Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
DisasterAccountabilityProject-FEMA-NAC-OralTestimony

DisasterAccountabilityProject-FEMA-NAC-OralTestimony

Ratings: (0)|Views: 58 |Likes:
Published by disasterwatchdog
Testimony read at the FEMA National Advisory Council Meeting in Grand Forks, ND on July 30, 2009 by Ben Smilowitz, Executive Director, Disaster Accountability Project.
Testimony read at the FEMA National Advisory Council Meeting in Grand Forks, ND on July 30, 2009 by Ben Smilowitz, Executive Director, Disaster Accountability Project.

More info:

Published by: disasterwatchdog on Aug 28, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

05/11/2014

pdf

text

original

 
1
c/oCULI•35ElizabethStreet,RoomK-202•Hartford,CT06105314-761-7631•info@disasteraccountability.org
FEMANationalAdvisoryCouncilTestimonyGrandForks,ND7/30/09Chairman,ViceChairman,membersoftheFEMANationalAdvisoryCouncil,DeputySecretary,Mr.McNamara,andotheresteemedguests:MynameisBenSmilowitzandIamwiththeDisasterAccountabilityProject,anindependent,nonpartisan,nonprofitworkingtoimprovethenation'sdisastermanagementsystemsthroughpublicaccountability,citizenoversightandempowerment,whistle‐blowerengagement,andpolicyresearchandadvocacy.Istartedtheorganizationin2007–afterspendingthreeweeksmanagingRedCrossclientservicecentersalongtheMSGulfCoastintheimmediateaftermathofKatrina.TheexperienceinMSwasaneye‐openerandItriedtodissectitinameaningfulway,givenmybackgroundinpolicy,organizing,andlaw‐‐‐Americansdonatedinrecordnumbers,manyopenedtheirhomestostrangers,therewerenewconversationsaboutrace,poverty,disabilityissues,environmentalissues,theroleofgovernment,faith‐basedorganizations,theprivatesector,transportationissues‐‐‐andsoon‐itseemedthatmorewereengagedthaneverbefore.OrganizationsrangingfromNAACP,NationalCouncilofLaRaza,disabilitygroups,housinggroups,children’sgroups‐andhostsofotherswrotereportswithcountlessrecommendationsforimprovement.TheWhiteHouse,Congress,GovernmentAccountabilityOffice,InternationalRedCross,BritishRedCross—andothers,wrotereportswiththousands
 
2
more.SomerecommendationsledtotheestablishmentofthisAdvisoryCouncil.Yettherewassomethingmissingallalong—Oursystemofchecksandbalancesrequirescitizensparticipation.ThomasJefferson’sbronzeeyesarestilltrainedontheWhiteHouseandtheAgenciesthatcomprisetheExecutiveBranch,andFEMAisarguablythemostinter‐disciplinary.Socomplex,thatthosethatunderstanditbest,arearguablythemostdeeplyengaged.Whileitispossibleforthoseworking“insidethesystem”toprovideoversight–andthisNationalAdvisoryCouncilisawonderfulexample,thoseworkinginsidethesystemgenerallyhavemorelimitationsthanthoseworkingontheoutside.NearlyeveryotherFederalagencyhasanindependentoversightentity.EPAhasoverhalf‐a‐dozengroupsthatarenowhouseholdnames.AtthetimeofKatrina,FEMAhadnone.Asaresult,manyofthereports,chocfullofrecommendations,werewrittenbyorganizationswithlimitedbackgroundsindisastermanagement.Manyoftheissuesandproblemsdiscussedandsolutionssoughtwerecritical—butsteady,dedicatedpolicyoversightandexpertiseisneededtohavethesituationalawareness,perspective,andbackgroundtomakerecommendations,tracktheirimplementationstatus,andengageacommunityofstakeholdersinsideandoutsidethedisastermanagementsystemtoadvocateandorganizeforreform.ThatiswhyIamhereandwhyIstartedtheDisasterAccountabilityProject.Infewerthantwoyearsandwiththehelpofnearly300volunteers,theDisasterAccountabilityProjecthaspositioneditselfastheleadcitizenandpolicyoversightentityforFEMAandthenation'sdisastermanagementsystems.Ourworkisthreepronged:
Real-Time/ImmediateOversight:
TheDisasterAccountabilityProjectoperatesawebsiteandtoll‐freehotline(866‐9‐TIP‐DAP)fordisastersurvivors,volunteers,andworkerstoreportconcernsandpublicizeinrealtime,criticalgapsinreliefservicedelivery,prevention,and
 
3
recovery.Confirmedhotlinereportsarebroughttotheattentionofresponsibleagenciesandorganizationsandoccasionallypublicizedunderthepremisethatgapsinservicesaremorelikelytobeaddressedbyresponsibleagenciesandorganizations,andsufferingreduced,whenthepublicisawarethatproblemsexist.Existingtoll‐freenumbersmaintainedbyFEMAandRedCrossarenottypicallyusedtoreportproblems,somuchastheyareusedandoftenoverwhelmedbyindividualsseekingassistance.WearehappytoshareinformationaboutthecallswereceiveonourhotlinewithmembersoftheNationalAdvisoryCouncilThehotlinereceiveditsfirstmajortestduringHurricaneIkeandovernightbecamearesourceforHouston‐areaemergencymanagers,thedisabilityrightscommunity,FEMA’sDisabilityCoordinator,andlocalandnationalmedia.ThehotlinewaspublicizedbymediumsthatrangedfromamajorHoustonradiostation,localnewspapers,andevenAmericanRedCrossevacuationsheltersacrossthestate.Ofthenearly100callsfromTexasresidentsreceived,theyrangedfromaHouston211operatorreportingabreakdownintheCity’sresponsecapabilities,tosurvivorsreportingalackofinformationandavailabilityofreliefservices,shelters,pointsofdistribution,andopenhospitalinformation.
CitizenEngagement:
TheDisasterAccountabilityProject'sCitizenMonitorProgramengagescitizensacrossthenationtolearnaboutlocalandregionalpreparednessefforts,askinformedquestions,demandtransparencyandaccountabilityinlocaldisasterplanningandmanagementsystems,andrequesttheirlocalemergencyplans.Monitorshelpensuregapsincriticaldisasterreliefservicesarediscovered,publicized,andaddressedassoonastheyoccur.InMarch2009,DisasterAccountabilityProjectvolunteersvisitedtwenty‐twoofthemostvulnerableparishesinSouthernLouisianatorequestandreviewparishemergencyplansforpublicaccessibility,modernity,andcomprehensiveness.Theseeffortshavealreadyresultedinactualimprovementsinsomeparishes,andopenedthedoorforparishresidents,localandnationalmedia,andpoliticalleaderstoaskfollow‐upquestionsandengageparishleaderstoimproveplans.We

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->