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New intranet goes to aid of hurricane victims

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency is using a new intranet it installed last month to help support relief efforts to hurricane victims in Florida. 

After Hurricane Charley hit Florida, FEMA set up a field office to help handle a flood of financial aid requests. Relief workers had access to the agency's intranet to help process appeals for financial relief. 

Some claims had been processed and cheques sent to relief victims within two or three days, said FEMA chief information officer Barry West. 

FEMA hopes to expand the network to an extranet to help streamline its interactions with other government agencies. 

"The whole wireless issue is key to us here," said West, but added that FEMA still had to work out wireless security and policy issues with other jurisdictions before it began the widespread implementation of wireless systems. 

"We'd love to be able to be on the scene and communicate with the first responder out there, but we're not there yet," he said.

Thomas Hoffman writes for Computerworld

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