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August 28th, 2012
09:41 AM ET

Fugate: FEMA is in good shape for Isaac, working with states to ensure agency is 'not holding anything up'

Having raced by Florida, tropical storm Isaac could now make landfall along the Gulf Coast as early as tonight.

Residents in Louisiana are preparing to test the new levees in effect since Hurricane Katrina hit them seven years ago. President Obama declared a state of emergency for Louisiana Monday, but the state is requesting more assistance. The latest reports from the National Hurricane Center predicts that Isaac could bring a storm surge up to 12 feet of water to New Orleans.

FEMA Director Craig Fugate speaks to CNN’s Zoraida Sambolin from Tallahassee, Florida on "Early Start" this morning, updating on the latest track from tropical storm Isaac.

"We're already in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama," Fugate says. "We have supplies coming in. The other lesson we learned, we don't want to wait until something happens and do assessments and determine what we need. So, we move supplies, particularly in this case, generator, water, food, infant supplies, and types of things that may be needed if the states do have a lot of flooding or other types of damages."

"What the president said yesterday was if you have a request for specific federal assistance, we're ready to provide that life safety issues," Fugate adds. "We're not going to hold anything up. But we'll look at the impacts and determine, does this really exceed the state's capability that require federal tax dollars to support that response and particularly if they start having damages. So, early on the request was direct federal assistance. If the financial impacts are greater than the state of Louisiana can manage, we assess that and we'll make recommendations again looking at what the governor has requested."


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