FEMA administrator Brock Long on Monday asked for all American citizens' help in what will be a lengthy recovery from the disastrous flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas.
"Helping Texas overcome this disaster is going to be far greater than FEMA coordinating the mission of the entire federal government," Long said. "We need citizens to be involved. This is a landmark event. We have not seen an event like this. You could not draw this forecast up. You could not dream this forecast up."
"This is a whole community effort," he added.
During the briefing, reporters started to ask why Houston was not evacuated before Hurricane—now Tropical Storm—Harvey hit, but Long encouraged the media not to start pointing blame.
"Yes, we will strive to get better. Right now, it's not a time to start pointing blame," he said. "Right now what I need media to do is organize the efforts, to help us organize citizen efforts, to ultimately help Texas. These people are in need."
Thousands of people have been rescued and evacuated since the flooding hit over the weekend. FEMA estimates more than 30,000 people will be sent to shelters. The extent of the damage is unknown, and the rainfall is not expected to let up for several days.