Wednesday, September 17, 2008

FEMA and Ike

FEMA and Ike Sorry that I haven't been posting very often this week. Keeping up with family in Houston, the USA economy and election seem to be sapping all my attention. But I wanted you to know that FEMA may be trying harder but they still have a lot of problems.Remember three years ago when Katrina left New Orleans overwhelmed.....well how could you forget it because it has been the feature story ever since then. New Orleans government, the State of Louisiana and FEMA all point fingers at each other as to why people were left without help.

Remember how Houston said send the refugees here and we'll take care of them? Well Houston did. The city government and lots of volunteers jumped in and made things happen. In the space of about two days they had the Astrodome set up with kitchens, cots, computers, counselors, and all kinds of things to try to help these people get back on their feet.

Of course Houston has paid a high price for this. The Federal government didn't reimburse Houston for many of the things that they said they would, some apartment owners ended up with ravaged apartments that the government did not reimburse them for and Houston ended up with some undesireable people who didn't go back to New Orleans.

The evacuation for Ike seemed to go smoothly. Houston, the Gulf coast and Texas learned a lot from Rita. Now it is time for the Federal government to send in help. But it isn't happening like it should. We kept hearing how FEMA had supplies in strategic locations and they would roll into Houston as soon as the storm passed. Water, ice and food are basic needs. Houston set up distribution points for handing out these supplies. Now people are standing in line for hours to get these supplies and either the FEMA trucks run out or they show up late. It isn't like you can go from one distribution point to another because you can't get gasoline either. So once you get somewhere, you have to stay in hopes that you will eventually get what you need.

For example, my dear sister-in-law has her son's family with them. They are cooking on the grill and using up what has been in the refrigerator but boiling water is a little harder because they have an electric stove and there is no electricity. There are two babies. They need to be able to keep milk and formula and food for the babies cold. They can't go up to the grocery store and buy it because the grocery store doesn't have electricity either. So they are only selling staples that do not have to be refrigerated. You can't buy and store ice.

At any rate, Houston Mayor, Bill White got fed up with the Feds yesterday and he and the County started calling in outside help and announced on line that they expected FEMA to pay. Today Michael Chertoff came to Houston to do damage control.

Blogger isn't letting me save this as I go along. I have several other examples I'd like to tell you about and some links to articles in the Houston Chronicle but I've already lost this long post several times so I'm just going to see if it will post.

The point is, FEMA isn't FIXED!


Nancy said...

Somehow I am not surprised. Just sad and disappointed for all the people that need assistance.

Calypso said...

Amiga - I know your boys, grandchildren and more family and friends are there in the Houston area. I can imagine your worries over all this.

I guess it can be said at least they all are OK up to now and past the storm itself - this I am sure is little consolation at his point.

I hope it all gets better quickly.


Heather said...

Thanks for the update on the Ike relief efforts. I'm sorry to hear things are not going well. It's good for us to hear what is really going on. I haven't seen much of issues with this in the media. I think they are too busy with the economy and Sarah Palin.

Babs said...

I LOVE Bill White! He is the BEST mayor Houston has ever had! He calls it like he sees it. I noticed that yesterday Chertoff didn't show up in a "suit". White was in jeans and had him at a POD!