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Government failed citizens

Government failed citizens

With FEMA being the new four-letter F-word, we can safely call the response to Katrina's devastation a colossal clusterFEMA, and it's the city and people of New Orleans that have suffered greatly for it.

Perhaps nothing in this shocking tragedy has been more disturbing than the government's insistence on calling this "an act of nature." The abysmal preparation for a storm we knew was coming; the inexcusable response to the needs of New Orleans' citizens; a levee in a sad state – all of these are acts of man, and it's people who have failed each other on a massive level.

Yes, the city and state governments shoulder some of the blame in this. We have all become starkly aware of the fact that the levees were in desperate need of repair. But how was city government supposed to be able to respond to the needs of its people when they were equally affected? New Orleans was not in a position to help itself; the federal government should have been ready for such an occasion.

But they weren't -not only that, but they contributed to this catastrophe on a grand scale. President Bush diverted $24 million from the New Orleans' levee repair fund to feed his war in Iraq. In 2001, FEMA became part of Homeland Security, and director Michael Brown was appointed despite zero experience in emergency management; he just happened to be a friend of Bush's. He's resigned, and many others should too.

New Orleans' levees were rated up to a Category 3 hurricane. Katrina was a Category 4 when it hit land – How could you not see it coming? This chaos resulted from disorganization, not nature.

It's up to us to fill the gap our government has left. Volunteer, donate supplies, be as kind and welcoming as you can to those displaced by this disaster and prepare for one yourself because the government might not help you.