Monday, February 20, 2006

Katrina Response Flaws Heavily Related to Staffing Problems

A House committee report on the shortcomings of the US Government's response to Hurricane Katrina indicated that a dysfunctional culture within FEMA may have played a major part. Evidence cited included testimony by Mississippi FEMA director Bill Carwile that he had to turn to Forest Service and city firefighters because of personnel shortfalls and Louisiana deputy director Scott Wells indicating that Louisiana had neither the personnel, expertise or training for the hurricane. Additional statements indicated that FEMA had a poor reputation for morale with many top people leaving in the years leading up to Katrina and little evidence that top officals took action to address warnings of unpreparedness.

As I and many others have said before, there is plenty of blame to go around for the post-Katrina debacle. More importantly, are FEMA, Homeland Security and state and local governments learning and changing anything for the future. This article was not overly reassuring on that score.


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