Hard To Sort Through

The response to the catastrophe in the Gulf began prior to landfall and as I have pointed out was on schedule. The problems were made worse by a lack of response at the local level. Compounding the problem was the number of people who self-responded. These are folks, whether trained or not, who show up to offer help. Many times they end up becoming part of the problem because they need to be housed, fed, and protected. The response of the federal government was criticized and parallels were drawn to the news media who made it there quickly. The critics seem to forget that the news departments have people who, as part of their jobs, are sent all over. Many were there prior to the hurricane. The feds could have done so but Louisiana Governor Blanco refused the help. It is equally important to note that the doctors, nurses, paramedics and other people who respond are not sitting around a newsroom waiting to go to the next disaster. They have jobs and other responsibilities.

There has been criticism that FEMA would not let self-responders start working. I can understand that people looking for help are upset but they need to understand that this is for their own good. FEMA does not know who the people are and what their intentions are. They might be bad people looking to take advantage of the situation. Perhaps they claim to be health care providers but are not. There are many reasons that self-responders are not sent right in to work and these are just a few. People like Sean Penn get in the way. Penn’s boat had a leak and sunk. Suppose he and his entourage needed to be rescued. They would be adding to the problem.

There is an interesting article that discusses the response and the frustrations of the affected people. I believe that there is a lot of things that can go better but I will not fault FEMA for ensuring that people are not taken advantage of.

The story is here.

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