Wednesday, September 07, 2005

FEMA did nothing, kept others from doing anything

The Dominion: FEMA Turned Away Aid, Rescue Crews, Cut Emergency Communication Lines: Witnesses FEMA is a disaster in itself.

After Hurricane Katrina decimated Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, FEMA turned away hundreds of volunteers in various boating groups who were willing to go in and pull people out of flooded areas.

FEMA itself didn't seem to start much before noon, and finished at dusk.

FEMA kept one Louisiana parish from getting a 1000 gallons of diesel fuel to support its operations.
Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard said that "we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, 'Come get the fuel right away.' When we got there with our trucks, they got a word. 'FEMA says don't give you the fuel.'"
No explanation of why FEMA did not want Jefferson Parrish to have the fuel they needed.

Then FEMA cut communications lines.
Broussard also said that FEMA cut "all of our emergency communication lines."

"They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, 'No one is getting near these lines.'"
Communications are one of the things are that always at a premium in a disaster. So much so that the Amateur Radio Relay League (Ham Radio organization) runs emergency communications classes and has volunteers who work with emergency relief agencies to provide communications when the phone networks are knocked out. Why would anyone cut off communication into a disaster area?

FEMA ignored offers of help from other cities.
FEMA also attracted fire from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the city of Chicago is "ready to provide more help than they have requested."

"We are just waiting for their call," Daley was quoted as saying. They mayor said he was "shocked" that no one seemed to want the help.

According to Daley, the city offered "36 members of the firefighters' technical rescue teams, eight emergency medical technicians, search-and-rescue equipment, more than 100 police officers as well as police vehicles and two boats, 29 clinical and 117 non-clinical health workers, a mobile clinic and eight trained personnel, 140 Streets and Sanitation workers and 29 trucks, plus other supplies."
It isn't just that the director of FEMA needs to be fired - he does! But the entire organization is more of a hindrance that a help in times like this.

WorldNetDaily: Rescuers turned into PR flaks FEMA took 1400 fire and rescue officers - trained and with their equipment and wanted them to hand out fliers with FEMA's phone number. (of course given that they had cut communications...)

FEMA was not interested in getting aid to the suffering; they were interested in protecting their turf.
"We wanted soldiers, helicopters, food and water," Denise Bottcher, press secretary for Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana, told the New York Times. "They wanted to negotiate an organizational chart."
Cutting communications, keeping medical teams out of the city, keeping rescuers out of areas where people are known to be trapped and dying are all signs of an organization drunk on power, with no clear idea of what the true priorities are.

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