Katrina: Feds Reject Chicago Aid Offers
Chicago officials are angry and confused after FEMA rejected technical and material aid offers for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Daley ‘shocked’ as feds reject aid (Chicago Sun-Times)
A visibly angry Mayor Daley said the city had offered emergency, medical and technical help to the federal government as early as Sunday to assist people in the areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina, but as of Friday, the only things the feds said they wanted was a single tank truck. That truck, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested to support an Illinois-based medical team, was en route Friday.
“We are ready to provide more help than they have requested. We are just waiting for their call,” said Daley, adding that he was “shocked” that no one seemed to want the help.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said he would call for congressional hearings into the federal government’s preparations and response. “The response was achingly slow, and that, I think, is a view shared by Democrats, Republicans, wealthy and poor, black and white,” the freshman senator said. “I have not met anybody who has watched this crisis evolve over the last several days who is not just furious at how poorly prepared we appeared to be.”
The South Side Democrat called FEMA’s slow response “baffling.” “I don’t understand how you could have a situation where you’ve got several days’ notice of an enormous hurricane building in the Gulf Coast, you know that New Orleans is 6 feet below sea level. … The notion that you don’t have good plans in place just does not make sense,” Obama said. Obama said he expects his counterparts in Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama will call for congressional hearings, but he is ready if they do not. “It’s heartbreaking and infuriating and, I think, is embarrassing to the American people.”
Daley said the city offered 36 members of the firefighters’ technical rescue teams, eight emergency medical technicians, search-and-rescue equipment, more than 100 police officers as well as police vehicles and two boats, 29 clinical and 117 non-clinical health workers, a mobile clinic and eight trained personnel, 140 Streets and Sanitation workers and 29 trucks, plus other supplies. City personnel are willing to operate self-sufficiently and would not depend on local authorities for food, water, shelter and other supplies, he said.
While there is probably a rationale for this that makes perfect sense to FEMA bureaucrats, it’ll be hard to come up with one that will satisfy normal Americans. Quite bizarre.