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September 08, 2005

History of federal disaster response in the US

A history of federal response on msnbc.com.

This is a little too glossy for me to feel as if I know I'm getting correct, validated information from it, but if it is correct, it seems to demonstrate that well-funded, well-organized disaster relief from the federal level can be a tremendous, tremendous boon. Bush wanted the feds out of the disaster relief business, and wanted it to be handled on the state and local level-- but either the states didn't get that memo, or it simply doesn't work well that way.

Over and over I have read accounts of resources that did not get to the people that needed them because of red tape, beaurocracy, and no one being in charge. 300 ambulances from Florida that never could get permission to go to NOLA. Resources from Chicago, offered but never accepted. Jets from West Virginia, that flew to LA and returned empty because no one would fill them. A Navy hospital ship that happened to be in the Gulf Coast area, sitting empty days after the levee broke. Buses sitting by the side of the road, within eyeshot of refugees, empty and unmoving. I don't have the links for all of this, you'll have to take my word that I have read all of this over the last few days.

I am a big believer in social services, because I believe they make the world a place that we would all actually like to live in. I want to live in a world where people's basic needs are met, and where education is available to all who want it. Government can help and serve the people who fund it. FEMA is a government agency that has served us well in the past, and can again if we elect a President who is actually capable of feeling compassion for the American people.

Posted by lisa at September 08, 2005 12:37 PM


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