Thursday, October 06, 2005

An Insider's Story

So much has been made of the "disgraceful lack of action" on FEMA's part, but here is someone who adamently disagrees with that assessment. Her name is Jodi Witte. She is a member of the Veterinary Medical Assistant Team (VMAT) and was sent in to help with the animals lost or abandoned or hurt because of the hurricane. She was put "on alert" two days before hurricane Katrina hit. Her account gives a whole new view of what happened in the days immediately before and immediately following Hurricane Katrina's hit on the Gulf Coast.

"Dear Friends and Family,

I just got home from 15 days in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. I am tired, and I am emotional. But mostly I am angry. I am angry at the news--the television stations, the newspapers--for what I view is a grossly misrepresented placement of blame. For those of you who know me, you know I work for FEMA as an "intermittent employee" of a disaster response team. My team, called VMAT or Veterinary Medical Assistance Team, is part of the response branch of FEMA known as the National Disaster Medical System.

Let me tell you how "awful" FEMA's response was from someone who was there on the front lines working for FEMA.

President Bush declared a state of emergency prior to Katrina's landfall due to its strength and location. This is not normally done before a hurricane makes landfall. Damn good work by George W., in my honest opinion. This opened the door for our federal teams to pre-deploy assets in nearby locations so that we were ready when Katrina did hit. I was contacted by FEMA before the hurricane hit, asking for my availability and to place me on alert. Many teams were moved into the region including 2 VMAT teams. My team was mobilized immediately after landfall and I arrived in the area before New Orleans had completely filled with water, before we even realized how bad it was truly going to be. FEMA responded immediately and with unprecedented numbers of responders. There were DMAT teams inside the Super Dome before the levee broke. Never before had so many FEMA teams and personnel been sent into a disaster..."

Please read the rest of her account here.

And in case you have doubts as to her existance, which is understandable, you can see more about her here. With the copious numbers of misleading articles out there, not to mention the "urban legends" that arise after a disaster, it is always best to check your sources! Another story about the heroic efforts of FEMA's veterinary team can be found here

h/t: JamulBlog

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