On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

A Small Step Forward

CNN is reporting a good result from its story about FEMA giving away needed supplies: FEMA gives hurricane supplies back to Louisiana

(CNN) — Some of the $85 million in hurricane relief supplies given away as federal surplus will be sent back to Louisiana and given to nonprofit agencies for distribution, the state’s hurricane recovery office said Tuesday.

“Today we can report that we have been notified that some of the surplus property has been located in Texas and will be coming to the state of Louisiana for distribution by Unity New Orleans,” said Paul Rainwater, the executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

A CNN investigation revealed last week that FEMA gave away the supplies as government surplus, even though agencies like Unity — which works to resettle hurricane victims — were still seeking the kind of supplies given away.

After the disclosure, Rainwater’s organization asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to return some of the extensive stockpiles of household goods that had been purchased as “starter kits” for people living in trailers after Hurricane Katrina.

After CNN reported on the giveaway, other Louisiana officials also asked that the supplies be redirected to the state, which originally passed on them. John Medica, director of Louisiana’s Federal Property Assistance Agency, told CNN he was unaware Katrina victims still needed the items because no agency had contacted his office.

None of these people are doing a follow-up on disasters. FEMA is still working through its Katrina case load; the New Orleans media is still reporting on the problems; much of the area isn’t even completely cleaned up, much less rebuilt; but officials didn’t know there was a need for this stuff. Maybe if they had made some of this stuff available immediately following Katrina, they wouldn’t have been storing it. Maybe if they told people they had it, people would know to ask for it.

What we have here is a failure to communicate…

In the aftermath of 9/11 were were told the problem was people weren’t sharing information. The “solution” was to create two new bureaucracies: the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Homeland Security. These were going to make everything better because there were now two new “rings to rule them all” issued and everyone would exchange information or face “dire consequences”.

The results are rather obvious – more failure.