September 07, 2005

FEMA's Failures

The more you know about the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, the worse it gets. Last night, the Associated Press reported that FEMA Director Michael Brown "waited hours after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast before he proposed to his boss sending at least 1,000 Homeland Security workers into the region to support rescuers." According to internal documents obtained by the AP, Brown specified that part of the workers mission would be to "'convey a positive image' about the government's response for victims" to the public. While it was sent five hours after the storm hit, Brown's letter lacked any sense of urgency -- he requested the workers arrive within two days. The letter politely ended, "Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities." Last week, President Bush praised Brown's efforts, telling him "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job."

TOP FEMA DEPUTIES MAKE BROWN LOOK QUALIFIED: Before joining FEMA, Brown "spent 11 years as the commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association, a breeders' and horse-show organization based in Colorado." (Brown was forced out "after a spate of lawsuits over alleged supervision failures.") Brown's top deputies, however, make him look qualified. The number two at FEMA, Chief of Staff Patrick Rhode, was an event planner ("advance man") for Bush's presidential campaign. He had absolutely no emergency management experience before joining FEMA. The number three at FEMA, Deputy Chief of Staff Scott Morris, was a press flak at the Bush campaign. He previously worked for Maverick Media, the firm that produced TV spots for Bush's campaigns. Morris also has no emergency management experience. In contrast, the top deputies of Clinton-era FEMA Director James Lee Witt ran regional FEMA offices for at least three years before assuming senior positions in Washington."

FEMA DIVERTS VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS TO SERVE AS BACKDROP FOR BUSH: Responding to an urgent plea from New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, more than a thousand firefighters volunteered to travel to Louisiana to help out. The firefighters thought they were "going to be deployed as emergency workers," but FEMA decided to use them as "community-relations officers." Many of them spent their time passing out fliers with the FEMA phone number. (Shelly Miller, a Mississippi resident whose trailer was severely damaged in the storm, said, "We tried calling FEMA. You can’t get through on the phone lines.") For 50 of the firefighters, their first assignment was "to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas." Many firefighters expressed their disappointment with their role. FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak said any firefighter that criticized the agency should "revisit his commitment to FEMA, to firefighting and to the citizens of this country."

FEMA COVERS ITS TRACKS: FEMA's slow and incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina put thousands of people in danger. The agency doesn't want the public to see the human devastation. An agency spokeswoman said, "We have requested that no photographs of the deceased be made by the media." FEMA also rejected "journalists' requests to accompany rescue boats searching for storm victims."


At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We have requested that no photographs of the deceased be made by the media." FEMA also rejected "journalists' requests to accompany rescue boats searching for storm victims."

They know that the conscience of the sheeple has been awakened, and they don't want any photos of the dead bodies of women, children and babies showing up on the nightly news - It would make people think about what is happening in America. It's the same reason that they don't allow photos of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq.

Mike B.

At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the next death hurricane katrina toll ; the easy way to keep going.


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