Acting DHS secretary prepares for Hurricane Harvey

Acting Secretary Elaine Duke talks to ABC News' David Kerley from the FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
6:38 | 08/25/17

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Transcript for Acting DHS secretary prepares for Hurricane Harvey
I'm David curly from ABC news in Washington DC and we were coming alive to you today from FEMA headquarters. The federal emergency management administration and this is their national response coordination center and as you can see it is abuzz because of hurricane Harvey. Now a category three and heading to the coast of Corpus Christi, Texas. And with us today to talk about the preparations being made to try and mixtures in American lives saved disease. Acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security going to thank you very much for joining us live and thanks again talking to our ABC audiences hurricanes now about seven miles. Off the coast. Is that federal government ready to help protect Americans were in the past. We are ready to sport the governor we have been working with him in the local officials for the past five or six days. They are ready FEMA is at in the federal government's ready. Give us some sense Tina has told us they've moved a lot of supplies. In two position. We saw apparently are warehouse in Dallas moving water parks. FEMA is kind of backing up what the state and locals right. Absolutely that's they national response plan is that states and the local officials leave the response in FEMA supports as requested by the governor. This is a dangerous storm what are you most worried about. Flooding and storms are absolutely flooding probably number one. And that's because the storm is expected to sit over this area just continue to portray it is and it's going to be sustained flooding and sustained flooding and sustained winds. Will as. It will could delay the federal response were urging average citizen and person in that area if they've decided to shelter in place to be ready. And to be vigilant. It's been a long time since hurricanes. On the United States what have we done since the last hurt in that makes us better preparedness I think we've week. Have done a lot of lessons learned we constantly exercising each time we exercise. To respond we go on lessons learned with also straighten things federal coordination between agencies just about three weeks ago the cabinet the president the vice president we're here. At FEMA doing some exercise planning for this specific event. Can you tell me what is going on in this room might see a lot of people but this is not just be witnesses not just being medicis batter all state and local per cents. That around twelve hour shifts right now continuing the operational planning. They are cities together. By teams depending on what their job is logistics transportation. And they are working with the state local officials to continue to plan. You mentioned lessons learned this is a result of some of us. Over the public debt management yes having being and one man important nation senators sent shock. A lot of folks. Have not been told that there is not a mandatory evacuation order with this storm now so close to the code. Host what is your advice to those who might be listening to your right. I know for Texas the governor has set now it's best to shelter in place because of the proximity is store. The storm what I would say for those around the areas we cannot predict we can model but we cannot predict what is gonna happen to the storm. So we've also been working with Louisiana. To make sure that they are ready in case the storm went to hurt so do not. Take the models and expect them to follow exactly that path be read it. I don't like it too far into the weeds the disaster declarations governors ask for they sometimes ask for before an event like we've. Seen here they talked about this at the White House briefing today that. If everything is in order the president according to. White House Homeland Security official is probably going to go ahead and make a declaration anything you can tell us about the sports. The governor habit from Texas did request the declaration this afternoon. The ministry it is presently is looking at this afternoon. And what does that do how does that help a governor's stated it. That allows statement a comment and more directly partner with the governor so it's the governor's request for federal assistance and also invokes the Stafford act. And so the the the federal resource says the people and that the finances can be put towards responding and recovering this disaster. John Kelly was the secretary unease over the White House now as chief of staff your tap acting secretary. Very quickly on your tenure here you have this major storm hitting states. What is your business here over the next twelve to 24 hours. I I think what I am focusing on is making sure they operators have what they needed have the support at the federal level. I was at DH us for Katrina. And so what I know is we need to let them do their job at the state local and few months. Level and then we need to provide the support and coordination for that so that's what I'm looking more and rest of Americans who are not in the town that are going to be watching us. Over the next several hours. I I would say two. These B support and I think this is. It in some ways an opportunity for us to come together as Americans and support each other I'm surest in the not for profits will be looking for support. And so decide which each person wants to do. For there a fellow Americans in devastated areas. I know you're mostly worried about Americans and citizens who made it hit by the storm we also have a major oil infrastructure. In the Gulf Coast. Homeland Security that's part of our Homeland Security what's can the department do about that. We are working with the critical infrastructure sector of energy we've been working with them just as long to make sure that their assets are secure. And ready to be back on S in this act we'll after the storm. The latest forecast you've seen what do you think. Is going to happen what will you and I be talking about 24 hours bullets category three are ready and that came a little bit earlier than some have predicted. I think we're gonna see it hit land fall in we're going to aid to receive the flooding in the storm's surge we expect. What's unpredictable as what's gonna happen after the next couple days and that's what we really have to be careful about and even though we talk about a hurricane and wins it really is the water. The rain that's going to be the problem yes we have seen in these major disasters like sandy like Katrina that the flooding. Is what sustains things like power outage and the inability of peoples to come back to their house. Secretary Elaine good thank you very much thank appreciate it. We will be monitoring this situation here at ABC news and on these streams throughout the next 24 to 48 hours real estate here. I'm David criminals who the next.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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