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Equal-Opportunity Incompetence: FEMA After Ike

Sarah's picture

Hurricanes are big storms. In 2005 a big storm hit the Gulf Coast, followed shortly thereafter by a second storm, nearly as big, that hit a bit further West. Katrina trashed the Gulf Coast, and Rita extended the damage. Three years plus thereafter, the mother of all Cat-2 'Canes hit Galveston Island -- and two months later Texans are still waiting on Bush's Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"It's unfortunate we can't drop houses overnight on people who need them," FEMA spokesman Simon Chabel said.

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bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

seldom works out well except in fiction.


Maybe it has something to do with aim.

FEMA is broken, and will not be repaired until it has autonomy from Homeland Security; add that to the Obama to-do list. Good thing he's a strong young fellow.

Corner Stone's picture
Submitted by Corner Stone on

Eight weeks after the storm and I just received an "advance" against my losses this last Wednesday. A check that has to be endorsed by my mortgage company, which means it has to be mailed to their Atlanta HQ. So, up to 14 more days before that check is ready to be deposited.
FEMA disqualified me because I have insurance and then pointed me to the SBA for a low interest loan. The SBA won't grant a loan until I settle with my insurance company so as not to duplicate monies.
The whole thing is like a Three Stooges skit where they all start pointing fingers at each other.
I've spent upwards of $15K out of my pocket in demo costs and other living costs. When it's over I'll be lucky to be down only about $20K or so.
I have absolutely no idea how people with no resources have survived this disaster. Between FEMA and TWIA (a TX state backed insurance pool coastal county residents were mandated into) it's been a real nightmare.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

It is a mess. Almost as though it were intentional....

We just had a state-wide earthquake drill out here in CA, first one in a decade. Spent $5 million of DHS preparedness funds and found out that when The Big One hits we are all completely fucked.

Pretty realistic scenarios, with makeup artists doing the wounds and screenwriters collaborating with emergency services to work out the scenarios, actors playing the roles of senior officials and wreaking havoc with attempts at response coordination, hospitals overflowing and damaged so the victims were laid out in fields and playgrounds for triage and marked as "dead" with white flags when the care was insufficient then stacked in rows like firewood. We do pretend extremely well.

Reality, not so much. Most of our infrastructure is still not earthquake resistant, and even if we do sink the billions required for upgrades a real Big One of 8 or more would just level it all anyway. Thousands dead, tens of thousands homeless, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, without water or power or sewage or food, while the working scenarios view FEMA as somewhere between useless and an impediment.

Time was we intended to rely on the CA National Guard to step in and provide emergency security and services, but their capacity has all been degraded and/or shipped off to Iraq. The net of it is, we'll simply be overwhelmed and left to fend for ourselves. And people elsewhere wonder why we're such hedonists.

Good luck with it all, CS.

Submitted by lambert on

... can you then put food on your family?

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi