Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart

Representing the 25th District of FLORIDA

Diaz-Balart Statement from Hearing on Applying Lessons from Haiti to Domestic Emergency Management

Feb 3, 2010
Press Release

Washington, DC – The following is the statement of U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee Ranking Member, from today’s hearing entitled, “FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue Program in Haiti: How to Apply Lessons Learned at Home”:

“I thank Chairwoman Norton for holding this hearing and the witnesses for being here today.  I would especially like to welcome David Downey, Division Chief of the Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Department in my District.  The Miami-Dade Urban Search and Rescue Team has a long and successful track record in search and rescue operations and I appreciate their work and the work of the other teams represented here today.

“The devastation and destruction that occurred on January 12th was unparalleled.  It is difficult to comprehend the level of devastation unless you have been on the ground in Haiti, which is why I think it is so important to hear from the first responders here today.

“I know the people of Haiti are grateful for the selflessness and bravery of those who responded to this horrific disaster.

“America’s response to this tragedy is a testament to the greatness of our nation.  Despite difficult economic times, the American people have responded to the devastation in Haiti selflessly by donating money, goods and services, and by donating their time and physical labor on the ground.  Our government has also contributed money and assistance.

“I would be remiss without recognizing the contributions of our Armed Forces, the Coast Guard, the State Department, FEMA, our state governments, and the Search and Rescue teams for their incredible generosity.

“It will be years before the response and rebuilding process is complete, and those impacted will never fully recover from this devastation.

“Today’s witnesses have provided some insightful suggestions, based on their expertise and experience with the disaster in Haiti, that will hopefully help us better prepare for, mitigate against and respond to the