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FEMA Leadership 'Is Unprepared and Out of Touch'

October 21, 2005|From Associated Press

E-mails among FEMA officials, excerpted but otherwise unedited ("the US" in the Aug. 30 e-mail means "the undersecretary," director Michael D. Brown):

Aug. 28, 4:46 p.m. CDT

From: Marty Bahamonde, regional director for New England

To: David Passey, regional director for the Gulf Coast

Issues developing at the Superdome. 2000 already in and more standing in line.... The medical staff at the dome says they will run out of oxygen in about 2 hours.

Aug. 28, 5:28 p.m.

From: Bahamonde

To: Deborah Wing, FEMA response specialist

Everyone is soaked. This is going to get ugly real fast.

Aug. 28, 7:16 p.m.

From: Passey

To: Group

The current population at the Superdome in New Orleans is 25,000. That's a large crowd during a normal event. Among the shelter population are 400 special needs evacuees.... The on-hand oxygen supply will likely run out in the next few hours. According to the ESF8 folks, the local health officials have struggled to put meaningful resource requests together.

Aug. 28, 9:58 p.m.

From: Passey

To: Bahamonde

Our intel is that neither the OK-1 DMAT nor the public health officers staged in Memphis will make it to the Superdome tonight. Oxygen supply issue has not been solved yet either.

Aug. 29, 7:33 a.m.

From: Bahamonde

To: Michael Heath, special assistant

Some pumping stations failed but no widespread flooding yet. The reall worry will be in the next 3 hours when he storm passes and we get the northerly winds blowing thwe lake into the city

Aug. 30, 7:02 a.m.

From: Bahamonde

To: Nicol Andrews, FEMA spokeswoman

What is happening with the US travel this morning. When is he coming to New Orleans. The area around the Superdome is filling up with water, now waist deep. The US can land and do a presser but then have to leave, there will be no ground tour, only flyover.

Aug. 31, 11:20 a.m.

From: Bahamonde

To: FEMA director Michael D. Brown

Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical. Here some things you might not know.

Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water. Hundreds still being rescued from homes.

The dying patients at the DMAT tent being medivac. Estimates are many will die within hours. Evacuation in process. Plans developing for dome evacuation but hotel situation adding to problem. We are out of food and running out of water at the dome, plans in works to address the critical need.

Aug. 31, 2 p.m.

From: Sharon Worthy, Brown's press secretary

To: Cindy Taylor, FEMA deputy director of public affairs, and others

Also, it is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner. Gievn that Baton Rouge is back to normal, restaurants are getting busy. He needs much more that 20 or 30 minutes. We now have traffic to encounter to get to and from a location of his choise, followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc.

Aug. 31, 2:44 p.m.

From: Bahamonde

To: Taylor and Michael Widomski, public affairs

OH MY GOD!!!!!!!! No won't go any further, too easy of a target. Just tell her that I just ate an MRE and crapped in the hallway of the Superdome along with 30,000 other close friends so I understand her concern about busy restaurants. Maybe tonight I will have time to move my pebbles on the parking garage floor so they don't stab me in the back while I try to sleep.

Sept. 3, 1:06 a.m.

From: Bahamonde

To: Taylor

The leadership from top down in our agency is unprepared and out of touch.... But while I am horrified at some of the cluelessness and self concern that persists, I try to focus on those that have put their lives on hold to help people that they have never met and never will. And while I sometimes think that I can't work in this arena, I can't get out of my head the visions of children and babies I saw sitting there, helpless, looking at me and hoping I could make a difference and so I will and you must to.

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