Since I’m a news junkie I follow most of the top stories.
So of course I’ve been following the California wildfire stories but before I begin my post I want to express my sincere sadness to all those who have lost a loved one (s) and their homes in the fires. Words fail me when I try to comprehend what it would be like to loose everything I love and cherished so my sympathies are with those who have and their friends and their families.
Since I was a vocal critic of FEMA’s handling of the Katrina disaster I will tell you I was watching quite closely to see how they would respond to this disaster and I must say FEMA has definitely earned a passing grade.
They have provided the necessary services for the evacuees and in most cases they seem to be going above and beyond to make sure the victims of this disaster are not only comfortable in their temporary homes but also that their physical and emotional needs are being met.
Even Mike Chertoff Homeland Security Secretary agreed that they’ve learned lessons from Katrina. FEMA’s execution of staff and resources was surgical and precise.
As one CNN newscaster said, it has been a “well orchestrated, well oiled machine..anything anyone can ever want or need is here,” she was referring to all the services that are being offered at the shelters (they also have yoga service, acupuncture, I don’t think these are necessary services but I don’t know if FEMA is actually paying for them, if they are then I hope and will expect that they should be provided at all major national catastrophic events) and she attributed the organisational response and success to local leadership she believes that this is what differentiates San Diego from New Orleans.
But I’m not so sure that’s the reason why, obviously most local, state and federal agencies learned lessons from Katrina but I have to wonder and we’ll never know but had there not been a Katrina would FEMA and other federal agencies have responded in the exact same way to this particular disaster?
Would the evacuees be as comfortable in their shelters as they appear to be now?
Would federal funds and resources have been freed up as easily as they seem to have been this time?
Would President Bush’s have responded as quickly as he has to the victims and to reach out and reassure those by visiting them as early as tomorrow?
I believe the answer to these three questions is simply YES.
Why? Economic power usually goes hand in hand with political clout.
San Diego is the fifth richest city in the US it’s median income for a household in the city was a $45, 733 and the per capita income for the city was $ 23, 609 and about 14.6 % of the population lived below the poverty line compare this too New Orleans which ranks as the ninth poorest city in America (and both these stats were prior Katrina) it’s median income for a household in the city was $27, 133 and the per capita income for the city was $17, 258 and 27.9% of the population live below the poverty line.. and who lines the pockets of the political parties can definitely expect to be taken care off while those with less money are beholden to those in power this is how is always been I DON’T think this is how it should always be.
Now, I will not say for a minute that the government allocates its services or funds based on wealth but the cynic in me fails to believe that leadership is the sole reason behind the drastic differences that are clearly seen between how those in San Diego are being treated versus the treatment of those in New Orleans.
And I wonder how those New Orleans evacuees feel when they watch t.v and learn about the yoga and acupuncture treatments that are being offered in the shelter (s) to those evacuees when all they wanted in the Superdome was clean running water, clean bathrooms and a bit of food?
It makes me wonder and unfortunately it leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth.