, processing and disposal.
Verizon Communications has been working to restore service to NYC departments, including the Department of Child Care Services and the State Police. Verizon started providing lines to these agencies on 14 September.
Four U.S. Postal Stations remain closed: Bowling Green, Wall Street, Church Street, and Peck Slip. The James A. Farley facility is open for pickup of mail by large commercial customers from the impacted area.
The FAA has restricted small aircraft from the airspace around JFK Airport out to a radius of 30 miles. Temporary flight restrictions are in force for a 3.5-mile radius and 3,000 ft ceiling around the WTC. In the New York vicinity, all major airports are open to traffic. General aviation to within five miles of major airports remains closed.
Most subway lines are operating but skipping some stations in the affected area. City buses are operating outside of the restricted zone.
Norfolk Southern railroad has offered New York State and city officials free transportation of non-hazardous construction and demolition debris from the WTC. They have also arranged to provide up to 1,000 heavy-duty rail cars that will be staged in the North New Jersey shared assets area.
Meanwhile, rescue and recovery work continues at the Pentagon. Reagan Washington National Airport is the only major airport in the nation that remains closed. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation said the airport will remain closed indefinitely. (Manhattan DFO, FEMA HQ)