Monday, September 26, 2005

Beaumont Enterprise: Four days later, still waiting for FEMA

However, after four days request for supplies have gone unmet.

Some supplies that were reportedly headed towards Kountze were rerouted to other areas.

Joe Blackmon, Hardin County Emergency Management Coordinator, worried about people's anxieties and frustrations of being without food and water for so long.

"People have promised things and haven't done nothin," Blackmon said.

About 3:30 AM Monday, the state of Texas Disaster District committee delivered 48,000 gallons of water to the city.

Caraway and emergency management officials were trying to figure out how they could get the supplies to designated drop spots throughout the county to make sure all citizens' needs are met. Hardin County is being bumped to the bottom of the supplies list.

Nothing has changed. FEMA is still criminally incompetant. One person I know, who worked in Indonesia after the tsunami, says that the reaction to Katrina was abysmal, mych worse than Indonesia, totally disorganized. E.g. doctors from the Mayo Clinic sitting idle, because they didn't have some FEMA paperwork. Now Texas is finding out that nothing has changed in FEMA. They're still ;more of a hindrance than a help in recovery efforts.

Below is and elaboration on the Enterprise story from Editor & Publisher:

In Beaumont, Texas, claims that federal relief agencies learned their lessons from Hurricane Katrina and are on the ball in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita are apparently ringing hollow. The Beaumont (Tex.) Enterprise reported tonight that disaster response coordinators in the area hard hit by Rita say they are seeing the same foot-dragging federal response this weekend witnessed two weeks ago in New Orleans and Mississippi.

Jefferson County Judge Carl Griffith and other local leaders, "haggard after days of almost non-stop work with little sleep, pleaded with the federal government to get itself in a higher gear," the paper said. Griffith said he wanted to return services to residents who remain but that "it seems like they can't figure out how to get it done."

"There's a drastic shortage of generators in Beaumont to provide emergency power," Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said. "There are generators at Ford Park, and FEMA is withholding their release. They want to finish their damage assessment."

Jefferson County officials had a plan to distribute Meals-Ready-to-Eat from local fire stations, the paper said. However, Griffith said the MREs, like the generators, were being withheld by FEMA.

"They won't let us have them," Griffith said. "They said we had to go through the state - which we already did - to get them. I'm going over there (to Ford Park) now to figure this out."

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