Skip To Main

Rep. Yvette D. Clarke Chairs Subcommittee Hearing on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness

Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, Chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and Technology, held a hearing entitled, “Real-Time Assessment of the Federal Response to Pandemic Influenza.” Rep. Clarke released the following statement:


Good afternoon, I’d like to thank our witnesses for appearing before us today.


The Homeland Security Committee has long been concerned with the state of our preparedness to deal with pandemics.  Today, our Subcommittee turns its attention to the Federal response to the re-emerging threat of pandemic influenza.


Over the weekend, President Obama declared a National Emergency with respect to the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic.  This action underscored the gravity of the situation. 


Although we went into this pandemic better prepared than we had been in the past, we were not fully prepared to meet the pandemic when it started this year. 

Going into this pandemic, we knew that:


·        Our early warning and detection systems were inadequate;

·        Some key planning activities were incomplete;

·       We didn’t have a good approach to provide health care under pandemic conditions; and

·        Levels of preparedness for pandemic influenza were unclear.


Unfortunately, our failure to develop these systems, activities, and policies cost us during the response.


For instance:


·       The pandemic started in North America – the one place we were not looking for it;