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FEMA still focused on responding to Harvey as Irma looms

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long speaks during a news conference Aug. 31, 2017, in Washington. At FEMA headquarters, top officials responsible for responding to large-scale public emergencies meet regularly to conduct drills and update plans covering numerous worst-case scenarios. That includes what to do if two massive hurricanes strike the U.S. mainland within days, 1,000 miles apart. Those plans are now being put into action as Hurricane Irma bears down on the Florida coast less than a week after Hurricane Harvey flooded much of Houston. (Jacquelyn Martin / ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long speaks during a news conference Aug. 31, 2017, in Washington. At FEMA headquarters, top officials responsible for responding to large-scale public emergencies meet regularly to conduct drills and update plans covering numerous worst-case scenarios. That includes what to do if two massive hurricanes strike the U.S. mainland within days, 1,000 miles apart. Those plans are now being put into action as Hurricane Irma bears down on the Florida coast less than a week after Hurricane Harvey flooded much of Houston. (Jacquelyn Martin / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency is ramping up preparations for Hurricane Irma as it barrels toward the Florida coast, even as the agency continues the massive recovery effort in storm-battered Texas.

The one-two punch of powerful storms is certain to strain the agency’s quickly dwindling coffers.

The roughly $1 billion left in FEMA’s Emergency Response Fund is expected to run out as soon as the end of the week, just as Category 5 Irma could be pounding Florida and less than two weeks after Hurricane Harvey caused massive flooding in Houston.

The House has overwhelmingly passed $7.9 billion in Harvey disaster relief. The 419-3 vote sent the aid package to the Senate in hopes of getting the bill to the president before FEMA runs out of money.


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