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Monday, January 30, 2006

FEMA refused help in NOLA

As if everything we know about the federal response to Katrina wasn't bad enough, we now find out that FEMA stopped search and rescue operations after 3 days, and that they refused help offered by the Dept. of the Interior.

Responding to a questionnaire posed by investigators, Assistant Interior Secretary P. Lynn Scarlett said her agency offered to supply FEMA with 300 dump trucks and other vehicles, 300 boats, 11 aircraft and 400 law enforcement officers to help search and rescue efforts.

"Although the (Interior) Department possesses significant resources that could have improved initial and ongoing response, many of these resources were not effectively incorporated into the federal response for Hurricane Katrina," Scarlett wrote in the response, dated Nov. 7.

Scarlett added: "Although we attempted to provide these assets through the process established by the (response plan), we were unable to efficiently integrate and deploy those resources."

At one point, Scarlett's letter noted, FEMA asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help with search and rescue in New Orleans, St. Bernard Parish and St. Tammany Parish "but never received task assignments."

The agency, part of the Interior Department, apparently went ahead anyway, according to the letter, which said that Fish and Wildlife helped rescue 4,500 people in the first week after Katrina.

Well, now we have some insight into why Bush has ordered the stonewalling on this particular investigation. You're doing a heck of a job, Chimpy.

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