Thursday, September 08, 2005

Did state authorities block Red Cross?

Fox News seemed to think so. The Red Cross themselves said so on their website. And yet, here's a piece from Saturday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that seems to level the finger at FEMA and the federal DHS (as well as locals).

As the National Guard delivered food to the New Orleans convention center yesterday, American Red Cross officials said that federal emergency management authorities would not allow them to do the same.


"The Homeland Security Department has requested and continues to request that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans," said Renita Hosler, spokeswoman for the Red Cross.

"Right now access is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities. We have been at the table every single day [asking for access]. We cannot get into New Orleans against their orders."

So here, I think is the question: Are the local people who are blocking the Red Cross following orders from FEMA and DHS or are they doing this on their own? Who was blocking the Red Cross? Who gave the order? State or local? That would be a good thing to find out.

Also, after watching the Fox broadcast, I noticed that there's no one from the governor's office to offer any type of explanation. Not even a mention of "we tried to contact Blanco's office but..." The comments offered by the National Guard fellow did not directly address the question of who was in charge and why the aid was blocked. An intriguing, but incomplete report.

UPDATE: CNN and other organizations confirm it was state Homeland Security that blocked the Red Cross. A lovely excuse, too. They didn't want to hamper rescue efforts. Great thinking. Because if they're dead from starvation and dehydration, you have fewer people to rescue.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:33 PM

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