Wednesday, September 07, 2005

But tell me again why it's the mayor's fault?

Really, really excellent article in Salon on the endemic problems in the new FEMA. You can sign up for a free day pass if you're not a subscriber.

Days before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, the city of Chicago drew up a list of resources it was willing to make available for relief efforts in areas that might be hit by the storm. Chicago told the Federal Emergency Management Agency that in the event of disaster, it could spare more than 100 Chicago police officers, 36 Fire Department personnel, eight emergency medical experts, more than 130 staff from Chicago's Department of Public Health, 140 staff from the Department of Streets & Sanitation, dozens of trucks and two boats. These teams, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley told federal officials, could work in affected areas independently, bringing their own food, water and other supplies with them. But FEMA apparently wasn't interested. Despite the host of resources Chicago offered, and despite the televised lack of resources in New Orleans, as of late last week, FEMA had requested only one thing from Chicago -- a single tanker truck. "I was shocked," Daley said at a news conference on Friday. "We are ready to provide considerably more help than they have requested. We are just waiting for a call."

Daley wasn't the only generous donor to be rebuffed. Throughout last week, various local and state governments, corporations and nonprofit organizations across the nation attempted to help in the relief effort, only to be snubbed by federal officials -- officials who were themselves providing precious little aid to those in need. Citing security concerns, the Department of Homeland Security barred the American Red Cross from entering New Orleans with food. Five hundred Floridian airboaters were ready to rescue people stranded in inundated homes, but FEMA turned them down. Twenty sheriff's deputies from Loudoun County, Va., suffered a similar fate. And Aaron Broussard, the president of Jefferson Parish, La., said on "Meet the Press" on Sunday that FEMA declined to let him accept three tanker trucks of water donated by Wal-Mart, as well as 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel stored in a Coast Guard vessel docked in his district.

1 comment:

KAS said...

Thanks for the link...interesting :P