Thank you Pam and Margaret and Don. I just think certain things need to be pointed out. The media and those that are opposed to the current administration are quick to lay blame on the Federal government, FEMA, and President Bush. Why don't they just come right out and blame them for the hurricane itself????
I saw this happen so often when I worked in disaster assistance. Whenever a large scale disaster hit, like a hurricane or an earthquake, too many people expected the disaster response to work faster than humanly possible. People have to be realistic. People, machinery, supplies, and other assistance can move fast, but nobody is a miracle worker. Those trailers that they are showing on the news now, that FEMA has for temporary housing….the news makes it look like nothing is being done with them. You have to stop and think when you see reports like this. Those trailers can't drive themselves! They all have to be hauled. And they are being hauled. But how many trucks are available, and do you use them for hauling food and water, or trailers? And where do you put them when much of the area is still flooded and/or covered in debris? See, the media will distort things and make it look like the disaster response is slow and ineffective, when in actuality, things are moving much more rapidly than is being reported.
Now they are going to start complaining about “red tape.” I can tell you what that “red tape” is. It is nothing more than finding out who the disaster victims are (names, address, social security numbers), what they lost, their insurance (if any), their employment (if any), and their current needs because of the hurricane. Is that TOO much to ask? The “red tape” helps FEMA direct the disaster victims to the various agencies and private organizations that can help them. The US taxpayers will foot a large bill for this recovery, and as with all large taxpayer-funded expenditures, there has to be accountability that the funds are being used for the purposes intended. There will be some fraud, like where people line up for debit cards claiming to be hurricane victims, when they weren't. But this “red tape” will eventually catch them. And the information collected from disaster victims can be later audited to ensure proper use of funds. (This is not like a scary IRS audit! <img src='style_emoticons//ohmy.gif’ border=’0′ style=’vertical-align:middle’ alt=’ohmy.gif’ /> ) But most important, the paperwork is necessary to get assistance to the people that need it.
I think it's important, especially for our international friends, that the attacks and blame game going on right now not go unanswered. My friends who still work in disaster assistance cannot stand up and say one word in their own defense to the media. They work 7 days a week, 12-14 hours a day, and will until this relief effort is well under control. They are experienced, dedicated and compassionate people determined to help those who have lost so much, even if it keeps them from their own families for months on end. But you'll never see that in the news.