by William Teach | September 1, 2017 6:39 am
It must be a painful admission for the Washington Post Editorial Board that FEMA is doing a good job, since they, and so many Democrats, were hoping it would fail, because they hate Trump. No matter that it would harm Americans, the hatred runs strong
THE GULF of Mexico coast is just coming to grips with the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the remnants of which continued to pelt inland areas Thursday. Tragedy on this scale cannot be fully managed, and the response is only beginning. William “Brock” Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, warned before the hurricane hit that rebuilding would take years. Early damage estimates foresee costs ranging around or above $100 billion. Yet, given the effort so far, Harvey may not become synonymous with government mismanagement, as Katrina did.
If you’re thinking “well, since they can’t take shots at Trump, they’ll take shots at Bush”, you’d be correct. And they do it in various ways, including subtle
The George W. Bush administration had to wait for assessments and consultations with local officials before dispatching federal resources. This time, the federal government was able to deploy officials on the ground well before Harvey hit, and coordination with state leaders was closer. Federal military officials and state National Guard forces are working together in ways not seen in 2005.
Nowhere is it mentioned that the problems started at the State and local levels, with both the New Orleans mayor and Louisiana governor, both Democrats, being both utterly clueless and working to thwart President Bush. This is not meant to slam all Governors. North Carolina governor James Hunt, Jr., did a pretty damned good job for multiple hurricanes, including Fran and Floyd, and did so with minimal input from FEMA and other federal agencies.
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And, let’s not forget, in the other regions affected by Katrina, especially Mississippi, which took the direct strike of Katrina, we did not hear the same complaints. Republicans in charge vs those who were incompetent/suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome.
New technology has been deployed. Drones have been surveying damage. Fast Company reports that electronic flood gauges have fed information to a website through which Houstonians could monitor the state of waterways near them. Snapchat’s mapping feature has helped determine which places needed emergency attention. Facebook has served as a platform to spread information on dangerous conditions — and allowed people to report to their loved ones that they were safe. FEMA has “social listeners” who monitor electronic media and send the information they gather to responders.
It’s amazing what the private sector can do, is it not?
President Trump hired a professional emergency manager in Mr. Long. He has projected calm competence throughout the crisis, a welcome contrast to the pathetic spectacle of Bush FEMA director Michael Brown seeming unaware of the misery in New Orleans’s Superdome. Like Mr. Brown, Mr. Long and local officials have a big problem with the well-over-30,000 people displaced from their homes, many of whom are sitting in Houston’s convention and sports centers. How and how quickly these people are moved into more respectable dwellings — their own homes if habitable or motel rooms if not — will be a key measure of how well these leaders are doing their jobs. So will how they handle dicey public-health threats, such as toxic chemical spills, acrid smoke and waterborne disease.
Remember the complaints about Bush not having a FEMA director? Huh. Of course, no one thought the Superdome would turn into the hellhole it did, especially within a day of the storm.
There are more tests ahead, of course. Much of FEMA’s outrageous waste and mismanagement came well after Katrina’s floodwaters subsided. …
You can just feel that the WPEB is hoping for something to slam FEMA on, so to slam Trump, can you not?
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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