Here’s why the blame game needs to be played, and played quick: because there’s a tropical storm out there and it’s headed for me. Maybe as a hurricane.
I want to know what went wrong on the Gulf Coast, and I want to know now. FEMA is going to be needed this weekend, right here where I live.
Whether Ophelia is headed for me or not, the fact is we need to know what mistakes were made and we need to know who made them. We don’t have the luxury of convening inquiries in a few weeks or months, we need to have this information right now.
Already officials in my area are announcing where the evacuation shelters will be. I, like many others, am picturing the horror that occurred in shelters in New Orleans. The thought of evacuating fills me with dread. Even worse than riding out the storm for a day in a shelter is the idea that things wouldn’t start functioning again quickly, and that I would have to stay in a shelter for days or even weeks. I want FEMA working, and it’s not now.
The news here is full of stories like this. WJXT-4:
A medical mercy mission to a Mississippi city ravaged by hurricane Katrina almost didn’t happen.
Doctors and nurses with HealthSouth St. Augustine Surgery Center said Federal Emergency Management Agency officials refused to let their group carrying staff and a trailer of medical supplies into the restricted area.
“‘Go home, we don’t need you,'” Kathleen Floyan of HealthSouth said they were told. “If it wasn’t for our state of Florida Highway Patrolmen … (who) told us. ‘Follow us, we’ll put you in this location.’ They put us across from the Waveland, Miss., Police Department.”
The city, right on the water southwest of Biloxi, was almost leveled by Hurricane Katrina. Residents there said they felt forgotten, abandoned and neglected.
The story went on to describe how desperately people did need medical treatment. Some of the injured were brought to the emergency crew – the only medical personnel there since the storm – in shopping carts. Hopefully they weren’t arrested for looting them.
Wherever you live, if there was a tornado, raging forest fire, earthquake, or any other natural disaster, you’d want to know FEMA could handle it.
I want answers. I want to assign blame. As our president might put it: Blame game? Bring it on!