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FEMA Still Blocking Firefighters and Police From Entering New Orleans

LA Times/Scott Gold, Julie Cart and Stephen Braun | September 8 2005

Comment: Another example of FEMA sabotage to add to the catalogue of criminal actions that this website has been tracking.

Related: FEMA Deliberately Sabotaging Hurricane Relief Efforts

Related: Government Sabotage Of Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts

Michael D. Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency — who is under fire for the agency's slow response to the flooding — said Wednesday that scores of police and volunteer firefighters from around the nation, as well as trucks loaded with donated water, were even now being prevented from entering New Orleans while troops conduct house-to-house searches.

"They can't just yet," Brown said during a briefing in Baton Rouge. "There is going to come this natural time when we will release this floodgate of cops and firefighters who want to help. It's the same for anyone who wants to volunteer — we have over 50,000 offers of donations from the private sector. It has to be coordinated in such a way that it helps."

Numerous state and local officials in Louisiana have accused FEMA of making the situation worse with red tape and a hesitant response immediately after Katrina slammed into the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

"I'm asking Congress, please don't send any more money to FEMA," said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), a staunch critic of the agency. "Send it directly to the local officials." But White House officials said $50 billion of the new aid package, supplementing $10.5 billion approved last week, would be routed to FEMA.

Ripples from the flooding, which left as many as 1 million people homeless and untold numbers dead, continued to shake the nation's economy. Louisiana emergency officials said Wednesday that the disaster could cost the state at least $100 billion. And the Congressional Budget Office predicted 400,000 jobs would be lost through the end of the year, with privately insured losses topping $30 billion.

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