Incompetence or by design?

Things are so messed up in NOLA that blaming it all on bad management is a stretch, as it appears way more purposeful than that.

Far from deferring to state or local officials, FEMA asserted its authority and only made things worse, said Aaron Broussard, the president of Jefferson Parish, south of New Orleans. When Wal-Mart sent three trailer trucks loaded with water, FEMA officials turned them away, he said. Agency workers prevented the Coast Guard from delivering 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel, and on Saturday they cut the parish’s emergency communications line, leading the sheriff to restore it and post armed guards to protect it from FEMA, Broussard said on “Meet the Press” on NBC.

A spokesman for Sen. Mary Landrieu (Democrat, Louisiana), told the media that FEMA held up aid from both public and private agencies, withholding approval for the US Forest Service to use water tanker aircraft to put out fires and delaying the arrival of Amtrak trains to evacuate people from the city. Offers by private companies to provide communications equipment were also held up by the agency. There were also reports that the Red Cross was prevented from going into the city and that FEMA refused to allow the unloading of food, water and medical supplies brought by ships into New Orleans harbor.

From Boing Boing

Today a consultant who works with us and the EPA came back from the Gulf region. Here are some of the things that he had to report:

He said that the 30 elderly who died in the nursing home were simply forgotten. They were supposed to be rescued but someone dropped the ball and they died.

There are now 130,000 people working in the Gulf region, including 60,000 National Guard. Conditions for these workers, especially the contractors, are extremely hard. Many are sleeping in their cars and have to supply their own food and water. There is as yet no infrastructure in place to support this group. 80% of these people have terrible diarrhea and some have been hospitalized.

The plan going forward for New Orleans is to demolish all the houses and burn them. There is nowhere to bury the waste in the region so they will incinerate it all. Before that can go on, they will have to search every house for chemical hazards.

That’s why they want everyone out. So they can burn the city. The environmental ramifications of days and days of toxic smoke are unimaginable. Do they think? Do they care? And if this happens, and they do rebuild, you can bet the new homes will be pricey condos and the like, with the builders making billions.

This contractor has been organizing reverse osmosis (RO) water purification units from all over the country since last Tuesday. He has over 100 units of various sizes available to move into the region, but no one will give the go ahead. No one will sign their name to a piece of paper for fear recriminations later.

Certainly I cannot attest to the absolute reliability of all this information, but it is from a reliable source who has been involved with EPA response to hazardous situations for 20 years.

He confirms what everyone else has already said: the clusterfuck down there is beyond all imagining.

The above could possibly be the results of a mismanaged clusterfuck, the following most certainly is not.

The Word of the Day is Detainment Camp

Please read this photo-documented first-person report in full, from the FEMA Detainment Camp in Falls Creek, Oklahoma:

The occupants of the camp cannot leave the camp for any reason. If they leave the camp they may never return. They will be issued FEMA identification cards and “a sum of money” and they will remain within the camp for the next 5 months.

FEMA blocks photos of New Orleans dead

U.S. to block media, not just photos of New Orleans’ dead