The blame game that is going on regarding the delay in helping the Hurricane Katrina victims is a serious matter. The local, state and federal government will all share some of the responsibility, some more than others. People who were victims and needed to flee their residences died during the four to five days while they were waiting to be evacuated or were at the designated evacuation centers that had no water, food or medicine to sustain their lives. This delay was shocking to U.S. citizens and to those around the world who witnessed the events on television.
We have heard that there was unpredicted lawlessness and chaos, and that the assistance workers from the Red Cross would have been endangered. It should have been predicted and provided for.
We have heard that the state did not want any aid given at the evacuation centers as it would serve as a magnet for others to come there.
We have heard that the Red Cross and others were blocked from coming, even though they were ready from day one, because the Federal Emergency Management Agency wanted the state to call them and ask for assistance first. After less than 24 hours, FEMA should have made the call and not waited for protocol after seeing the dire needs of U.S. citizens being ignored.
In addition, U.S. troops and supplies were brought in from Iraq and other places, which were at a considerable distance from the disaster.
Help was offered from other countries, such as Israel, the Netherlands and Taiwan, but it seems like it is being dealt with in a political manner by the secretary of state, rather than the emergency that it is — an emergency that has affected our economy and gas prices.
If we had another emergency like this or greater, are we prepared? Have we extended our troops too much so that we will be as unprepared as we were in this emergency?
One or more of our bases could be destroyed in an emergency, and we would need to depend on neighboring bases for help. By consolidating and closing bases for economical reasons, have we been penny-wise and pound-foolish?
Local bases can be used for many things in addition to our necessary military force. In a disaster, they can be used to make meals for thousands and to house prisoners, evacuees, emergency workers who have volunteered from far away or those whose homes were destroyed in the disaster. They can serve as temporary schools until new schools are built, and they can be used for other purposes.
Let us rethink closing our bases, and let us make sure that FEMA and other emergency agencies are up to the task and meet their obligations.
— Sharon Miret, Newbury Park