The statement made by Major General Bennett Landreneau, that FEMA makes mistakes in every disaster, comes as a shock to the common observer, those who were not directly traumatized by catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina. How much more to the individuals who have lost loved ones to such disasters, of which the number of casualties could’ve been greatly lessened if only the authorities were more prepared to face such events?
In my opinion based on the documentary that I’ve seen, FEMA’s failures during Hurricane Katrina were due to the confusion among the concerned authorities, including FEMA itself, the Mayor’s office, the Governor’s office, and the administration. The lack of preparedness during such situations was also evident, and perhaps if only presidential appointees were selected through competitiveness and not based on political benefaction, and Project Impact were not unduly halted, FEMA could have saved countless lives.
Perhaps the original set-up of FEMA, with leaders such as James Witt Lee at the helm, would prove more than sufficient in making FEMA a truly-responsive and dynamic crisis-response organization. If only FEMA operated then with direct communications, minus the politicking, to the local government heads, and was able to act independently from the higher-ups who are not geographically present in the crisis area, then response would be immediate and instantaneous.
It was aptly said on the closing part of the documentary, that the lesson of Katina was the high cost of being unprepared. In my opinion, some agencies that the citizens entrust their very lives with, such as FEMA, must be rid of the politics common to other departments. It must be made certain that a truly competent person should lead that agency and that communications and logistic support should be made ready any time a situation calls for the quick implementation of emergency measures.