The Louisiana Department of Homeland Security To The Red Cross: You Can’t Give Food To The People Stuck In The Superdome

This is a blockbuster story: the Red Cross was ready to deliver supplies to the people in the Superdome on Monday/Tuesday of last week and were blocked from doing so by the local government.

Here’s Fox’s Major Garrett discussing the story with Hugh Hewitt:

Hugh Hewitt: You just broke a pretty big story. I was watching up on the corner television in my studio, and it’s headlined that the Red Cross was blocked from delivering supplies to the Superdome, Major Garrett. Tell us what you found out.

Major Garrett: Well, the Red Cross, Hugh, had pre-positioned a literal vanguard of trucks with water, food, blankets and hygiene items. They’re not really big into medical response items, but those are the three biggies that we saw people at the New Orleans Superdom, and the convention center, needing most accutely. And all of us in America, I think, reasonably asked ourselves, geez. You know, I watch hurricanes all the time. And I see correspondents standing among rubble and refugees and evacuaees. But I always either see that Red Cross or Salvation Army truck nearby. Why don’t I see that?

Hugh Hewitt: And the answer is?

Major Garrett: The answer is the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security, that is the state agency responsible for that state’s homeland security, told the Red Cross explicitly, you cannot come.

Hugh Hewitt: Now Major Garrett, on what day did they block the delivery? Do you know specifically?

Major Garrett: I am told by the Red Cross, immediately after the storm passed.

Hugh Hewitt: Okay, so that would be on Monday afternoon.

Major Garrett: That would have been Monday or Tuesday. The exact time, the hour, I don’t have. But clearly, they had an evacuee situation at the Superdome, and of course, people gravitated to the convention center on an ad hoc basis. They sort of invented that as another place to go, because they couldn’t stand the conditions at the Superdome.

Hugh Hewitt: Any doubt in the Red Cross’ mind that they were ready to go, but they were blocked?

Major Garrett: No. Absolutely none. They are absolutely unequivocal on that point.

Hugh Hewitt: And are they eager to get this story out there, because they are chagrined by the coverage that’s been emanating from New Orleans?

Major Garrett: I think they are. I mean, and look. Every agency that is in the private sector, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Feed The Children, all the ones we typically see are aggrieved by all the crap that’s being thrown around about the response to this hurricane, because they work hand and glove with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. When FEMA is tarred and feathered, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are tarred and feathered, because they work on a cooperative basis. They feel they are being sullied by this reaction.

Hugh Hewitt: Of course they are. Now Major Garrett, what about the Louisiana governor’s office of Homeland Security. Have they responded to this charge by the Red Cross, which is a blockbuster charge?

Major Garrett: I have not been able to reach them yet. But, what they have said consistently is, and what they told the Red Cross, we don’t want you to come in there, because we have evacuees that we want to get out. And if you come in, they’re more likely to stay. So I want your listeners to follow me here. At the very moment that Ray Nagin, the Mayor of New Orleans was screaming where’s the food, where’s the water, it was over the overpass, and state officials were saying you can’t come in. (*** My emphasis — JDH ***)

Hugh Hewitt: I also have to conclude from what you’re telling me, Major Garrett, is that had they been allowed to deliver when they wanted to deliver, which is at least a little bit prior to the levee, or at least prior to the waters rising, the supplies would have been pre-positioned, and the relief…you know, the people in the Superdome, and possibly at the convention center, I want to come back to that, would have been spared the worst of their misery.

Major Garrett: They would have been spared the lack of food, water and hygiene. I don’t think there’s any doubt that they would not have been spared the indignity of having nor workable bathrooms in short order.

Hugh Hewitt: Now Major Garrett, let’s turn to the convention center, because this will be, in the aftermath…did the Red Cross have ready to go into the convention center the supplies that we’re talking about as well?

Major Garrett: Sure. They could have gone to any location, provided that the water wasn’t too high, and they got some assistance.

Hugh Hewitt: Now, were they utterly dependent upon the Louisiana state officials to okay them?

Major Garrett: Yes.

Hugh Hewitt: Because you know, they do work with FEMA. But is it your understanding that FEMA and the Red Cross and the other relief agencies must get the state’s okay to act?

Major Garrett: As the Red Cross told me, they said look. We are not state actors. We are not the Army. We are a private organziation. We work in cooperation with both FEMA and the state officials. But the state told us A) it’s not safe, because the water is dangerous. And we’re now learning how toxic the water is. B) there’s a security situation, because they didn’t have a handle on the violence on the ground. And C) and I think this is most importantly, they wanted to evacuate out. They didn’t want people to stay.

Read the whole thing at Radio Blogger.

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