WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Hurricane Florence (all times local): 10:30 a.m. The Homeland Security Department is pushing back against a Democratic U.S. senator’s claim that the Trump administration transferred nearly $10 million from the government’s disaster relief agency to immigration enforcement. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon said the administration was taking money from FEMA’s “response and recovery” to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency at a time when Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the Southeast U.S. coast. But DHS officials said the money was transferred from unspent operational accounts for training, office supplies and headquarters costs. That funding cannot be spent on disaster response, they said. FEMA’s annual budget is about $15 billion. Merkley provided no evidence for his suggestion that the money came from hurricane response funds. ___ 9:30 a.m. Jeff Byard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it … [Read more...] about The Latest: DHS: FEMA money transfer won’t harm storm relief
Mother nature has a way of shaking things up, and not always in a good way: Just before 7 a.m. Tuesday, an 8.0 and 8.3 magnitude earthquake hit 120 miles from the American Samoa, a U.S. territory, triggering a tsunami. Several large waves hit the National Park of the American Samoa, completely destroying the park's visitor's center and offices. Some employees were swept up in the water, but eventually made it to higher ground. All of the park's employees and volunteers are thankfully safe and accounted for. In addition to the destruction of the park's visitor center and offices, the tsunami claimed at least one park employee's home as well. In the tsunami's aftermath, damage assessment is already underway with FEMA on hand to manage the overall response. Although all park employees did make it to safety, others were not as lucky: Of the 65,000 residents of the island, fatality estimates range from one to several dozen people. --Jordan Olmsted National Park Of The American Samoa … [Read more...] about Tsunami Hits National Park Of The American Samoa
Remember Donald Trump’s oft-repeated promise during the recent presidential race to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and force Mexico to pay for it? The wall remains on Trump’s agenda, although no one seriously believes that it will be funded by Mexican pesos. In fact, it’s looking like American travelers could end up underwriting much of the wall’s cost. In an early draft of the Trump administration’s budget proposal, reviewed by Politico, the Office of Management and Budget is asking for an 11 percent cut to the TSA, another 11 percent cut from FEMA, and a $1.3 billion cut from the Coast Guard. That’s the same TSA that less than a year ago was so understaffed and mismanaged that chronic bottlenecks at airport security checkpoints were routinely causing thousands of flight delays and missed flights, inconveniencing untold numbers of travelers. It was front-page news at the time, and if the agency’s budget is cut and staffing reduced … [Read more...] about Will Travelers Be Asked to Pay for Trump’s Wall?
This is something that many people in earthquake-prone regions already have on their keychain. A whistle (opt for a "pealess" whistle, one that does not contain a cork pea, for maximum durability) can help rescuers find you if you're trapped in a building or under rubble after a disaster. The high-pitched sound can be easier to detect than the human voice, and it can be indispensable when dehydration or crushing has impaired your ability to yell. Other Travel Uses: Personal safety if you're walking alone or at night, rallying a group or family, or kicking off an impromptu potato-sack race. This is something that many people in earthquake-prone regions already have on their keychain. A whistle (opt for a "pealess" whistle, one that does not contain a cork pea, for maximum durability) can help rescuers find you if you're trapped in a building or under rubble after a disaster. The high-pitched sound can be easier to detect than the human voice, and it can be indispensable when dehydration … [Read more...] about 8 Packable Things That Could Save Your Life
This spring I traveled to Mississippi for a different kind of trip than I’d ever taken before: a volunteer vacation. After seeing poverty first-hand in Morocco last year, I’d been looking for a chance to take a trip that was about more than just sightseeing; I wanted to get my hands dirty and do something to directly help the communities I traveled to. I got my chance when my parents told me they were going with a church group to help with hurricane rebuilding in Biloxi, Mississippi. Their church joined up with several others within the United Church of Christ to send a group of 18 to the Gulf Coast. We would be staying at the Back Bay Mission for a week, working Monday through Friday on the construction of a new house for a couple who had lost their home in Hurricane Katrina. I had absolutely zero construction experience to contribute to the project, but I signed up anyway and hoped for the best, figuring they’d find something for me to do — even if it was just … [Read more...] about Volunteer Vacation in Biloxi, Mississippi