FEMA, National Guard Continue Massive Relief Operation

By: Alex Snyder Email
By: Alex Snyder Email

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WSAZ) – Hundreds of tractor trailers lined up and awaiting another run.

Immediately following the power-killing derecho that swept across West Virginia, and much of tri-state area, last Friday, the state called in reinforcements.

"FEMA's mission here is to support the response efforts by West Virginia," Nick Morici, a FEMA external affairs officer said.

This is a unique situation for FEMA.

They’re used to dealing with hurricanes and floods and other such natural disasters that cause major loss of property.

This time, however, the property damage is low but the impact on people’s lives is still massive.

So, FEMA has been working closely with the National Guard at the 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston to get huge amounts of commodities to people in need to help them live a somewhat normal life.

"We've moved about 297 tractor trailer loads of water, around 750,000 meals, and then we also have infant toddler kits -- two tractor trailer loads of those throughout the state -- and then, of course, you have oxygen, about 1,000 bottles of oxygen, and then we talk even about generators, and we're talking about generators that fuel hospitals, critical infrastructure, things like that -- we've had about 100 of those go out the door to make sure we're supporting the infrastructure here in the state," Morici said.

The logistics of such an operation seem like a nightmare, but the military is used to such large-scale transport of people and goods -- and that experience is helping citizens all across the state.

"They all come in on tractor trailers. They have to be unloaded and then counted and put on smaller trucks and taken out to the local area. And we've been doing that 24/7 since Saturday,” Col. Jerry Gouhin of the 130th Airlift Wing said.

And they’ve been doing all this while continuing normal operations and not having power themselves for the first three days following the storm.

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