Aid still not getting to hurricane survivors, but there is plenty of frustation

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


According to the Mirror, hundreds of tons of food shipped from Great Britain for Hurricane Katrina survivors have been blocked from distribution. The NATO ration packs, which have been declared unfit for human consumption, are in a warehouse in Little Rock, Arkansas, according to the newspaper. The packs, which cost millions of dollars, are the same ones British soldiers eat in Iraq, and they have been approved by NATO for consumption by members of the American military.

Food from Spain and Italy is also being held by the FDA, which is supposedly trying to work out a plan to distribute more of the donated food.

It is unknown what, if any, FEMA’s role is in the British rations situation. Ice, however, is another matter. On August 29, Cool Express, a Wisconsin company, was asked by FEMA to haul ice for hurricane relief. Seventy-five trucks were loaded and sent to the Gulf Coast, but their drivers were then sent to places like Idaho and Pennsylvania to await instructions. Late last week, the trucks were still scattered across the country, while FEMA continued to order ice.

On September 9, FEMA also ordered 970 wire crates from PetsMart to help rescue starving animals. Over the next four days, the agency changed the order, cancelled it, reinstated it, put it on hold, and then demanded the shipment. When PetsMart tried to deliver the cages to a New Orleans naval base, it was turned away. Eventually, the driver was admitted, but he drove 152 miles around the base, all day long, trying to find someone who would accept the order.

To this day, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco is wondering what happened to the 500 buses promised by FEMA right after the storm hit New Orleans.

FEMA officials failed to show up last week for a meeting with the citizens of Slidell, Louisiana. The next day, they also failed to show up for a meeting with the citizens of Mandeville. In that case, however, they sent a contractor from Texas. Mandeville citizens stood in line for hours, waiting to fill out applications. Later, they were told that the applications were invalid and that they should go home and apply to FEMA by phone or online.

This morning, a FEMA representative said that the $2,000 grant promised to all hurricane victims may not actually be a grant, but could turn out to be a loan. Hundreds of applicants have already had their requests for the $2,000 turned down because they had returned to their houses and therefore “were not displaced.”

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate