WV and National Disaster News - February 25, 2021


West Virginia
COVID-19 News
Vaccine News
Vaccine Equity
FEMA public assistance to 77 municipalities was approved late Wednesday for Oklahoma counties and tribes for infrastructure repairs and other costs associated with the historic ice storms last week. Tulsa World (OK) reports individual assistance for homeowners, renters and business owners affected by the storm was also approved for 16 counties. NBC affiliate KJRH-TV (OK) Gov. Kevin Stitt said Wednesday the state is going to request additional counties be added to the declaration and asked Oklahomans to continue reporting their winter storm-related damages online if their county has not yet been approved.
Funeral Aid for COVID victims
Politico reports FEMA funeral aid for Covid-19 victims has stalled over the potential for widespread fraud. The article says FEMA is planning a $2 billion pandemic funeral assistance program. However, according to two senior officials with direct knowledge of the situation, FEMA is scrambling to find safeguards that would prevent fraudsters from forging death certificates in an attempt to collect thousands of dollars for funerals that either never happened or were for people who died from another cause. The pandemic funeral program is poised to be the largest the agency has ever mounted, with more than 500,000 people dead so far.
America’s Supply Chain
NBC News reports President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday requiring a review of the global supply chains in key industries in an effort to boost domestic production and avoid shortages in critical goods amid the coronavirus pandemic. The order was partly prompted by the widespread shortage of personal protective equipment at the beginning of the pandemic. Biden said that the solution to supply chain issues will be to increase domestic production in certain industries as well as work with allies to prevent future shortages.
Managed security services provider industry publication MSSP Alert reports DHS will lead the governments cybersecurity efforts. DHS’s Alejandro Mayorkas said, “Cybersecurity is more important than ever, and we will build on the Department’s excellent work as we transform our whole-of-government approach to tackle the challenge we face as a nation.” The article says efforts include boosting FEMA spending on cybersecurity grant awards. In remarks scheduled to be delivered today, Mayorkas also said, “This week is just the beginning of a series of actions DHS will pursue nationally and internationally to improve cybersecurity at all levels.” In related news, CBS News reports Vice President Kamala Harris plans to prioritize cybersecurity and global health in foreign policy platforms.

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