Hurricane Ike Daily Update: Friday, September 19, 2008, Noon
September 19, 2008
- To assist our VA family in recovery efforts from Hurricane Ike, VCS is extending assistance to help you secure essential supplies and other replacement items for your homes. Effective Friday, September 19, and until further notice, VCS is increasing our payroll deduction limits for MEDVAMC and VARO employees. Our payroll deduction line of credit will increase from $1250 to $2500. This increase will not effect the maximum repayment of $125 per pay period but simply extend the repayments terms. If you currently have a payroll deduction account, you will have access to this additional credit on Friday. If you do not have an account and would like to secure one, simply visit the canteen to attain a request form. We will expedite processing of your request. VCS has a wide network of vendors and can assist you with everything from major appliances to apparel. Feel free to contact our Special Order Call Center at 1-800-664-8258, or talk to your canteen staff regarding anything you may need. Finally, the Secretary of the VA has asked the VCS and the Leadership VA Alumni Association (LVAAA) to coordinate a VA Employees Disaster Relief Fund across the nation. This initiative will secure fund donations making funds available to Employee Associations at VA Medical Centers where hurricane damage was extensive and to VA employees who suffered major damage or losses to their homes and autos. More information on this initiative is forthcoming.
- The VCS family extends our thoughts and prayers to you and your family, and stands ready to help in any way – On behalf of Marilyn Iverson, Director, Veterans Canteen Service.
- If you have gas and can offer a ride to a fellow employee or you do not have gas and need a ride to get to work, please contact Ray Glover, Transportation Coordinator at 713-791-1414 ext. 4722 or email Ray.Glover@va.gov. The plan is to match up co-workers who live near each other and pull together during this difficult time.
- Find which gas stations are open and supplying fuel, based on accounts from eyewitnesses, official accounts, and reports in news media. NOTE: After being listed here, gas stations may still run out of fuel, so be mindful of the time at which individual reports are posted. http://www.chron.com/databases/ikegas *.
- Coordinated child care services provided to VA employees will end today, September 19 at midnight. For employees who wish to continue to utilize child care services at the Diamond A-Cat-A-Me, contact Melbra Garvey at 713-520-0165.
- Effective immediately, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will begin operating from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. through Monday, September 22. When the EOC is closed, the following resources are available: MAA – ext. 3808/3809; Emergency Management Coordinator, Danny Shine – 832-472-9028; on call social worker – pager 713-841-9873.
- The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is providing emotional support groups for employees affected by Hurricane Ike: Friday, 9/19/08 - 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m., Room 4C-122 and 3:30-4:30 p.m., Room 4C-122. Additional dates and times have been broadcast.
- The link below provides important information with regard to bank closings as the result of the hurricane: http://www2.fdic.gov/hurricane/index.asp *.
- Federal employees experiencing major losses due to a declared natural disaster may be eligible to apply for a grant from the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund by filling out a disaster relief application **. Grant limits are set on a case-by-case or per disaster basis. Please note that employees should complete the entire application, including the "Applicant Loan Agreement", even if only requesting a grant on the initial application. (This allows the loan process to go more quickly if a loan is requested later.) In addition, employees who have lost their homes and/or been forced to make temporary living arrangements should provide a current mailing address where a check can be sent if they are approved for assistance. Applications can be obtained by contacting FEEA at 303-933-7580 or downloading the application form at www.feea.org *. Individuals can also donate to the FEEA via its website and/or via the Combined Federal Campaign.
- Individuals in declared Hurricane Ike Federal disaster areas may be eligible to receive emergency food stamps through the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). You may apply for emergency assistance by visiting an HHS benefits office (for fastest service), applying online at www.YourTexasBenefits.com *, or calling 2-1-1 or 1-877-541-7905 (both toll free). Visit http://www.hhsc.state.tx.us/index.shtml * for additional information regarding this program, including which benefits offices are currently open. Those without internet access may visit the Employee Support Unit in Room 2C-341 (between 8:00am and 4:30pm) for a flyer containing additional details and/or for assistance in determining which benefits offices are open in your area. Individuals in disaster areas who already get food stamps do not need to visit a benefits office or call HHS – the agency will automatically replace some of your September food stamps and put the new food stamp amount on your Lone Star Card later this week.
- The City of Houston Emergency Operations Center announced the Boil Water Order has been lifted for Houston and Harris County. The Safety Department at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center separately tested the MEDVAMC water and also found it to be safe to drink. Clear Lake City Water Authority has not lifted its boil water order.
- If your work area has experienced water intrusion (due to the storm) and the carpet is wet, contact EMS at ext. 7488.
- All power strips and extension cords that were used during the power outage should be returned to Bio-Med located in Room 3C-400.
- Power has been restored to the VA Regional Office and they are open for normal business.
- Showers in Bldg. 108 (IMSL building) are available for employees to use from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Please be considerate with usage time and keep them clean. Contact EMS at ext. 7488 if they need attention.
- Effective Monday, September 22, 2008, the hours of operation for the Employee Support Unit (ESU) will be 12 – 4 p.m., Monday-Friday, until further notice. The ESU has been established to provide general resource information to employees affected by Hurricane Ike. Employees wishing to contact the ESU may do so by calling 713-794-7754 or 713-794-7755 or by visiting Room 2C-341.
- The Canteen has received some basic supplies from fellow Canteen units in Texas that individuals may be looking for or in need of. These include: paper towels, toilet tissue, personal hygiene items, toothbrushes and toothpaste, portable fans, dish soap, hand bar soap, snack items, canned soups and meal packs. These are not free items.
- Individuals who experienced damage to their vehicle on the VA complex during the hurricane may file a report with the VA Police.
- The outpatient clinics in Galveston, Texas City, and Beaumont are closed today. Assessments of these clinics are currently being made and information will be provided when a determination is made on their reopening. Conroe clinic has reopened. A mobile clinic is located in the parking lot of the Texas City VA Outpatient Clinic located at 9300 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway, Suite 206 near the Mainland Mall. The clinic will be open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- If you have staffing issues and need people to answer phones, greet patients, etc., call the Labor Pool at ext. 7598 and let them know your manpower needs. Staff who have youth (minimum age 13) who would like to volunteer, contact the Volunteer Office at ext. 7135.
- Evacuated veterans with urgent care needs requiring continuing care may contact any VA facility by dialing 1-800-507-4571. This phone number may also be used by families and friends requiring information about patients from those VA facilities affected by natural and man-made disasters. Veterans may call with questions such as where to access health care, how to receive their prescription drugs, or any other concerns they may have about their care.
- FEMA is ready to assist victims of Hurricane Ike. Applicants should call the FEMA hotline number at 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585) or visit www.fema.org *. Three types of assistance are available: rent assistance for temporary housing; financial assistance for home repairs; and other needs assistance (i.e., medical expenses, dental expenses, personal property damage, and transportation assistance).
- The van pool and GSA vehicle parking lot has been moved to Lot D located behind the Engineering buildings. A shuttle from the lot to the main building is not available at this time.
- The Vet Center located at 2990 Richmond Avenue is open today. The Vet Center located at 701 N. Post Oak Road is closed today due to flooding, however, Post Oak staff is located at the Richmond Avenue center.
- If you need a Red Cross shelter, call 713-526-8300 or 1-866-438-4636.
- For information on road conditions, visit www.txdot.gov * or call 1-800-452-9292.
Useful Web sites:
Latest Business Openings
Hurricane recovery distribution centers
Open Stores List
Hurricane Ike Relief And Assistance Information for Houston Area
|Emergency Mgr Coordinator
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