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Release date: August 26, 2017             Release Number: HQ-17-061

WASHINGTON – Late Friday, Hurricane Harvey intensified to a major Category 4 hurricane just before making landfall near Rockport, Texas and remains a dangerous storm.

“The priorities right now are supporting states with: search and rescue, mass care, disaster medical services, temporary power, and life sustaining commodities” says FEMA Administrator Brock Long.  “Those in the path of the storm need to prepare for significant, ongoing impacts and disruptions to daily activities.”

Friday, President Donald J. Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Texas, making federal funding available for emergency work and to affected individuals and businesses owners who sustain damage as a result of the storm.

Shelters are open across the affected and surrounding areas. Download the FEMA mobile app for shelter information, weather alerts, and safety tips. The app (available in English and Spanish) provides directions to open shelters, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service.

The federal coordination is fully-activated, geared up, and providing support to states, local communities, and tribes as needed.  FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. and Regional Response Coordination Center in Denton, Texas, are operating 24-hours a day.

On Friday, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) station in Corpus Christi reported a water rescue of 12 people from a boat overrun by water.   FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams are pre-positioned in San Antonio, Texas for additional rescues if needed. Each of these teams has swift water rescue capabilities. A USAR Incident Support Team is staged in College Station, Texas to support the teams during their deployment.

While immediate lifesaving and life sustaining operations are the priority for FEMA and our partners, residents and business owners in declared counties who sustained disaster related damage due to Hurricane Harvey, and are able to do so, can apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

This page also includes links to information on how to file a flood insurance claim under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). To file a flood insurance claim under the NFIP, contact your insurance agent immediately. You can also call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) – select option 2 – to learn more about your policy, and be directed to the appropriate claims resource.

Registering online is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance since the event will last several days and the full scope of damages will not be evident until the storm has passed. If you do not have access to the internet you may register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). If you use 711 relay or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362 directly. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

Safety

Remember, follow instructions from state, local, and tribal officials. If told to shelter in place or evacuate, do so immediately. Do not return to evacuated areas until told it is safe to do so.

If you are in a high rise building and need to shelter in place, go to the first or second floor hallways or interior rooms. You want to stay on floors above floodwater or storm surge, but do not go to the highest floors due to wind impacts.

Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. It poses a significant threat for drowning and can occur before, during, or after the center of a storm passes through an area. Storm surge can sometimes cut off evacuation routes, so do not delay leaving if an evacuation is ordered for your area.

There is the potential for dangerous flooding with this storm. Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous and almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low-lying areas, at bridges and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

If you encounter floodwaters, remember – turn around, don’t drown.
This storm has the potential for tornado formation. If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately in the center of a small interior room (closet, interior hallway) on the lowest level of a sturdy building. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
When it is safe to do so, check on your neighbors who may require assistance such as infants, children, older adults, people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. Individual community members are the first line of response following a storm.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.twitter.com/femaspox, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Brock Long’s activities at www.twitter.com/fema_brock.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

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