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FEMA Prevents Scores of Police Officers and Fire Fighters from Entering NO (LA Times)

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  • FEMA Prevents Scores of Police Officers and Fire Fighters from Entering NO (LA Times)

    Police May Force Out Residents

    By Scott Gold, Julie Cart and Stephen Braun, Times Staff Writers

    NEW ORLEANS — Police officials threatened Wednesday to resort to forced evacuations by the end of the week to clear out residents who had not left, pointing to environmental tests warning of dangerous bacteria levels in the floodwaters.

    As health authorities joined New Orleans and Louisiana officials in urging the city's estimated 10,000 holdouts to leave their homes, Bush administration officials said they would earmark $51.8 billion in new funding to speed help to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Amid simmering anger about the federal government's halting response, congressional leaders formed a joint House-Senate committee to investigate the breakdowns after the storm hit Aug. 29.

    Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said the inquiry would scrutinize government performance across the board. "The initial response to Hurricane Katrina was unacceptable at the local, state and federal levels," he said.

    Democratic lawmakers had pressed for an independent panel along the lines of the 9/11 commission, which found pervasive government failures leading to the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and the Pentagon. "I don't think the government should be investigating itself," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York) said.

    But Frist said he and Republican House Majority Leader J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) had settled on a bipartisan panel of senior congressional leaders to "do all we can to learn from this tragedy." The inquiry is to be completed by Feb. 15.

    Michael D. Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency — who is under fire for the agency's slow response to the flooding — said Wednesday that scores of police and volunteer firefighters from around the nation, as well as trucks loaded with donated water, were even now being prevented from entering New Orleans while troops conduct house-to-house searches.

    "They can't just yet," Brown said during a briefing in Baton Rouge. "There is going to come this natural time when we will release this floodgate of cops and firefighters who want to help. It's the same for anyone who wants to volunteer — we have over 50,000 offers of donations from the private sector. It has to be coordinated in such a way that it helps."

    Numerous state and local officials in Louisiana have accused FEMA of making the situation worse with red tape and a hesitant response immediately after Katrina slammed into the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

    "I'm asking Congress, please don't send any more money to FEMA," said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), a staunch critic of the agency. "Send it directly to the local officials." But White House officials said $50 billion of the new aid package, supplementing $10.5 billion approved last week, would be routed to FEMA.

    Ripples from the flooding, which left as many as 1 million people homeless and untold numbers dead, continued to shake the nation's economy. Louisiana emergency officials said Wednesday that the disaster could cost the state at least $100 billion. And the Congressional Budget Office predicted 400,000 jobs would be lost through the end of the year, with privately insured losses topping $30 billion.

    The death count stood at 83 in Louisiana by Wednesday morning, and 196 bodies had been found in Mississippi. But there were growing indications that the toll could be staggering. A temporary warehouse morgue in rural St. Gabriel that had been prepared to take 1,000 bodies was being readied to handle 5,000. State officials said federal emergency teams had amassed more than 25,000 body bags.

    The scope of the disaster became more apparent in St. Bernard Parish, southeast of New Orleans, which was hit last week by swells up to 40 feet high, parish President Henry "Junior" Rodriguez said. State Rep. Nita Hutter said that 30 people had died at a flooded nursing home in Chalmette when the staff abandoned elderly residents in their beds. Rep. Charlie Melancon has reported that more than 100 people died at a dockside warehouse while they waited for rescuers to ferry them to safety.

    As federal disaster mortuary response teams began collecting bodies and loading them into a refrigerated truck, Rodriguez said on New Orleans television station WWL that at least 67 corpses — included those from the nursing home — had been found.

    "There's going to be more than that," he said wearily.

    Sections of St. Bernard that were submerged several days ago were nearly dry Wednesday, but they were covered by a black film of oil sludge. In the 9th Ward of New Orleans, floodwaters receded and Navy officials said search and rescue units were able to scrap some operations.

    Police and military officials were focused on saving the lives of those still holed up in the shells of eroding houses and apartments. New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin is counting on a toughly worded evacuation order he signed Tuesday night to persuade thousands of residents to leave.

    Nagin instructed police and National Guard troops "to compel the evacuation of all persons from the city of New Orleans, regardless of whether such persons are on private property or do not desire to leave."

    But Art Jones, a senior official with the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said Louisiana State Police troopers and National Guard units in New Orleans had no plans to participate in forced evacuations.

    "We personally will not force anyone out of their homes," Jones said at a briefing, adding that "for their own common sense, they should get out as quick as they can."

    Louisiana's governor, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, has authority over National Guard troops in the state, and the federal Posse Comitatus act prevents active-duty troops from performing any domestic law enforcement unless authorized by the president.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwo...,2942650.story

  • #2
    Its a fuckin blame game out there man! The state/city is blaming FEMA and the feds (before all the money was coming from the Gov). Then the government is pointing out the deadly mistakes made by local/state officals. What the hell? Let EVERYONE in and fucking help people!!!!!!!!!!! Whats the problem.
    I could of told Nagin that the federal government was slow to get moving and money would take awhile to get there. I also could of told him to evacuate people instead of placing them all in the center of the city!
    But then again there is alot of things New Orleans and LA officals could of been schooled on! Including using the funds given to him by the Bush administration (which was more than the prior administration) for more preventive and pre-emptive actions. Perhaps even following the city's stated evacuation plan!
    GoodGameTV.com

    Comment


    • #3
      So what do you say to this then: http://www.d12world.com/board/showthread.php?t=246879
      GoodGameTV.com

      Comment


      • #4
        i say the same thing to that.

        Comment


        • #5
          I see u have oviously read it and produced a very compelling argument! you got my vote Payne! You are smart!
          GoodGameTV.com

          Comment


          • #6
            What are you trying to say? You clearly prove that Red Cross was blocked from entering New Orleans before the levees broke also when there's people here that still believe that's bullshit... I'M NOT BLAMING BUSH you stupid fucking idiot, get THAT THROUGH YOUR FUCKING HEAD... how many times do I have to tell you? Are you retarded, kid?

            Comment

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