As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded on national television for firefighters - his own are exhausted after working around the clock for a week - a battalion of highly trained men and women sat idle Sunday in a muggy Sheraton Hotel conference room in Atlanta.taken from the Salt Lake City Tribune
Many of the firefighters, assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers.
Instead, they have learned they are going to be community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA......"They've got people here who are search-and-rescue certified, paramedics, haz-mat certified," said a Texas firefighter. "We're sitting in here having a sexual-harassment class while there are still [victims] in Louisiana who haven't been contacted yet.".....Firefighters say they want to brave the heat, the debris-littered roads, the poisonous cottonmouth snakes and fire ants and travel into pockets of Louisiana where many people have yet to receive emergency aid.
But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.
what in the hell...
I have only one word. disgraceful.
What makes this worse:
Taken from Katrina Blog on MSNBC.Com
As noted here two days ago, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to ask evacuees to call (800) 621-3362 or browse to www.fema.gov to start the process of filing a claim for disaster assistance.... It turns out, according to the [American Red Cross] worker, who like the other aid workers spoke on condition of anonymity, that the call to the FEMA number does not open a claim; it results in a package containing the claim form being mailed to the address of the evacuee.
Since the evacuee is in a shelter, mail service has been suspended in many of the hardest hit areas and some of the homes are likely still under water, it seems clear that those claim forms won’t be mailed back any time soon.