From PBS News Hour, July 24, 2020

Federal officials testified before the House Oversight Committee on Friday about how the government will respond to natural disasters, including hurricanes, amid COVID-19.

Watch the hearing video player here.

The virus has overstretched states and left many people wondering how to safely respond to disasters while preventing the spread of more infections.

Meanwhile, the first hurricane to threaten the United States since the start of the coronavirus pandemic is presenting new challenges to Hawaii officials long accustomed to tropical storms.

For example, how do you secure enough shelter space when people have to stay at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart from one another?

Peter Gaynor, the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator, tells Congress that managing supplies due to shortfalls during the coronavirus pandemic is the most challenging issue as it prepares for peak hurricane season.

Gaynor spoke before the House Oversight subcommittee on Natural Disasters, saying that the response to COVID 19 and national disasters in 2020 is a “more difficult task of managing finite medical supplies and equipment.”

Gaynor says during COVID-19 “rather than managing resources we are managing shortages.” He added, “we want to ensure that we are using all available resources to address these critical shortfalls.”

FEMA has issued a 2020 operational guidance plan to the nations’ states, cities and territories, according to Gaynor,  outlining preparedness and actions needed during natural disasters in relation to COVID-19.

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