Didn't Say, "Captain, May I"

Monday, September 12, 2005 | 0 Comments

Lieutenant General Russel Honoré, the head of the Department of Defense's Joint Task Force Katrina, indicated in a briefing on September 1 that the governors of Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states requested that the Pentagon establish local defense coordinating offices on Friday, August 26, and that the Army began operating in those states that day and the following weekend in preparation for the hurricane.

In addition, Gov. Blanco formally requested that the president declare a state of emergency in Louisiana on August 27, in a letter complying with the terms of the Stafford Act. She stated in that request, "I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster. I am specifically requesting emergency protective measures, direct Federal Assistance, Individual and Household Program (IHP) assistance, Special Needs Program assistance, and debris removal." Also in the requesting letter, the governor stated: "In response to the situation I have taken appropriate action under State law and directed the execution of the State Emergency Plan on August 26, 2005 in accordance with Section 501 (a) of the Stafford Act. A State of Emergency has been issued for the State in order to support the evacuations of the coastal areas in accordance with our State Evacuation Plan and the remainder of the state to support the State Special Needs and Sheltering Plan."

These are only what I have found so far, but I think it is a good start in showing that at least the Gov of LA was trying to get aid BEFORE the hurricane even hit. These requests, from what I have found so far, were not formally accepted by and acted on by the federal government until Sept 1, except that some of the Natl Guard were allowed to go into the gulf states before the hurricane hit. So, for all you out there beating the "no aid without a formal request" drum, you can stop now.


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Blogger tchrgrrl said...

Um...I believe the President DID declare a state of emergency before the hurricane hit.

September 12, 2005 5:31 PM

Blogger DrMax said...

But she didn't say "pretty please."

September 12, 2005 7:16 PM

Blogger OldRoses said...

Don't they always declare states of emergency before large storms so that they can enforce evacuation orders? I think one of the problems they won't admit to is that most of the Nat'l Guard is in Iraq and therefore unavailable to help here in the US. Normally disaster sites are immediately swarming with Nat'l Guard but the local units were in Iraq. They came home afterwards to no homes and missing family members.

September 12, 2005 9:58 PM

Blogger Shannon said...

THere was a state of emergency, but if I recall correctly, along with half the national guard, water pumps, boats, and generators were in Iraq.

All things Considered on NPR had some great pieces on what happened:
here and here

September 13, 2005 8:39 AM

Blogger Sylvana said...

When Bush was questioned on whether the fact that so much of the area's resources that could have been used to recover from the hurricane had been sent over to Iraq (Ntl Guards and equipment) had been a contributing factor in the lack of an acceptable relief effort, he got all sour-pussed and told the reporters to quit playing the "blame game".

September 13, 2005 9:10 AM

Blogger Indigo Red said...

Declaring a state of emergency is done after the state of emergency exists, i.e., after the storm. The declaration before Katrina was unusual and unprecedented.

Much of the pre-positioned aid was actually in a New Orleans National Guard Armory and it was destroyed in the flood.

September 15, 2005 1:52 PM

Blogger Sylvana said...

Indigo Red, I hadn't heard that. That was pretty stupid, huh? If they knew how bad this thing was supposed to be, in fact, to the extent that they (I guess refering mostly to Bush, since he made the declaration and is ultimately in control of the military- Commander in Chief and all) felt that it required an unprecedented declaration of a state of emergency, why would they not hold the equipment in a safer place? Like one outside the path of destruction?

September 16, 2005 5:52 PM