I was watching the Weather Channel this afternoon and had to chuckle at the briefing given by FEMA about its response readiness for south Texas. Since Hurricane Dean is most likely going to miss Texas by several hundred miles, it seemed like the speaker was told to give some face time to the public, with a preparedness line that he knew he’d never have to worry about implementing.
FEMA has come to embody everything that is wrong with government bureaucracy. If anything, the briefing only strengthened my belief that should a catastrophe befall any other part of the country except south Texas, FEMA would not be ready to respond because it has focused all its attention to a solitary part of the country. And even then, the focus is coming from Washington and not south Texas.
We all know about FEMA’s inept response to Katrina. Here’s one about the Orlando tornadoes this past February. Here’s one about the toxic trailers that people are living in two years after New Orleans flooded. Here’s a funny one about Delaware (last paragraph). And if you think that former head of FEMA Michael Brown deserves the blame for FEMA’s lack of preparedness, then read this one.
Emergency response needs to come from more localized resources. It makes no sense that bureaucrats in Washington, who know little if anything about regions outside of maybe a 15 mile radius of Washington, should even be part of the decision-making chain.
And how foolish for us to let our government continue to get away with this.
I can only hope that the next administration recognizes that when it comes to government, bigger is not necessarily better and that the Department of Homeland Security be disassembled. FEMA had a chance when it was small and nimble. It needs to be given that chance again.