— CNN (@CNN) August 27, 2017
Tropical Storm Harvey, once a Category 4 hurricane that ripped through Rockport and Corpus Christi, Texas, has firmly setted into Houston with historic and “catastrophic” floodwaters, which prompted overnight rescues of at least 1000 trapped residents. The storm’s death toll has officially increased to five and is likely to rise in the coming days along with damage reports. On that note, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) head Brock Long how long his agency is prepared to help Texans recover from this disaster (which doesn’t even account for the slow-moving system’s presence in Louisiana throughout next week). Long didn’t flinch:
“FEMA’s going to be there for for years, sir. This disaster’s going to be a landmark event, and while we’re focused on response right now and helping Texas respond, we’re already pushing forward — recovery housing teams, forces to be on the ground to implement national flood insurance program policies as well, and doing the inspections that we need. So, we’re setting up and gearing up for the next couple years.”
From there, Tapper grilled Long about the many relevant vacancies in Trump’s administration, including two deputy directors of FEMA and directors of both NOAA and the National Hurricane Center. In response, Long said, “I don’t even have time to worry about that right now.” That’s a fair response, given the ongoing Harvey chaos, and he also insisted that Trump is “extremely concerned, incredibly engaged” in the Harvey situation. So far, Long — who served in FEMA during Hurricane Katrina — has assured the U.S. that the feds can handle this disaster, but the real test will arrive in the weeks and months after Harvey leaves Texas and Louisiana.