Thread: FEMA negligence

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    Default FEMA negligence

    If you're interested in what really went down in New Orleans, you might want to watch Greg Palast's 1/2 hour investigative story:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...q=The+Big+Easy

    He's a provocative but dogged investigative journalist who's uncovered a few pertinent but little known facts:

    FEMA had outsourced the evacuation planning for New Orleans, to the tune of a half million dollars, to a small outfit, Innovative Emergency Management, with no apparent disaster planning experience but which had made large contributions to the Republican Party. There is no evidence that they ever produced a functional evacuation plan, and FEMA refused to adopt the very thorough pre-planning performed by the Center for the Study of Hurricanes at LSU. In fact, the professor who heads the LSU Hurricane Center was warned by someone in state government (who later went to work for IEM) not to pubicly criticize the IEM plan or his job might be in jeopardy.

    Even more damning is that, according to Dr. Ivor Van Heerdon, the deputy director of the LSU Hurricane Center who was at the state emergency operations center, FEMA knew that the levees had breeched, had flown over and taken video footage, had informed the White House - but the state emergency operations center found out about it the next day on CNN. No one at the state level was informed and they had stopped the evacuation because Katrina had passed by the city.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riversong View Post
    FEMA had outsourced the evacuation planning for New Orleans,
    Why would FEMA involve itself in evacuation planning for New Orleans in the first place? That's New Orlean's primary responsibility and only secondarily Louisiana's. What has FEMA got to do with it? Sounds like someone thumping a political agenda more than any actual "investigative reporting" to me...

    Instead of trying to find someone to blame for the mistakes of the Katrina fiasco, when are people going to focus their attention to taking steps to make sure it doesn't happen again next time?
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    This was NOT Femas responsibility. Anyone ever heard of the chain of command?? It applies here also. FEMA was not responsible for the evacuation untill it was turned over to them. They were not asked to help untill AFTER the hurricane went through. Just another example of people not taking responsibility for their own actions. They were told to leave and chose to stay. Where there is a will, there is a way. I dont feel sorry for them

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Why would FEMA involve itself in evacuation planning for New Orleans in the first place?
    Because it was identified by FEMA planners as one of the three major disasters likely to require federal intervention.

    Instead of trying to find someone to blame for the mistakes of the Katrina fiasco, when are people going to focus their attention to taking steps to make sure it doesn't happen again next time?
    Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. If we don't identify where responsibility failed, there is no way to fix it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frmboybuck View Post
    This was NOT Femas responsibility. They were not asked to help untill AFTER the hurricane went through.
    So what you're saying is that FEMA's failure to inform the New Orleans emergency operations center that the levees had been breeched was OK because they hadn't yet been invited to participate?

    They were told to leave and chose to stay. Where there is a will, there is a way. I dont feel sorry for them
    Some chose to stay, as happens in every hurricane. But most of those who remained in New Orleans did so because they did not own cars and no one sent busses to evacuate them, or because they were too old and frail, many of them in nursing homes and hospitals, and even those in jail were not evacuated.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riversong View Post
    So what you're saying is that FEMA's failure to inform the New Orleans emergency operations center that the levees had been breeched was OK because they hadn't yet been invited to participate?
    Yea....Pretty much. NO emergency had its procedures intact and they knew the levees had been breached and chose to do nothing about it. IF FEMA had taken action they would be crying that FEMA "came in ad took over"

    Quote Originally Posted by Riversong View Post
    Some chose to stay, as happens in every hurricane. But most of those who remained in New Orleans did so because they did not own cars and no one sent busses to evacuate them, or because they were too old and frail, many of them in nursing homes and hospitals, and even those in jail were not evacuated.
    So why is this FEMAs problem and not the local authorities?? Once again another case of pointing the finger and not taking responsibility for their screw up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frmboybuck View Post
    IF FEMA had taken action they would be crying that FEMA "came in ad took over"
    FEMA and, more importantly, the military DID come in and take over, but not until they had wrested control from the State and City, not until late, and they did more to obstruct assistance than to coordinate it.

    So why is this FEMAs problem and not the local authorities??
    I didn't say it was. But you blamed the victims for getting stuck in New Orleans.

    The responsibility for evacuation rested first with the City and second with the State. And 85% of the population of New Orleans was successfully evacuated. That was a phenomenal feat. Then there was a major breakdown of command, control, and communications - and FEMA holds a large part of the blame for that.

    Part of the problem was that, since its assumption within DHS, the focus of FEMA had shifted to terrorism and away from natural disasters, and much of its funding had been stripped by Bush's budgets.

