September 06, 2005

Why did it take FEMA six days to get to Hattiesburg, Mississippi?

That's what the editors of the Hattiesburg American want to know. And they're also curious as to why the first question FEMA representatives had after they'd gathered local officials together was 'Do you need help?'

Oh, we almost forgot: FEMA representatives did say the agency plans to post fliers informing storm victims to call 1-800-621-FEMA or to go online at to obtain disaster relief information.

A telephone number?

A Web address?

Who are these people kidding?

What good is this information in an area where a large percentage of the population continues to operate without telephone service and Internet access?

Sky writing a message behind a crop duster would be more effective.

FEMA needs to get its act together - quickly.

By the way, we checked to see where Hattiesburg is, and it's not one of those tiny out-of-the-way places. It's a city of 50,000 [the fourth largest city in Mississippi] on Interstate 59, at its junction with three different US highways. And the city isn't in the zone of total devastation on the coast.

So we'd say that the newspaper's questions to FEMA are damn good ones.
Via FEMA Failures.

Posted by Magpie at September 6, 2005 06:41 PM | US Politics | Technorati links |

I posted my personal experiences after hurricanes Opal and Ivan over at my place. Even though they eventually established a local recovery center after Ivan, you had to "register" via the 1-800 number or the website before they would help you at the center, and they wouldn't let you use their phone to do it.

You couldn't get the FEMA emergency supplies without a car. If you didn't have a car you had to find the Salvation Army or Red Cross.

Posted by: Bryan at September 6, 2005 08:54 PM