Florida Congressional Democrats Want to Know How FEMA Will Handle Hurricane Season During Coronavirus Pandemic

This week, U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., led Democrats in the Florida delegation on Capitol Hill asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) about its plans for hurricane season during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mucarsel-Powell led the letter to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor as Democrats from the Sunshine State called on FEMA to offer quicker reimbursements from claims from Hurricanes Irma and Michael.

The congresswoman‘s office also stressed that many experts expect a busy hurricane season.

“Nearly all seasonal forecasts that have been issued by weather experts are predicting an above-average hurricane season this year,” Mucarsel-Powell’s office noted.

“FEMA has been promising us for weeks now that they would be releasing a plan for how they will manage a potentially record-breaking hurricane season during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hurricane season starts in less than two weeks, and members of Congress have yet to see this plan,” said Mucarsel-Powell on Wednesday. “As recently as last Thursday, FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech said that it would be released ‘over the next few weeks,’ which is certainty not soon enough. It is a real possibility that we will have to deal with a major storm in the midst of this devastating pandemic. We need to see the plan now so we can make sure that we’re ready for what’s ahead.”

“Emergency systems across Florida and the nation are already stretched thin due to the coronavirus pandemic, and millions of people are currently struggling financially,” wrote the Democrats in the Florida delegation. “With the Atlantic hurricane season on the horizon, it is imperative that a strategy is put in place as soon as possible so that communities, individuals, and families can adequately prepare. Coastal communities have no time to lose, and we cannot wait any longer.”

Besides Mucarsel-Powell, other signers included Florida Democrats U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Donna Shalala, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

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