    FEMA used to be a cabinet-level department, reporting directly to the President. Bush demoted it considerably in his single-minded focus on terrorism (which was nothing more than the latest excuse to engage in aggressive military action, much as the threat of "communism" used to be).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riversong View Post
    Because it was identified by FEMA planners as one of the three major disasters likely to require federal intervention.
    That's all well and good as a theoretical exercise but it doesn't change the fact that planning an evacuation strategy for New Orleans was never FEMA's responsibility in the first place. Whatever screw ups FEMA may have made with regards to Katrina the flawed NO evacuation plan is not one of them...
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

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    Now I understand what im dealing with here.....A looney liberal that cant be satisfied with anything. Let me ask you a question. What are your thoughts on the Saadam hanging?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    planning an evacuation strategy for New Orleans was never FEMA's responsibility
    Disaster Evacuation and Displacement Policy:
    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RS22235.pdf

    "Federal law contains provisions related to the evacuation of civilians and planning requirements within the United States, under specified circumstances. General authority is also given to federal agencies for emergency preparedness activities that include evacuation planning."

    "The role of FEMA includes evacuating disaster victims." 6 U.S.C. 317

    "Secretary of Transportation must establish incident response plans for facilities and vessels that include evacuation procedures." 46 U.S.C. 70104(b)

    "Emergency evacuation studies are a required DOT activity under the deployment of the transportation model known as the Transportation Analysis Simulation System." H.R. 3 (109th Congress) Sec. 5512(b) (4)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frmboybuck View Post
    Now I understand what im dealing with here.....A looney liberal that cant be satisfied with anything. Let me ask you a question. What are your thoughts on the Saadam hanging?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riversong View Post
    WebTeam : User Conduct Reminder

    We will remind users that personal attacks, calling other users out, etc. for the opinions, right or wrong, is completely unacceptable at Firehouse.com

    Consider this your final notice.
    If you can't take a political debate ...

    Anyways, ... this was pulled from the first two paragraphs of your gov't report. How do you answer this? I read it as the state had authority, and the federal gov't only does when their are special circumstances.

    "Using the authority set out in state laws and local ordinances, state and local officials may suggest or require the evacuation of residents from homes and communities before certain catastrophes occur.1 Threats of pending natural disasters such as hurricanes or floods, warnings of the movement of airborne hazardous material due to transportation accidents, or the recognition of unstable conditions at nuclear power plants may provide officials a short window of opportunity to save thousands of lives.
    To a limited extent, federal statutes authorize agency heads to use federal resources to assist in the evacuation of civilians."

    "In general, federal policy defers to the states to enact laws pertinent to evacuation, and local officials generally work with state officials to enforce those laws"

    "Federal law contains provisions related to the evacuation of civilians and planning requirements within the United States, under specified circumstances."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riversong View Post
    Disaster Evacuation and Displacement Policy:
    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RS22235.pdf
    You're quoting this as if it's an authoritative document. It isn't. It's a privately written essay that makes little effort to hide a political agenda.

    FEMA's role in evacuation planning is limited to specific federal facitities and whatever role the states offer it by invitation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Riversong View Post
    The role of FEMA includes evacuating disaster victims." 6 U.S.C. 317
    That's after a disaster occurs and after the disaster has been federalized.

    In short, the lion's share of evacuation problems around Katrina and the associated levee failures were the result of failures of local planning -- not FEMA. We can't expect FEMA to come in and do everything for us. Disaster preparedness is first and foremost a local issue.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdsqdcr View Post
    If you can't take a political debate ...
    I can debate anyone, anytime on political issues, but I won't stoop to personal attacks, and they have no place in a professional forum like this.

    Anyways, ... this was pulled from the first two paragraphs of your gov't report. How do you answer this? I read it as the state had authority, and the federal gov't only does when their are special circumstances.
    Those "special circumstances" are when local and state resources are overwhelmed, as is expected in any large-scale natural disaster.

    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    You're quoting this as if it's an authoritative document. It isn't. It's a privately written essay that makes little effort to hide a political agenda.
    It was a report to Congress by the Congressional Research Service.

    From their website: "The Congressional Research Service is the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a confidential, nonpartisan basis."

    FEMA's role in evacuation planning is limited to specific federal facitities and whatever role the states offer it by invitation. That's after a disaster occurs and after the disaster has been federalized.
    While it does require an acknowledgement from local and state authorities that they are overwhelmed, the National Response Plan is executed from the top down:

    August 30, 2005 Secretary Michael Chertoff invoked the National Response Plan the day after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on the morning of August 29, 2005. By so doing, the Secretary assumed the leadership role triggered by the law to bear primary responsibility to manage said crisis. The invocation occurred due to the inability of local and state government to handle the situation.

    In short, the lion's share of evacuation problems around Katrina and the associated levee failures were the result of failures of local planning -- not FEMA. We can't expect FEMA to come in and do everything for us. Disaster preparedness is first and foremost a local issue.
    Yes it is. But with the understanding that there is a limit to what a municipality or state can provide, and it is at that point that federal planning, preparation, pre-staging, response, and mitigation become primary.

    In addition, FEMA has responsibility for reviewing state and local disaster plans to make sure they are sufficient, and for assisting with coordination - both before and during a disaster - of all levels of governmental response.
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    I just call them as I see them man and obviously proved my point with your response.....FEMA was not responsible for what happened. The local government is. They just want to point the finger at someone else and not learn from anything. I am curious as to what their CURRENT(as in TODAY) protocals are for another Katrina type disaster.You didnt answer my question either. Whats your position on the Sadaam hanging?

