So, what will it take before we just rise up and GET RID of these FEMA idiots? How much WORSE than Katrina will it have to be? Oh, that's right, they're invulnerable, because they're here to support government emergencies, not those of the populace... Anyway, check the comments on a retrospect of FEMA's handling of Hurricane Andrew.
I have always believed that Hurricane Andrew was one of the major reasons that President George Bush failed to be reelected. Nightly television news showed American citizens living among the rubble for days. The television anchors implied that the Federal Government did very little to ease their suffering. Partisan politics may have been involved, since the Democratic Governor of Florida apparently hesitated before asking for federal aid. Three days passed between Andrew's assault and the arrival of federal help. Kate Hale, the Dade County emergency director, went on live national television on 27 August with tears in her eyes and castigated the federal government. Some of her comments were:
"Enough is enough. Quit playing like a bunch of kids. Where in the Hell is the cavalry? For God's sakes, where are they? We are going to have more casualties, because we are going to have more people dehydrated. People without water. People without food. Babies without formula. If we do not get more food into the south end of Dade County in a very short period of time, we are going to have more casualties!
"We have a catastrophic disaster. We are essentially the walking wounded. We have appealed through the State to the Federal Government. We've had a lot of people down here for press conferences, but Dade County is on its own. Dade County is being caught in the middle of something and we are being victimized. Quit playing like a bunch of kids and get us aid! Sort out your political games afterward!
W"e are all about ready to drop, and the reinforcements are not getting in fast enough. We need better National Guard down here...President Bush was down here. I'd like him to follow up on the commitments he made."
At the time of the speech, three days after the storm, 250,000 Florida residents were struggling to survive without foot, water and shelter.
. . .
Miami Herald staff writers Martin Merzer and Tom Fiedler wrote:
The question echoed through the debris Thursday: If we can do it for Bangladesh, for the Philippines, for the Kurds of northern Iraq, why in God's name can't we deliver basic necessities of life to the ravaged population of our own Gold Coast?
President George Bush contended that Florida Governor Lawton Chiles hadn't formally asked for help. Chiles countered that the need for a formal request seemed silly with the world watching images of 250,000 flattened homes.
An example of the way the nation saw the relief effort can be found in Hurricane! - The Rage of Hurricane Andrew, Patricia Lantier-Sampon, Gareth Stevens Publishing, Milwaukee, WI, 1993. Some of the author's comments are:
August 25 - President Bush had flown in for a two-hour visit, but so far there was no federal relief. Electric power lines were down, food and clean water were in short supply, and people were sleeping outside with no place to wash up and no way to begin cleanup.
On Tuesday, September 1, President Bush made a second visit to Dade County, but it was two weeks after the storm before 22,000 National Guard members finally came to southern Florida.
So, it would seem that there is a precedent, here. Like father, like son. And Andrew was nowhere nearing the sheer impact that will forever haunt us with Hurricane Katrina.
As the saying goes, "deja vu all over again." Several sites alleged a government cover-up of Hurrican Andrew to downplay the actual number of dead, especially citing the homeless and entire camps of undocumented workers that simply vanished without a trace. Some local law enforcement estimated over 5000 died in Andrew, but they were told that those numbers were not "official" and told what to say. I wonder how much will happen on this round? My theory is that one of the convenient advantages of late body retrieval on Katrina is that many will simply decay enough to be overlooked, then the government can say "Oh, not that many died. Those numbers aren't official." Somehow, the government will pass the buck one more time, and leave us to ponder what will happen the NEXT time, because there WILL be a "next time."
Gad, I'm cynical. No, not cynical. Realistic.