FEMA's Brown Was Warned Early of Shortages - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 29th, 2005, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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FEMA's Brown Was Warned Early of Shortages

FEMA's Brown Was Warned Early of Shortages

By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press WriterThu Sep 29, 7:58 AM ET

Former FEMA director Michael Brown was warned weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit that his agency's backlogged computer systems could delay supplies and put personnel at risk during an emergency, according to an audit released Wednesday.

An internal review of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's information-sharing system shows it was overwhelmed during the 2004 hurricane season. The audit was released a day after Brown vehemently defended FEMA for the government's dismal response to Katrina, instead blaming state and local officials for poor planning and chaos during the Aug. 29 storm and subsequent flooding.

The review by Homeland Security Department acting Inspector General Richard L. Skinner examined FEMA's response to four major hurricanes and a tropical storm that hit Florida and the Gulf Coast in August and September 2004. It noted FEMA's mission during disasters as rapid response and coordinating efforts among federal, state and local authorities.

"However, FEMA's systems do not support effective or efficient coordination of deployment operations because there is no sharing of information," the audit found. "Consequently, this created operational inefficiencies and hindered the delivery of essential disaster response and recovery services," it said.

Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said parts of the report were misleading because FEMA's system was never designed to track supplies — although it is now testing a Global Positioning System program, used during Katrina, to do just that.

"We are taking a look at a broad range of issues that have come up as a result of the hurricane," Knocke said. "Obviously, logistics support systems present some concerns and that is an area that we will address moving forward."

In an Aug. 3 response, Brown and one of his deputies rejected the audit, calling it unacceptable, erroneous and negative.

"The overall tone of the report is negative," wrote FEMA chief information officer Barry C. West in an Aug. 3 letter that Brown initialed.

"We believe this characterization is inaccurate and does not acknowledge the highly performing, well managed and staffed (informational technology) systems supporting FEMA incident response and recovery."

Among the problems the audit identified:

_FEMA's system could not track and coordinate delivery of ice and water to Florida, resulting in millions of dollars worth of ice left unused at response centers, and $1.6 million in leftover water returned to storage.

_An estimated 200,000 victims had to wait for temporary housing aid from disaster assistance employees because of backlogged computers.

_Emergency personnel were potentially put at risk because the system did not provide real-time disaster warnings and other information.


On the Net:

Federal Emergency Management Agency: http://www.fema.gov

Homeland Security Department: http://www.dhs.gov
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 29th, 2005, 06:38 PM
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The saga continues...with no surprises. Pathetic liars.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 29th, 2005, 07:00 PM
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Now I understand why he looked so scared and jittery when he appeared on CNN.
He must have been thinking hiw he was going to interve if he did not have enough supplies because he never acted on the warning,

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 29th, 2005, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Brown Defends Himself Over FEMA Response

By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press WriterTue Sep 27, 3:22 AM ET

Embattled former FEMA director Michael Brown says he was initially unaware of desperate conditions at the New Orleans Convention Center because it was not a planned Hurricane Katrina evacuation site, according to a congressional memo.

After learning from television about the thousands of evacuees who gathered at the center, Brown ordered food and water be delivered there. But Brown, who on Tuesday faces a House inquiry into the government's slow response to the Aug. 29 disaster, told congressional aides that "there is no reason FEMA would have known about it beforehand."

In Katrina's aftermath, thousands of people gathered at the convention center, where adequate food, water and other supplies were lacking and where violence was common.

The memo, obtained by The Associated Press, was written by a Republican congressional aide who attended a 90-minute briefing Monday with Brown, who resigned as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Sept. 12.

Brown announced his resignation three days after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff removed him from overseeing the onsite disaster response, and was highly criticized for being a Bush administration political appointee without deep emergency management experience. He denied accusations that he padded his resume.

Brown, who ran FEMA for more than two years, has a two-week "transition" remaining at the agency, during which he will advise the department on "some of his views on his experience with Katrina," Homeland security spokesman Russ Knocke said. He is receiving full pay.

The congressional memo details Brown's self-defense — and attacks on other officials — in managing the response to the catastrophic storm and flooding that killed more than 1,000 people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Brown "acknowledged that he made mistakes," said a second Republican staff member who attended the briefing.

The memo describes Brown's views on missteps at every level of government in Katrina's aftermath. Among the revelations:

_Brown said he should have sought help more quickly from the Pentagon after Katrina hit, and expressed regret "that he did not start screaming" for the military's involvement sooner. The first substantial numbers of active-duty troops responding to the Gulf Coast were sent on Sept. 3, five days after the storm hit.

_Brown said Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin "sparred during the crisis and could not work together cooperatively." He also described Blanco as "indecisive" and refusing to cede control of the Louisiana National Guard to federal authorities because "it would have undercut her image politically."

Aides to Blanco and Nagin could not be immediately reached Monday night.

_Brown did not take any official notes during conference calls he ran with state and federal authorities and "just assumed that agencies would follow up on taskings resulting from the calls."

_Brown said a federal takeover of emergency management responsibilities would be a "crutch" for local and state governments and could lead to future lapses in preparedness.

He did not respond to several telephone calls Monday.

Democrats have largely boycotted the congressional investigation. Though the inquiry chaired by Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., was meant to be bipartisan, Democrats say Republican lawmakers cannot fairly investigate the GOP White House, and are calling for an independent commission.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 29th, 2005, 07:42 PM
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you can listen to the audio here

Conference Calls Detail Katrina Concerns, Failings

Listen to this story... by Daniel Zwerdling

Morning Edition, September 23, 2005 · In the days before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, officials in local, state and federal governments held a series of telephone conference calls aimed at coordinating their responses to the storm. The sessions were recorded by Walter Maestri, emergency manager for Jefferson Parish, who shared them with NPR.

In tapes of the disaster planning meetings, emergency managers and civic officials evinced a growing concern with the strengthening hurricane's possible effects -- and after the storm made landfall, a growing frustration with the aid effort mounted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

As emergency preparations gave way to coordinated actions and pleas for equipment, the recorded calls depict an emergency command center in Baton Rouge that became a center of frenzied activity.

As late as Saturday morning -- 48 hours before the storm struck -- officials were debating how best to handle an evacuation. At one point, Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans brought up a troubling issue: If community leaders simultaneously told residents to leave, gridlock could result.

Throughout the weekend, local officials continued in their plans to open disaster shelters. In detailed plans drawn up several years ago, state and federal governments agreed on the need for a network of "special needs" shelters, with emergency generators that could power medical equipment. But in a series of phone calls, officials complained they couldn't find the generators they needed.

Dozens of key officials from state and federal agencies spoke with local counterparts like Maestri, of Jefferson Parish, a large suburb of New Orleans hit hard by the storm surge and the flooding that followed.

On the morning of Monday, Aug. 29, with Katrina making its way inland from the Gulf Coast, Maestri said on the call: "Things are collapsing." And questions persisted over who was in charge: "So FEMA will coordinate emergency supplies?" Maestri asked. Soon after, communications were lost, and the next conference call took place nearly two weeks later.

The calls could play a role in any investigation -- whether by the White House or by Congress -- into why the initial response to Katrina failed to match the scale of the hurricane's impact on the region.

This piece was produced by NPR's Kate Davidson.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Sep 29th, 2005, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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Ha! I believe Walter Maestri is the guy that was Bill Mahr.....and when Bill asked him what he felt about Brown....Maestri wouldn't answer because he said it wouldn't be good.
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