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    You havent answered my question either. Please answer as I am curious how you address what I raised ...

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    Please excuse me gdsqdcr if I missed it and maybe it wasnt even directed at me. What was your question again.... Sorry its been a LONG weekend

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frmboybuck View Post
    Please excuse me gdsqdcr if I missed it and maybe it wasnt even directed at me. What was your question again.... Sorry its been a LONG weekend
    Frmboybuck, the question was not directed at you. It was directed at the intiator of the this thread. I am just enjoying his 'words'.

    Anthony

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdsqdcr View Post
    It was directed at the intiator of the this thread. I am just enjoying his 'words'.
    You're apparently not enjoying them enough to actually read them, because I answered your question several times over.
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    How about my question???

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frmboybuck View Post
    How about my question???
    You didn't ask a question. You threw out a hook, and I'm not biting.
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    Im sorry , but the lie ,that most that stayed didnt have vehicles , doesnt fly. I spent 6 months down there and I find it hard to believe that ALL of the tens of thousands of vehicles scattred about were just yard ornaments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    Im sorry , but the lie ,that most that stayed didnt have vehicles , doesnt fly. I spent 6 months down there and I find it hard to believe that ALL of the tens of thousands of vehicles scattred about were just yard ornaments.
    You inability to hear the truth doesn't make it a lie.

    Perhaps, during your six months, you might have asked a few questions.

    Approximately one million people evacuated New Orleans and its suburbs, but 20-25,000 remained. Some wanted to protect their property. Some, who had gone through the tribulations of the previous year's evacuation thought they would be better off staying put, some didn't have transportation (many gas stations were empty the day BEFORE the mandatory evacuation order), and some didn't have the money to take an enforced vacation. 750 of those who stayed behind were nuns who refused to abandon people in need.

    The fact that Mayor Ray Nagin had to use city busses to get people to the Superdome is an indication that they didn't have their own transportation.

    - Robert
    Last edited by Riversong; 01-02-2007 at 11:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riversong View Post
    You're apparently not enjoying them enough to actually read them, because I answered your question several times over.
    Robert

    I have read every word you have typed. You say the same thing over and over and cite this one document as it is law/fact.

    Your inability to accept what others say does not make you right. Just as this one document does not make you right.

    I was not there, but I have spoken with several people that did assist in the rescue/clean up. You are right, some did not evacuate due to funding though buses were provided as you said. Others did no evacuate, like the nuns, because they did not want to abandon those in need. Still others did no evacuate because they:
    1. Did not think it would be as bad as it turned out to be.
    2. They expected people to leave, then they could loot.
    3. They wanted to defend their personal property from the looters.
    4. ???

    And, on a side note, I am enjoying your words, very much so. They make me laugh.

    Anthony

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdsqdcr View Post
    I am enjoying your words, very much so. They make me laugh.
    I'm glad I've given you enjoyment, but if you stopped laughing and started thinking you might find the answer to a question which you never clearly articulated.

    Your inability to accept what others say does not make you right.
    You must be refering to my refusal to accept hearsay, opinion, and diversions, since I'm the only one who's posted any documentary sources to this thread. Post some citations or documented sources and I'd be glad to consider them.

    I have read every word you have typed. You say the same thing over and over and cite this one document as it is law/fact.
    One document? I began the thread with a link to a documentary which quoted experts such as the deputy director of the LSU Hurricane Center who stated the most damning evidence of FEMA negligence: that they knew of the levee breech Sunday night and didn't inform the State Emergency Operations Center.

    And that "one document" which I also cited referenced the enabling legislation for FEMA as well as US legal code. That's not an "as if it was law", that's the law.

    Apparently your question was this:
    How do you answer this? I read it as the state had authority, and the federal gov't only does when their are special circumstances.
    How do I answer this? That you read it with blinders on. That you stopped there and failed to consider that those "special circumstances" had been met by the Katrina disaster and yet FEMA still failed in their mandate.

    They failed in their mandate to adequately pre-plan for an expected disaster, they failed in their mandate to adequately pre-stage resources, they failed in their mandate to coordinate (rather than militarize) the response, they failed in their mandate to expedite emergency communications, they failed in their mandate to properly support displaced persons, and they are still failing in their mandate to assist those affected with rebuilding and restoring essential services.

    I'm not placing all the responsibility on FEMA. State and local officials certainly could have done more and better, but the whole purpose of FEMA is to pick up where states and localities become overwhelmed. And Congress could have funded FEMA better than they did. And the Bush administration shouldn't have emasculated FEMA by turning it from a cabinet-level department into a sub-department of the DHS, which had an almost single-minded focus on terrorism response.

    But, in spite of all those limitations, FEMA still failed to adequately perform its duty. Perhaps putting a crony horse-show executive in charge had something to do with it?

    - Robert
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