Thursday, September 08, 2005

FEMA Response

I've been hearing a lot about the woefully inadequate response by FEMA or other federal agencies to the New Orleans situation. This all seems about right, but I'm left wondering: What about Mississippi and Alabama? They didn't have the flooding that New Orleans experienced, but they did have many towns -- with lots of poor people -- that were just obliterated. Why aren't there any complaints about FEMA there? I can think of several possibilities:

1. There are in fact complaints about FEMA's response to Mississippi and Alabama, but I haven't heard about it because no one is paying any attention.

2. FEMA performed wonderfully in those states, for some unknown reason.

3. FEMA's response was inadequate, but either (a) the MS/AL officials were not as completely incompetent to handle the situation, or (b) the MS/AL residents were more self-reliant and responsible.

4. The flooding in New Orleans affected more people in one concentrated location than the destruction in MS or AL, thereby magnifying the difficulties aggravated by the lack of an adequate federal response.


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8:49 AM  
Blogger David Sucher said...

My take is simple: every place but New Orleans is above sea-level --- the water drained away. Yes those plaes were enormously damaged but once the storm passed (was that late Monday night?) people were at least not in literal/continual danger of drowning etc etc

9:37 AM  
Blogger Stuart Buck said...

Well, yes, but what does that have to do with the lack of a federal response? Whether a city or town was flooded or simply wiped out by the wind, the residents would then be displaced and would need food/water/shelter.

11:42 AM  
Blogger David Sucher said...

"Inadaequacy" is relative to the situation and the immediacy of death. The FEMA response in both areas may have been exactly the same but it looks (and is) worse in NO because the town is flooded and the calamity even more immediate and dire. The weather has been good, so I gather, thoughout the region and so sleeping outside one's destroyed home in Biloxi would be possible while even such a simple thing as that would of course be impossible in NO. Does that get to your question?

12:10 PM  
Blogger who, me? said...

There are probably many iterations of the sort posted on Michelle Malkin about Pascagoula MS -- everything gone, police have no vehicle, etc.

But the New Orleans piece had the cinematic horror of toxic gumbo and photo-ops all in one place.

Its victims, evacuated and served, will probably fare much better than those in these little communities we all forgot.

6:43 PM  
Blogger John Thacker said...

In places that don't have the massive confluence of nasty factors (below sea level, high density, lots of carless people, few routes out, etc.) of New Orleans, a three day delay for FEMA can be easily handled. It's frankly standard in other places-- Charleston had to wait nine days for help after Hugo, but it was manageable.

In New Orleans, response had to be faster than it ever was before in any disaster in order to prevent deaths.

3:52 PM  

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