First responders sent to the storm-ravaged Northeast in the wake of superstorm Sandy were told to simply stand by and do nothing during the critical first four days after the storm.
“They told us to hurry, hurry, hurry,” one worker from FEMA’s Washington headquarters told Fox News reporter Perry Chiaramonte. “We rushed to Fort Dix, only to find out that our liaison didn’t even know we were coming.”
“The regional coordinator even said to us, ‘I don’t know why you were rushed here because we don’t need you,’” according to the frustrated worker.
According to a Friday Fox News report:
After arriving in New Jersey, the worker and others waited for three full days and parts of another, even as reports dominated the television of the devastation and suffering wrought by the storm, which struck land on Oct. 29. When they asked for assignments, they couldn’t believe the response, according to the worker.
The volunteers were then sent on what can only be described as a sightseeing mission.
“They told us to go to the Walmart nearby or to check out the area but told us to stay out of the areas affected by the storm,” the worker said. “If our boss back at headquarters had not been alerted and didn’t make a push to get us assignments, the people running the show on the ground level would have just kept us sitting in the barracks.”
Those in charge of the effort agreed that things could have been run better.
“I’m not going to say we couldn’t have done better,” Michael Byrne, a FEMA federal coordinating officer, told FoxNews.com. “I can understand the emotional commitment. They want to jump right in and start with the effort. I feel the same way.”
The situation begs for a distinction between Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged New Orleans during the George W. Bush administration.
“When there’s disaster, every second counts,” the worker said. “That clock starts ticking once the storm makes landfall.
“I worked in Katrina and Katrina was run better than Sandy.”
Our tax dollars at work.
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