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FEMA Was At Ground Zero When New Zealand Quake Struck (video)

The White House is deploying a team of disaster-response and urban-search-and-rescue teams to New Zealand
in response to the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that rocked the country Tuesday.

They will be greeted there by FEMA Deputy Administrator Timothy W. Manning,
who is already in the country assisting with response efforts and is uniquely qualified to do so.

Talk about being in the right place at the right time: Manning is a trained geologist, paramedic and firefighter
– the perfect combination for earthquake response.

He’s there as part of an American delegation visiting for trade and global security talks
and to review the country’s cleanup efforts following a September 7.0-magnitude quake.

Manning spoke Wednesday morning from Christchurch and recalled that he was about to board an airplane when the quake struck.

The transcript of our telephone conversation follows, edited for space:

Timothy Manning
FEMA Deputy Administrator Timothy W. Manning. (Courtesy FEMA)

What did you do right after the quake?

Manning: A number of New Zealand police officers asked for any doctors, paramedics, or people who could assist.
We joined up with a group of construction workers [at the airport]
and commandeered a shuttle bus and worked our way into town and went block-by-block, searching for survivors.

… Now I’m working in support
– as FEMA always is, in international assistance situations –

in support of USAID and the State Department.
I’m at the city operation center to assist and provide any assistance to Americans who may need help.

Rep. Manzullo, who is leading a Congressional delegation in New Zealand this week,
left the Christchurch area only three hours prior to the massive earthquake.

He discusses the tragedy with WTVO news.

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