Who leads FEMA? Govt's emergency management agency to provide water, generators and blankets in Texas

Who leads FEMA? Govt's emergency management agency to provide water, generators and blankets in Texas
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is starting work to provide relief in Texas (Getty Images)

HOUSTON, TEXAS: Nearly two million Texans are facing one of the worst winter storms of the decade. As per several reports, most of these people are still without power, oil and gas. There are several who are facing water shortages as well. After the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a winter storm warning, the federal government has come forward to help. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is closely working with the Texas division of Emergency Management to provide generators, water, and blankets.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said the winter storm would bring sleet, ice, and heavy snow to the country ranging from east Texas to the East Coast state of Maryland. In Texas, the winter storm has caused power outages, tree damages and has left several wild animals dead. Most of the state will be below freezing on Thursday, February 18 morning, and will remain freezing through Thursday night. The Governor of Texas Greg Abbott has announced on February 14 that the White House has issued a Federal Emergency Declaration for Texas in response to the severe winter weather throughout the state.


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“I thank President Biden for quickly issuing a Federal Emergency Declaration for Texas as we continue to respond to severe winter weather conditions throughout the state,” said Abbott. “This disaster declaration provides Texas with additional resources and assistance that will help our communities respond to this winter weather."

(Getty Images)

What is FEMA?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, which came into existence under Jimmy Carter’s presidency in 1979. The agency’s primary focus is to coordinate the response to a disaster in the United States. 

As per the signed Executive Orders, the governor of the state in which the disaster has occurred must declare a state of emergency and formally request the president that FEMA should respond to the disaster.

Who leads FEMA?

Under Donald Trump’s presidency, Robert J Fenton Jr served as FEMA’s acting administrator till June 2017, after he was replaced by Brock Long. Fenton had a leadership role in developing the National Incident Management System and the National Response Framework. Under Biden's presidency, Fenton is currently appointed as the acting FEMA administrator. He will be succeeded by Deanne Criswell, who was announced as Joe Biden’s nominee to lead FEMA.

Robert Fenton Jr (Getty Images)

As of this writing, Criswell is the commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management department, and if confirmed, she will become the first woman to lead the agency.

When it comes to disaster response agencies, Criswell is one of the fittest persons to lead one. She has previously served as a member of the Colorado Air National Guard and was deployed in Kuwait. She managed the Office of Emergency Management for the city of Aurora, Colorado. Under Barack Obama’s presidency, she worked in the FEMA and was appointed as the NYC Emergency Management commissioner in 2019.

Deanne Criswell (NYC Emergency Management)

“As we face the devastating impacts of Covid-19, as well as the increasing threat of climate change, it is imperative that FEMA addresses these challenges with innovative ideas to serve all Americans fairly and equitably,” Criswell said in a written statement after she was selected by Biden to become the next head of FEMA. “I look forward to this incredible opportunity.”

FEMA in Texas

After Abbott declared the State of Emergency, Biden ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts. The FEMA will closely monitor the ground support and will help all the 254 Texas counties.

"A major winter storm is spreading from the Southern Plains into the Northeast through Tuesday with a large area of snow, sleet, and freezing rain expected," said a spokesperson for FEMA on Wednesday, February 17. "Significant travel disruptions are expected, and power outages are occurring as winter weather extends from south Texas into Maine. At least 30 federally-supported vaccine sites in Texas are closed due to winter weather."

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