FEMA: New Madrid Earthquake Preparedness is Agency Priority

FEBRUARY 24, 2006 - Posted at 5:03 p.m. CST

ST. LOUIS, MO - A FEMA official tells a congressional field hearing in St. Louis today that preparing for a catastrophic earthquake along the New Madrid Fault is a priority.

Michael Pawlowski is a section chief for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

He was one of several speakers at a hearing on how prepared the U.S. government is to handle a natural disaster.

Pawlowski says New Madrid is at the top of the agency's priorities list, saying that preparing for such an event is "a primary objective."

He says the agency is concerned for the potential of an earthquake like those that struck in the Mississippi River Valley in the 1800s.  He says such an event could pose unprecedented problems and challenges.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)