Local failure caused by FEMA
That is the meme we need to push to counter the latest Bush PR campaign.
In the case of Katrina we need to make clear that we are not complaining that FEMA did not arrive in NO. Clearly, the leadership of FEMA was on the scene immediately and took charge of the situation. The problem was that the leadership was so incompetent that it succeeded in interfering with local relief efforts but failed to provide any federal relief efforts. It kills me to see that the meme of "local failure" could take hold when story after story indicates that "local failure" was large caused by FEMA.
Over the past week I've read of the following:
- 1000 folks from the Lafayette area with 500 boats head to NO to aid the rescue get turned back by FEMA.
- Wal-Mart trucks with food and water get turned back by FEMA. More here
- The USS Bataan off the coast of LA ready to help, but underused by FEMA. See also here
- Shipments of diesel fuel being turned back by FEMA
- firemen from Houston turned away by FEMA
- More fire fighters turned away.
- Angel Flight South Central seaplanes getting a run around from FEMA
- DMAT Teams available but still on call.
- Red Cross kept out of New Orleans. Note: this is actually attibuted to the state Homeland Security department. More information on who is responsible for this decision would be helpful. See also here
- Northcom ready to act, but not given needed orders.
- Mobile medical lab stalled in Mississippi. Doctors and hospitals offering aid but not getting response. This article is a bit confusing as to whether the problem is at the state or federal level or both.
- NYT article discusses the controversy and provides additional claims of FEMA interfering generally and some specific examples.
- Florida airboaters stalled by FEMA.
- Water tanker aircraft for fire fighting and Amtrack trains for evacuation. See here.
- Morticians turned away.
- Maryland fire fighters blocked by FEMA.
- Generators turned away by FEMA in Slidel.
- Nevada law enforcement volunteers put on hold.
- Wisconsin busses turned back by red tape at several levels
- Michigan buses
- Aid from Chicago
- 500 search/rescuers in Dallas hotels waiting
- Fire fighters in Dallas. This could be another story about the same previous group. If anyone knows, I'll adjust the post accordingly.
- CA cautioned by FEMA to go slow in accepting survivors or it might loose funds.
- Long list of foreign aid refused by the federal government. I don't have a reference for this, so if anyone has it, please let me know.
- American authorities "to busy" to respond to Canadian offers of aid
Here's a blog covering the whole issue in depth:
See also Live Journal
The local disaster response was, while inadequate, not disastrous. That effort, however, was made disastrous by FEMA.
The item on the Red Cross appears to be a more complicated item than merely FEMA failing to lead. However, the problem does appear to be outside the contol of the local governemnts. As said, more information on that issue would be helpful. Perhaps there exists a diary or blog that is capturing that issue in all its detail. If such a thing exists, I'd like to get a reference. Thanks.
This link to an LA times article on FEMA is quite relevant as well.
[Update] A picture is starting to emerge as to what caused the collosal failure at FEMA. It has become an organization without leadership or imagination, only able to follow bureaucratic procedures and mired in red tape.
Additional infor on FEMAs past and ongoing failures.
Related casees of FEMA being absent.
Brown warned 32 hours before landfall that levees could be breached.
[Note: The original version of this entry pointed to this link which says nothing about 32 hour notification. My appologies for any confusion.]
And this is directly tied to GWB himself. Fire fighters above are still underused but did get orders to provide background for a Bush photo op. (See the final graph). The absurdity only grows with this administration.