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FCC Chairman to Visit Texas in Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

WASHINGTON — FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will travel to Texas on Tuesday to inspect the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey and to monitor the progress of restoring communications.

“Working in close coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, the FCC will do everything it can to help restore communications services after this terrible storm,” Pai said.

Earlier this week, Pai said that the storm had knocked out wireless cell sites in Aranas, Calhoun and Refugio counties, with communications networks hit hardest in areas where the hurricane hit landfall.

He said that the FCC has deployed field agents in the storm affected areas.

“Broadcasters and other news outlets have also played a critical role in conveying emergency information, and in some cases, even coordinating live, on-air rescues,” he said. “Everyone who is pitching in deserves our gratitude and support.”

A number of broadcasters are participating in telethons and fundraisers for victims of the hurricane.

In the wake of the disaster, the FCC activated a disaster information reporting system in which communications providers can report problems with communications infrastructure.

Harvey, now downgraded to a tropical storm, made landfall in Louisiana on Wednesday morning. The disaster has claimed at least 30 lives, and 33 counties have been declared disaster areas. Estimates are that tens of thousands of homes were destroyed in the hurricane and the subsequent flooding.

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