Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hurricane Katrina's latest news

As time passes, more and more ineptness is shown on all facets of government — from state and local to federal. The most recent revelations from the sordid saga involve documented proof of "poor planning and communication" by FEMA as well as the failure of the involved state governments to accept federal "offers to help rescue storm victims ..."

According to documents obtained by the Associated Press:
Two days before Katrina hit, offers by the Department of Health and Human Services to help evacuate or move Louisiana patients were turned down by the state's health emergency preparedness director, according to an internal e-mail.
The state official, identified in the Aug. 27 e-mail as Dr. Roseanne Pratts, 'responded no, that they do not require anything at this time and they would be in touch if and when they needed assistance,' HHS senior policy analyst Erin Fowler wrote.
It could not be determined immediately whether the state later accepted the HHS offer after Katrina hit. Thirty-four patients at a nursing home near New Orleans died Aug. 29 in the wake of massive flooding brought by the storm's surge. The nursing home's owners have since been charged with negligent homicide for failing to evacuate the patients.
A spokesman for Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals, Bob Johannessen, had no immediate comment Monday night but said he would look into the matter today.
Concurrently, Louisiana's head of the Department of Transportation and Development said his agency had no plan in place to evacuate at-risk populations during emergencies ...."

Details from the CNN.com story include:
The official, state Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Johnny Bradberry, is scheduled to testify Tuesday at a hearing called by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The Senate committee, chaired by Maine Republican Susan Collins, is examining the government's response to Katrina. Monday's meeting focused on the search-and-rescue response, and Tuesday's will focus on the New Orleans evacuation.
Louisiana's emergency operations plan called for the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development to appoint a coordinator to organize and coordinate transportation services, maintain information about resources and allocate those resources to the highest-priority missions, according to documents obtained by CNN.
But Bradberry told investigators, 'We put no plans in place to do any of this,' according to transcripts released by the committee ahead of his testimony.
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