Bush Attends Briefing on Hurricane Gustav at FEMA
August 31, 2008
12:24 P.M. EDT
I’m here at the FEMA Headquarters where I just received a briefing,
and I’ve also come to thank the people behind me for working
the long hours that they’re doing to make sure that we’ve got
the preparations in place for Hurricane Gustav. There’s been
a lot of work done to get ready for the storm. Across the Gulf
Coast there’s governors and state officials and local leaders
that are taking this storm very seriously and are preparing proactively.
President George W. Bush, joined by Federal Emergency
Management Agency Administrator David Paulison, left,
and Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson, right, participates
in a briefing on preparations for Hurricane Gustav, at
the FEMA National Response Center
in Washington, DC.
House Photo / Photo by Chris Greenberg
Secretary Chertoff and FEMA Administrator Paulison report
that the federal government has prepositioned teams of emergency
managers, doctors, ambulances, search and rescue teams, aircraft
and commodities throughout the region. There are millions of
meals and millions of liters of water prestaged, as well as
a lot of blankets and cots. In other words, there’s a lot of
preparations that have gone in in anticipation of this storm.
We’re working with governors to identify and secure out-of-state
shelter for people in the path of the storm. Several states,
including Missouri, Texas, and New Mexico, are preparing to
and have accepted a lot of evacuees. People are leaving those
areas that are of concern and we’re working hard to make sure
that they have a place to go.
The Army Corps of Engineers informs me that while the levees
are stronger than they’ve ever been, people across the Gulf
Coast, especially in New Orleans, need to understand that in
a storm of this size there is serious risk of significant flooding.
The message to the people of the Gulf Coast is, this storm
is dangerous. There’s a real possibility of flooding, storm
surge, and high winds. Therefore, it is very important for
you to follow the instructions and direction of state and local
officials. Do not put yourself in harm’s way, or make rescue
workers take unnecessary risks. And know that the American
people stand with you. We’ll face this emergency together.
In the coming days I encourage people across our nation to
help their neighbors in need. You can contribute to charities,
such as the Red Cross. You can volunteer your time to help
those in need. And, of course, you can pray for those who might
In light of these events, I will not be going to Minnesota
for the Republican National Convention. I’m going to travel
down to Texas tomorrow to visit with the Emergency Operations
Center in Austin, where coordination among federal, state,
and local government officials is occurring. I intend to go
down to San Antonio where state and local officials are prepositioning
relief materials for Texas and Louisiana, and I’ll have a chance
to visit with residents of both states who have been evacuated.
I will not be traveling to Louisiana tomorrow because I do
not want my visit to impede in any way the response of our
emergency personnel. I’ve been talking to the governors, yesterday
and today; I also spoke with Mayor Nagin of New Orleans to
make sure that they’re getting everything they need from the
federal government to prepare for what all anticipate will
be a difficult situation. I hope to be able to go to Louisiana
as soon as conditions permit.
has come to know the strong and resilient spirit of the people
of the Gulf Coast. They’ve made it through great challenges in the past and
they’re going to make it through this one, as well. In the meantime, all
those preparing for this storm are in our thoughts and our prayers from me
and Laura and our whole nation.
Thank you very much.
END 12:28 P.M. EDT