More FEMA follies

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More FEMA follies

Postby Col Quisp » Fri Oct 21, 2005 9:43 pm

There is no excuse for this! Just more proof that the slaughter was deliberate.<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051021/NEWS06/510210554/1012">www.indystar.com/apps/pbc...10554/1012</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br>FEMA accused of ignoring dire Katrina warnings<br>        <br>By Julia Malone<br>Cox News Service<br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>WASHINGTON -- The only Federal Emergency Management Agency official sent to New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina told a Senate panel Thursday that top officials brushed off his desperate warnings about broken levees and deteriorating conditions for evacuees at the Superdome.<br><br>Marty Bahamonde, a veteran FEMA employee, gave the Senate Homeland Security Committee a first-person account of the early discovery of the breached levees and rapidly rising water as he fired off urgent e-mails asking for food, water and medical aid to little effect.<br>        <br>"I think there was a systematic failure at all levels of government," Bahamonde told the panel.<br><br>Many of his recollections contradicted key points in testimony given by Michael Brown, the fired FEMA director, to a House inquiry last month.<br><br>In perhaps the starkest example, Bahamonde recounted that he learned that the New Orleans levees had been breached just hours after the storm hit Aug. 29.<br>Recognizing that this situation was the nightmare scenario long feared by FEMA, he e-mailed FEMA headquarters that the water flow into the city was bad, took a 10-minute helicopter flight to see the levee break and gave a report that evening directly to Brown and other federal officials on a conference call.<br><br>Bahamonde said that afterward the message he got was: "Thanks, Marty. We already knew most of that information."<br>The higher ups at FEMA apparently did not pass along the information about the levees even to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who on Wednesday told the House Katrina inquiry panel that he was not informed of the levee breaches until the next day, Aug. 30.<br><br>snip<br><br>"I found it amazing," he said, that "there were truckloads of people constantly being sent to the Superdome," which had dwindling supplies of food, water and, at the time, no medical team.<br><br>snip<br><br>Bahamonde testified Thursday that he was the only FEMA official pre-positioned in the city and that he had been sent as an advance man to prepare for Brown's expected visit and helicopter tour after the storm.<br><br>And contrary to Brown's earlier statement, Bahamonde said no FEMA medical teams arrived at the Superdome until Aug. 30, a day after the storm hit, despite his urgent requests for a medical team starting on Aug. 28.<br><br>Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke said, "We give a great deal of weight and credibility to Marty's reflections and experience."<br><br>He added he could not provide a response from <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Brown, who has been given several more weeks of work at full pay before leaving FEMA.</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--><br><br>The Senate and House plan to ask Brown to explain the discrepancies in the versions of the events.<br><br>snip <br>His frustration clearly increased as he spent most of his time in the squalor of the Superdome, where he received an e-mail from the Department of Homeland Security headquarters advising that Brown, then in nearby Baton Rouge, La., would be appearing on MSNBC that evening.<br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>The e-mail instructed that "it is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner," adding that since the restaurants were busy he would need "much more than 20 or 30 minutes."<br></strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END-->Bahamonde fired back an e-mail to fellow FEMA workers dripping with sarcasm. "I just ate an MRE (meal ready to eat) . . . with 30,000 other close friends, so I understand her concern about busy restaurants," he wrote.<br><br><hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br>Copyright 2005 IndyStar.com. All rights reserved <p></p><i></i>
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Col Quisp
 
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