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June 01, 2018

Thompson Statement on the Start of Hurricane Season

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on the start of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season.  Congressman Thompson also called on Homeland Security Committee Chairman McCaul to lead a Committee visit to Puerto Rico – which is still recovering from the catastrophic aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

“The 2017 hurricane season was unfortunately one of the most active, costly, and dangerous to date.  Last year exposed that FEMA is woefully unprepared to help when the nation faces simultaneous, large-scale natural disasters. With increasingly volatile weather due to climate change, our government must understand that this is clearly becoming the new norm.”

“As we mark the first day of the 2018 Hurricane season, I am afraid I do not see the urgency from the Administration to prepare for what may come.  FEMA will say that they have learned from last year’s devastating storms, but it seems they are just hoping for the best.  The Administration must understand that this year could easily be just as tragic as last year.  My question to FEMA continues to be ‘Are we ready for what’s next?’ To be frank, I have never been more concerned that the answer from the Trump Administration appears to be no. FEMA can and must do better.”

“From Hurricanes Katrina to Maria, we know that natural disasters exacerbate the struggles of vulnerable populations.  Disasters do not impact the diverse corners of our nation equally.  Vulnerable and underserved populations affected by the 2017 storms were the hardest hit and are still struggling to return to normalcy. In Puerto Rico, thousands are still without power and will be for at least another two months and the Trump Administration seems to not care.  We still do not know how many perished from the storm because of the slow and inadequate Federal response.  Having visited Puerto Rico in the days after the storm, it is clear the real story of what happened there still has not gotten through. I hope Chairman McCaul agrees with me that it is time for the Committee to visit Puerto Rico so we can learn more about the ongoing recovery effort and the preparations for the 2018 hurricane season.” 

Link to Letter to Chairman McCaul

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978