The role of the government in disaster relief is the topic of much discussion as Hurricane Irene, now Tropical Storm Irene, pummels New England.
Inevitable comparisons are being drawn to Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans and surrounding areas in 2005. The response from government during and after that catastrophe was widely seen as inadequate, ineffective and incompetent. President George W. Bush, especially, was widely criticized at the time for not getting more personally involved in leading the response effort.
“If you look at the polling from 2005, President Bush's approval rating dropped 4 or 5 points after Katrina, and he never recovered those 4 or 5 points,” noted Ron Brownstein of the National Journal on ABC's “This Week.” more >>
Republican presidential candidate and Texas congressman Ron Paul thinks the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has done more harm than good. Paul made his opinion clear in an interview on Fox News Sunday as FEMA works to aid the disaster relief efforts from Hurricane Irene, now downgraded to a tropical storm.
Paul is libertarian. As such, he sees a smaller role for government, especially the federal government, in directing emergency response efforts.
On Friday, Paul criticized FEMA in an interview, saying, “FEMA is not a good friend of most people in Texas, because all they do is come in and tell you what to do and can't do, you can't get in your houses, and they hinder the local people and they hinder volunteers from going in, so there's no magic about FEMA.” more >>
New York City is bracing for Hurricane Irene’s wrath late Saturday for fear there may be widespread blackouts, gale-force winds, and a rising storm surge. The unusually slow-moving storm has caused a reported eight deaths and has already left nearly 1 million people without power along the Eastern coastline in Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware.
At least 600,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina alone, according to state and utility reports.
“Make sure you know where your flashlights are," Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned New Yorkers at a storm briefing on Saturday. more >>
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a video illustrating the time lapse of Irene, from a tropical storm to a hurricane.
The imagery shows Irene's path from Puerto Rico and the Bahamas when it was a category 3 storm to North Carolina, where the storm made landfall Saturday morning as a category 1. It is now heading for the major metropolitan areas of the Northeast U.S.
NOAA GOES-East satellite documented Irene's movements from Aug. 19 to Aug. 27. more >>
Hurricane Irene continues to move up the East Coast with sustained winds of 85 mph. The storm has already claimed the lives of four people since making landfall in the U.S. Saturday morning.
Nearly 1 million people are also without electricity in North Carolina and Virginia, as reported by CNN.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Irene was 95 miles south of Norfolk, Va., as of 2 p.m. EST. It was moving across eastern North Carolina. Though Irene hit the East Coast as a category one storm, FEMA and U.S. officials have warned that the risks are still great and that it can still be devastating. more >>
Four deaths caused by Hurricane Irene’s relentless battering along the shores of North Carolina are the first casualties being reported today; one of the tragic deaths is reportedly a young child.
Paramedics in North Carolina say a man was killed outside his home by a tree limb blown down by hurricane-force winds. A second man died after suffering a heart attack while putting plywood over the windows of his Onslow County, N.C., home, according to the News & Observer.
A falling tree limb killed a third man in Nash County, N.C. An 11-year-old boy died in Newport News, Va., after a tree fell on an apartment complex, reports CBS affiliate WTKR. more >>