Jean-Pierre: FEMA ‘Doing Everything that They Can’ in Hawaii

On Thursday’s “CNN News Central,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that FEMA is “doing everything that they can” in the wake of the fires in Hawaii.

Jean-Pierre stated, “The president is going to continue to marshal a whole-of-government effort, approach, as he has done from day one, with having dozens of federal agencies and departments on the ground helping local partners and state partners get the assistance, the federal assistance that these survivors need. And this is incredibly important. This is something that the president takes very seriously. And you’ve heard from the FEMA administrator, there [are] more than 600 personnel — staffers on the ground. They’ve already provided $2.3 million of family assistance.”

Co-host Sara Sidner then asked, “FEMA was on the ground, they have been criticized in the past, in past disasters for not getting there quickly enough. But in this case, they were on the ground, quickly. I do want to ask you, though, you talk about people having to call that number, they have to register, as we understand it, call the number, go to the website. But here’s the big problem that we are hearing on the ground: There is no power, they are having very spotty cell service, it’s very difficult to communicate, and they are restricted in their movement. So, what can FEMA do better to help alleviate some of these issues for people who are saying, we are not getting the help we need?”

Jean-Pierre responded, “And so, here’s the thing, our job and FEMA, the administrator has spoken to this — and, obviously and unfortunately, she and her team have had to deal with many disasters over the past two years, as we’re dealing with extreme weather — they are on the ground, they are doing everything that they can. Obviously, this is a dynamic situation, as you’ve heard directly from the administrator. We’re working with the cell companies to try and make sure that that communication happens. I mentioned that FEMA has already provided and given $2.3 million of family assistance. So, it’s getting out there. Our job, and she has said this as well, and the federal government personnel[‘s] job is to make sure that we communicate that, that we get that to the folks on the ground, and we will be there. You’ll hear from the president directly. He has actually said this, he’s going to — we are going to be there today, tomorrow, and as long as it takes.”

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