The situation after that global-warming induced ice storm that wreaked havoc in Kentucky among other places is getting worse by the day. If this were Bush and Brownie, wouldn’t we be seeing nightly reports about how FEMA dropped the ball, causing death and misery?
Thousands of people in ice-caked Kentucky awoke in motels and shelters, asked to leave their homes by authorities who said emergency teams in some areas were too strapped to reach everyone in need of food, water and warmth.
Dozens of deaths have been reported and many people are pleading for a faster response to the power outages. About 536,000 homes and businesses across Kentucky were without power, down from more than 600,000 the largest outage in state history, surpassing the damage last year from the remnants of Hurricane Ike.
Local officials grew angrier at what they said was a lack of help from the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In Kentucky’s Grayson County, about 80 miles southwest of Louisville, Emergency Management Director Randell Smith said the 25 National Guardsmen who have responded have no chain saws to clear fallen trees. He said roads are littered with fallen trees and people shivering in bone-chilling cold are in need.
“We’ve got people out in some areas we haven’t even visited yet,” Smith said. “We don’t even know that they’re alive.”
Smith said FEMA was still a no-show days after the storm.
“I’m not saying we can’t handle it,” Smith said. “We’re handling it. But it sure would have made life a lot easier.”
FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak said some agency workers had begun working Friday in Kentucky and more help was on the way. Hudak said FEMA also has shipped 50 to 100 generators to the state to supply electricity to such facilities as hospitals, nursing homes and water treatment plants.
“We have plenty of folks ready to go, but there are some limitations with roads closed and icy conditions,” she noted.
Here’s what FEMA said as of yesterday they have done for the state of Kentucky.
Regional Response Coordination Center was activated and is working with Emergency Support Functions 1, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 11. These include working with federal partners in the areas of transportation, public works, mass care, logistics, public health and agriculture, and natural resources.
An Interim Operating Facility Mobile Command Post, a FEMA Emergency Response Team, and the federal coordinating officer assigned to the disaster, are en route to the Kentucky State Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
National Logistics Staging Area team members are traveling to Fort Campbell, Ky. to coordinate incoming federal supplies.
Federal supplies en route include; 50 generators, 12 truckloads of water and six truckloads of meals.
So we have well over have a million homes and businesses without power and FEMA has supplied 50 generators and 18 loads of food and water. Color me underwhelmed.
But FEMA has had time to product a mission statement worthy of Dilbert.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism and man-made disasters.