Wednesday, September 07, 2005

FEMA: No Photos of the Dead

First FEMA failed to get the manpower on the ground before the hurricane hit. Then they failed to coordinate relief efforts quickly enough to save people who survived Katrina, only to succumb days later to drowning, dehydration, exposure, or manageable illnesses like diabetes.

Today, FEMA has issued a warning to the media: Don't you bring us no bad news!

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, heavily criticized for its slow response to the devastation caused by the hurricane, rejected requests from journalists to accompany rescue boats as they went out to search for storm victims.

An agency spokeswoman said space was needed on the rescue boats and that "the recovery of the victims is being treated with dignity and the utmost respect."

"We have requested that no photographs of the deceased be made by the media," the spokeswoman said in an e-mailed response to a Reuters inquiry.

Why didn't FEMA consider the "dignity" and "respect" of the victims before Katrina? Why didn't they have adequate plans for responding to the destruction of New Orleans and surrounding parishes and counties? Why weren't their agents trained in advance of the Big One that had been predicted for years and years?

Now there's one photo we've got to see: Michael Brown with his head in shame. Fire him now!


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