Missing Persons: In the course of the largest evacuation in U.S. history, federal agencies this week have relocated some 235,000 people into 750 emergency shelters outside the sticken Gulf Coast region. But nobody knows how many refugees have actually left the region, according to a report from GovExec.com.
“We were trying to keep tabs on those numbers in the first couple of days but it’s become increasingly challenging to put precise numbers on the evacuations,” said DHS spokesman Russ Knocke.
He said federal operations still are primarily focused on saving lives and facilitating evacuations, primarily in and around New Orleans, which was the hardest-hit area.
Meanwhile, the Transportation Department is coordinating a flood of relief supplies arriving in the region by truck, plane and ships. At the same time, the department is managing the largest airlift ever conducted in the U.S. to move hurricane victims away from the affected areas.
And, lest you continue to think that Michael Chertoff is a bumbling fool, this quote will dispel any lingering doubt you may harbor about his keen grasp of the overall situation:
“I will tell you the challenges we have ahead of us are that we are going to have a lot of evacuees,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “Once we get them into temporary shelter, we have to deal with the issue of more long-term shelter, jobs, education, health care, what do we do to bring up the infrastructure again, how do we drain the city, how do we clean up any environmental hazards. There are huge tasks ahead of us.”