Federal, state and local officials have redoubled their efforts to
quickly bring aid to the people of southern California who have been
impacted by the Northridge earthquake and its many aftershocks. The
President has urged all residents of southern California, including
those affected by the earthquake and those who have been spared, to
participate in the recovery effort. He considers the long lines and
long waits at the Disaster Application Centers unacceptable, and has
ordered a number of steps to alleviate them. The steps currently being
To expedite the disaster assistance application process, the
process is being streamlined to decrease the time required to apply.
Six additional Disaster Application Centers have been identified and
will open in the next few days. Additional sites are being surveyed and
the existing centers are being expanded. By Saturday, a total of 14
centers will be in full operation, including two mobile Disaster
Application Centers. More mobile teams will be dispatched to areas as
needs are identified. Center hours have been expanded, and now operate
from 9 am to 10 pm until further notice.
To ease telephone registration, 400 additional operators have
been added, bringing the current total to over 700 operators on duty 24
hours a day. More operators and phone lines are being added daily.
Additional multi-lingual staff are being provided by foreign consulate
offices, including those of Mexico and South Korea, in southern
California. 100 bilingual FEMA disaster reservists have been
dispatched from Puerto Rico.
To assist people who are not currently sheltered, local
jurisdictions will prioritize inspections around parks to identify safe
homes, and will deploy outreach staff to encourage people to move back
into their homes if homes are determined to be safe. Local
jurisdictions will continue to expedite efforts to inspect residential
units for safety -- and will share all information with all agencies
offering disaster assistance in order to expedite the delivery of aid.
Tents are being set up at various parks to provide shelter. Additional
supplies of food and water are being provided by voluntary agencies.
To increase the flow of information to the public, a mobile
satellite uplink has arrived at the federal-state Disaster Field Office
in Pasadena, California. It will be used to provide a 24-hour disaster
information service from local, state, federal and voluntary
organizations, and to the news media. The Los Angeles Unified School
District's television station has agreed to rebroadcast the disaster
information channel 24 hours a day until further notice, and television
receivers are being placed in Disaster Application Centers and
emergency shelters to provide access.
In addition, special disaster housing certificates are now being
provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.