Washington, DC – As Hurricane Irma continues to approach the coast of southern Florida today the federal government is working with state and local agencies “to help save lives, protect families, and assist those in need,” President Donald J. Trump said yesterday as part of his weekly address to the nation.
Irma, currently a Category 4 hurricane, is expected to reach the Florida Keys early tomorrow morning, according to news reports.
Today, Trump and First Lady Melanie Trump will be hosting a weekend meeting of Cabinet officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, at Camp David in Maryland, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said yesterday during a White House press briefing. Among the topics of discussion, she said, the president will receive briefings on Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts and preparations for Hurricane Irma.
Irma “is a storm of absolutely historic destructive potential,” Trump said in his weekly address. “I ask everyone in the storm’s path to be vigilant, and to heed all recommendations from government officials and law enforcement.”
He added, “Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our people. We are doing everything we can to help with disaster preparations and, when the time comes, we will restore, recover, and rebuild — together, as Americans.”
In such challenging times, Trump said, the “strength and the resolve of the American Spirit” is demonstrated “and we see the kindness and courage of our people.”
Last month, Texas and Louisiana were lashed by Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm which flooded the city of Houston. The US military and state National Guard units provided part of the national emergency response to Harvey.
Earlier this week, Hurricane Irma pounded the Caribbean region as it’s now making its way toward Florida, skirting Cuba’s northern coast. The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, located near the US Virgin Islands, is conducting medical evacuations for critical care patients from St. Thomas to St. Croix and performing damage assessments in support of the local government. They also are transporting people and supplies to the affected areas with medium and heavy lift helicopters.
US Northern Command is fully engaged with federal, state, territorial and international mission partners as the command continues its planning, pre-positioning and initial Defense Department response efforts for Hurricane Irma.
“With gratitude for our first responders, and prayers for those in the storm’s path, America stands united — and I mean totally united. From Texas to Louisiana, from Florida to Puerto Rico, and always the US Virgin Islands, and everywhere in between that has been affected by these terrible storms: we will endure and come back stronger than ever before,” the president said.