I woke up this morning to a report on Morning Edition about how FEMA officials were duly warned about the potential for disaster that Katrina posed. And how in the face of this news, they neglected to act.
Leo Bosner, an emergency management specialist at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., is in charge of the unit that alerts officials of impending crises and manages the response. As early as Friday, Aug. 26, Bosner knew that Katrina could turn into a major emergency.
In daily e-mails — known as National Situation Updates — sent to Chertoff, Brown and others in the days before Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast, Bosner warned of its growing strength — and of the particular danger the hurricane posed to New Orleans, much of which lies below sea level.
But Bosner says FEMA failed to organize the massive mobilization of National Guard troops and evacuation buses needed for a quick and effective relief response when Katrina struck. He says he and his colleagues at FEMA’s D.C. headquarters were shocked by the lack of response.
You can read these National Situation Updates on the page for this article here.
I’ve been thinking a lot about our country’s response to Katrina. As a people, we’ve been outraged and horrified, as we’ve watched our fellow Americans warehoused in a sports area, watched them drown and watched them dehumanized. The whole time, our government has looked at the situation like a dog looks at it’s ass when it farts. You know, with that expression that says, “Where’d that come from? Who me? I didn’t do that!”
Hearing that story on Morning Edition reintensified my feeling of frustration with our government and the way this country functions. Have our leaders become so insulated by their fatty layers of false power that they really thought they could let a city of people drown without consequence?
I’m hoping that out of all this destruction, a little change will be wrought. A girl can only dream.