« "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People" - Kanye West | Main | Random Thoughts About The National Disaster »

Has The Federal Response To Hurricane Katrina Been Inadequate?

There are some realities that most of the critics of the relief effort seem to be overlooking. The New Orlean's mayor and police chief are responsible for preparing their local emergency plans and for carrying them out. If help is needed, it is their responsibility to ask the governor for that help. The governor of Louisiana is then responsible for activating the national guard and state police. If even more help is needed, the governor asks the federal government to come into the state with assistance. This doesn't happen in a vacuum and it isn't like ordering a Domino's pizza. Marshaling millions of meals, millions of gallons of water, thousands of trucks, hundreds of helicopters, thousands of troops, and all of the support staff and supplies to service the trucks, helicopters, and troops takes a day or two, not to mention the travel time to put everything in place. In good weather, with power and water, with telephone service, and with open roads, this takes time. In the middle of a flood with none of the above-mentioned infrastructure, it inevitably takes even longer.

It appears that the local authorities had nowhere near the foresight or preparation necessary for an event of this magnitude. (See the example of putting together an emergency shelter in Houston. The Astrodome was outfitted as a refugee site for the people of New Orleans. With time under ideal conditions, they couldn’t accommodate anywhere near the number of people needing a bed. When it became apparent that they could not accomodate all of the refugees, they began putting together sites in other cities in Texas; and other states have begun to offer accomodations for the refugees as well. They put together these sites under ideal conditions, where they had open roads, telephone service, water, and power. The sites still took a few days to come together.) Exacerbating the problem was the fact that the Louisiana’s governor was slow in activating the Louisiana national guard, and no one, not the police chief, the mayor, or the governor, was willing to do what was necessary to control the lawlessness which ultimately became a major impediment to the relief effort.

Marshaling the relief effort to a tragedy of this magnitude which covered three states and hundreds of miles of coastline in 4 days is truly a marvelous feat. Any blame of the President and FEMA for an untimely response to the emergency by the federal government is misplaced.

Posted by Rick | September 3, 2005 04:28 AM

eXTReMe Tracker