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Who’s Deanne Criswell, Biden’s FEMA boss?

As Louisiana and the Gulf Coast braced for Hurricane Ida, set to make landfall on Sunday doubtlessly as a Class four storm, the Federal Emergency Administration Company (FEMA) was anticipated to play a key function in catastrophe reduction. 

So who’s its head, Deanne Criswell? 

Criswell, previously the commissioner of the New York Metropolis Emergency Administration Division, was confirmed by the Senate as FEMA administrator in April and is the primary lady to go the company. 

Throughout her two years in New York, Criswell helped managed the town’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, giant fires, extreme warmth and blackouts – together with occasions just like the New York Metropolis Marathon, in accordance with her biography on FEMA’s web site. 

A report lately launched by Metropolis Comptroller Scott Stringer claimed the town’s response to the pandemic was outdated and lacked important provides like N95 masks for well being care employees, in accordance with The Metropolis newspaper in New York. 

New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio defended the response by saying, there’s “no option to totally perceive a world pandemic till you’re in it and none of us anticipated, anyplace, something like this.” 

Deanne Criswell is the first woman to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency. (FEMA website)

Deanne Criswell is the primary lady to go the Federal Emergency Administration Company. (FEMA web site)


In February 2020, it was discovered that the town’s stockpile of greater than 100,000 N95s had expired. 

In response, Criswell wrote in an electronic mail final 12 months: “there are not any non-expired N-95 surgical grade masks in any metropolis stockpile.” However the NYC Well being + Hospitals’ pandemic preparation handbook in 2019 stated a big stockpile of private protecting gear ought to at all times be available, in accordance with the newspaper. 

Stringer’s report discovered it was unclear precisely what function Criswell’s division performed within the response to the pandemic, which has left greater than 33,000 New Yorkers lifeless. 

De Blasio praised Criswell after President Biden nominated her for the FEMA function in January.

“The American folks deserve leaders like Deanne Criswell,” de Blasio stated, in accordance with the AM New York newspaper. “Deanne has been a fearless, professional, and deeply revered voice on this administration. I’m happy with all she has completed in New York Metropolis, and I can’t wait to see what she’ll do in her new function.”

Criswell beforehand labored for FEMA in a lower-level place in the course of the Obama administration, together with main a nationwide incident administration help crew and serving as a federal coordinating officer the place she was the first federal consultant for main disasters, in accordance with FEMA’s web site. 

In 2005, lengthy earlier than Criswell arrived, FEMA confronted backlash for its response to Hurricane Katrina, which set its sights on New Orleans 16 years in the past Sunday. 

If the response to Ida runs into issues, Criswell may discover herself ready very like that of former FEMA Director Michael Brown, who headed the company when Katrina struck. Brown was pressured to resign over the broadly criticized federal response. 

Katrina was blamed for 1,800 deaths and precipitated levee breaches and catastrophic flooding in New Orleans, which took years to get better.

Through the Katrina response, Criswell was working in Colorado as head of the Workplace of Emergency Administration for the town of Aurora, the place she coordinated transitional housing and household reunification for Katrina evacuees being moved to the world. 


Extra lately, Criswell was on the bottom in the course of the search and restoration operation for the Surfside, Florida, rental collapse, which left 98 folks lifeless. 

“It’s tough to place into phrases the devastation that this neighborhood is experiencing,” stated Criswell, in accordance with Cox Media Group. “FEMA is on the bottom. We’ve got a restoration heart that’s working straight with households and family members impacted by this tragic occasion to get them the help they want.”


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