As Louisiana and the Gulf Coast braced for Hurricane Ida, set to make landfall on Sunday probably as a Category 4 storm, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was anticipated to play a key position in catastrophe aid.
So who is its head, Deanne Criswell?
Criswell, previously the commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management Department, was confirmed by the Senate as FEMA administrator in April and is the primary girl to go the company.
During her two years in New York, Criswell helped managed the town’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, giant fires, extreme warmth and blackouts – together with occasions just like the New York City Marathon, in keeping with her biography on FEMA’s web site.
A report just lately launched by City Comptroller Scott Stringer claimed the town’s response to the pandemic was outdated and lacked crucial provides like N95 masks for well being care employees, in keeping with The City newspaper in New York.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the response by saying, there’s “no strategy to totally perceive a worldwide pandemic till you’re in it and none of us anticipated, wherever, something like this.”
AS HURRICANE IDA MOVES RAPIDLY TOWARD GULF COAST, NORA COULD IMPACT SOUTHWEST
In February 2020, it was discovered that the town’s stockpile of greater than 100,000 N95s had expired.
In response, Criswell wrote in an e-mail final yr: “there aren’t any non-expired N-95 surgical grade masks in any metropolis stockpile.” But the NYC Health + Hospitals’ pandemic preparation handbook in 2019 mentioned a big stockpile of private protecting gear ought to at all times be readily available, in keeping with the newspaper.
Stringer’s report discovered it was unclear precisely what position Criswell’s division performed within the response to the pandemic, which has left greater than 33,000 New Yorkers useless.
De Blasio praised Criswell after President Biden nominated her for the FEMA position in January.
“The American individuals deserve leaders like Deanne Criswell,” de Blasio mentioned, in keeping with the AM New York newspaper. “Deanne has been a fearless, professional, and deeply revered voice on this administration. I’m happy with all she has achieved in New York City, and I can’t wait to see what she’ll do in her new position.”
Criswell beforehand labored for FEMA in a lower-level place through the Obama administration, together with main a nationwide incident administration help group and serving as a federal coordinating officer the place she was the first federal consultant for main disasters, in keeping with FEMA’s web site.
In 2005, lengthy earlier than Criswell arrived, FEMA confronted backlash for its response to Hurricane Katrina, which set its sights on New Orleans 16 years in the past Sunday.
If the response to Ida runs into issues, Criswell may discover herself ready very similar to that of former FEMA Director Michael Brown, who headed the company when Katrina struck. Brown was compelled to resign over the extensively criticized federal response.
Katrina was blamed for 1,800 deaths and induced levee breaches and catastrophic flooding in New Orleans, which took years to get well.
During the Katrina response, Criswell was working in Colorado as head of the Office of Emergency Management for the town of Aurora, the place she coordinated transitional housing and household reunification for Katrina evacuees being moved to the world.
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More just lately, Criswell was on the bottom through the search and restoration operation for the Surfside, Florida, condominium collapse, which left 98 individuals useless.
“It’s tough to place into phrases the devastation that this group is experiencing,” mentioned Criswell, in keeping with Cox Media Group. “FEMA is on the bottom. We have a restoration heart that is working straight with households and family members impacted by this tragic occasion to get them the help they want.”