To the editor:
A recent CNN investigation revealed that FEMA gave away $85 million in relief goods meant for Hurricane Katrina victims. These supplies sat in warehouses for two years before being given to other government agencies, all 121 truckloads of it. FEMA said the items were no longer needed in the stricken region, so it declared them federal surplus. John Medica, director of the Louisiana Federal Property Assistance Agency, stated he was unaware that Katrina victims still had a need for the household supplies. A FEMA representative said it was costing more than $1 million a year to store the material and that another agency wanted the warehouses torn down, so they needed to clear it out.
State and federal committees are "looking into" just how and why those supplies never reached the relief agencies that desperately needed them and still need to this day. The how and why is easy to explain: endless miles of red tape and the inability of state and federal relief agencies to easily communicate with each other. This is another glaring example of how woefully unprepared we are for another large-scale disaster, be it natural or manmade. Neither political party is free of guilt regarding this fiasco, though each will sic their attack dogs on each other as they try to shift the blame.
A FEMA representative said the giveaway was "not news." What isn't news is that FEMA continues their Keystone Cops routine, even as the floodwaters rise in the Midwest. Do you feel safe now?