DHS, FEMA and Dept. of State: Failure of Hurricane Relief Efforts: State 8-30-07 TF41
Washington, DC – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Department…
Washington, DC – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Department of State, asking for records and communications regarding the federal government’s preparedness and response to hurricane Katrina .
“For government leaders who have claimed to be focused on planning for and responding to emergency situations, the stories coming out of the disaster zones are heart-wrenching and appalling,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today. “The American people should know what led our government to bungle both the preparation and the response to Katrina.”
CREW has requested information regarding what the agencies knew and when they knew it, including:
what portion of the $3.1 billion appropriated to DHS for emergency preparedness and response was spent to prepare for a potential hurricane on the Gulf Coast of the United States and for potential flooding in New Orleans;
what communications DHS and FEMA had with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the problems with and weakness of the levees surrounding New Orleans, the possibility of the levees being breached and the consequences of such breaches and whether the Corps had recommended any repairs or other construction to strengthen the levees;
what communications DHS and FEMA had with local officials regarding the need for transportation to evacuate citizens of New Orleans, both before and after the hurricane; and what communications DHS and FEMA received from the affected areas regarding the need for food and water.
With the plethora of offers to assist in relief efforts made by corporations and foreign governments, CREW has asked the Department of State for communications and records regarding the offers of foreign governments and the U.S. government’s response to those offers, and we have asked DHS and FEMA to provide similar information regarding the offers made by corporations.
CREW also seeks to discover what actions have been taken to prevent photographers from taking pictures of the corpses of hurricane victims.
“Given the nature of this tragedy, the significant public interest in understanding the government response, and the need to be better prepared to cope with such disasters in the future, we expect the agencies will comply with our requests as quickly as possible,” Sloan said.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit, progressive legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions.
For more information, or to view the FOIA requests, please visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact Naomi Seligman at email@example.com.; Number of Pages: 6; FOIA Request: DHS, FEMA and Dept. of State: Failure of Hurricane Relief Efforts; Holder of Document: CREW; Producing Agency: Department of State (DOS); Date Received: Aug 30, 2007;