NY, Hawaii, North Carolina ask FEMA for help handling dead


Workers construct what is believed to be a makeshift morgue behind a hospital during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New York, March 25, 2020.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

New York, Hawaii and North Carolina have requested emergency mortuary assistance from FEMA to handle the coming deaths expected from coronavirus as the pandemic bears down on the United States. 

A spokesperson for the Federal Emergency Management Agency confirmed the request in a statement on Wednesday. The requests are currently under review and have not yet been approved, the spokesperson said.

The requests are for HHS Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Teams, or DMORT, which “work to quickly and accurately identify victims and support local mortuary services,” according to a government website

Global deaths from COVID-19 have surged past 20,000, with the worst outbreaks continuing to shift west from China through Europe and soon expected in the U.S. There have been at least 809 deaths from the disease in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

In America, the death toll has been largely concentrated in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned of a looming shortage of ventilators and hospital beds. There are at least 17,856 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City, with almost 200 dead so far, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Hawaii and North Carolina have suffered few deaths from COVID-19 to date. After announcing its first death from the disease,…


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