Evidently FEMA did not learn from Hurricane Katrina. They faced criticism from victims of Katrina when FEMA was not quick to respond and provide relief. Now we see them failing the victims of Hurricane Sandy. There are people in New York and New Jersey that are still without food, water, gasoline, and shelter. FEMA had plenty of time and notice to be prepared to step in and immediately provide relief. It’s their job. It’s why the organization was formed. But once again, a government agency is proving to be a let-down.
Three days after the storm stacks of bottled water and pre-packaged meals were still sitting in FEMA’s warehouse in Atlanta, Georgia. When the supplies finally arrived Tuesday at the advance staging location in Lakehurst, New Jersey, they were not immediately made available for local distribution. By Thursday many residents on the New Jersey shore received bottled water, but not from FEMA. Nestle’s America provided half a million units of bottled water by their own initiative.
Since FEMA knew that the storm was going to hit and they knew the projected magnitude, why didn’t they have the supplies waiting at their advance staging locations? Not only is that common sense, but it is also FEMA’s policy. If they had followed their policy they could have had these supplies distributed to the hardest hit areas within 24 hours of the hurricane hitting.
Many residents of New York and New Jersey are understandably upset and view themselves as being neglected by the government that they were trusting to take care of them. Indeed, many victims of the storm are saying that President Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy is worse than President Bush’s to Hurricane Katrina.
Former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, weighed in with his take of the situation, “It’s quite obvious they didn’t pre-plan for water, they didn’t pre-plan for the generators, they didn’t pre-plan for the gasoline…The president getting all this credit so early, maybe the first day or two he was paying attention, but the minute he got his credit, the minute he got his pat on his back, we had the same situation as we had in Banghazi. He loses focus. He goes back to being campaigner-in-chief rather than commander-in-chief.”
When Mayor Bloomberg finally called off the New York City Marathon, the generators and other assets were to be used in the disaster relief. Instead, many of the generators sat in a parking lot less than two miles away from some of the hardest hit areas.
Not only has FEMA failed to respond immediately to the needs of the storm victims, but Mayor Bloomberg has refused to send in the National Guard to Brooklyn.
Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn Borough President, had requested the help of the National Guard because he believes that “the sight of an armed soldier would deter criminal activity in the still-inaccessible evacuation zones – such as the rash of break-ins that took place in Coney Island”.
Bloomberg refused the request because national guardsmen would have guns. “We don’t need it,” said anti-Second Amendment Bloomberg. “The NYPD is the only people we want on the street with guns.”
Markowitz claimed that the NYPD and FDNY are “brave – but overwhelmed”.
Besides doing their regular job they are also dealing with flooding, power outages, and looting.
“All of our resources have been stretched to the limit,” said Markowitz. “In the name of public safety we need to send more National Guard personnel into Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, Gerritsen Beach, Red Hook, and any other locations.”
Contrast the government’s response to the response of caring citizens. In Milford, Connecticut, it was reported that the Mormon Helping Hands volunteers were helping residents gather up the debris. One resident said, “If anyone wonders how people will survive without big government, they need look no further than our beach in Milford. The residents put their heads down and worked, and the Mormon Helping Hands volunteers chipped in big time.”
Pastor Ken Graves of Orrington, Maine’s Calvary Chapel has organized church members to also go down to the New York-New Jersey areas to help people. They showed the same caring and teamwork after Katrina in 2005. There are other Maine organizations and privately-owned businesses that are sending volunteers down to the areas that need help.
What this nation needs is more Good Samaritans, neighbors helping neighbors, not big government.