Maui’s Emergency Management Chief, Herman Andaya, is stepping down from his position, citing poor health. His demise comes one day after saying he didn’t regret not sounding the warning sirens — a tone-deaf statement that enraged most of the island’s population.
Andaya is technically correct when she says that emergency sirens are used to warn people of tsunamis. They would have sent them running to higher ground, as they had been trained to do until they saw a fire coming at 60 MPH toward them. State officials claim that sounding the emergency sirens could have saved more lives than it cost. This is an unproven statement.
Andaya wasn’t the problem, despite his lack of experience in emergency management. He was selected over 40 other qualified candidates.
From the “Ray Charles could have seen that…” Department
Maui Emergency Management Agency Administrator Herman Andaya had no background in disaster response before taking the position. The site reported in 2017 that he was hired over 40 other qualified applicants.* pic.twitter.com/n7tySraVGp
— Ronnie Collins (@CshotdocCollins) August 17, 2023
The fire destroyed every major system that was needed to avoid a catastrophe. The entire system — power, water, communication — was destroyed. There were apparently no backup systems.
The death toll could rise much higher than the 110 that is currently recorded. After the temporary restoration of cellphone reception, the number of missing people decreased from 2,000 to around 1,300.
Hawaii Governor Josh Green said, “There won’t be any survivors left in the area.” Josh Green spoke to CBS News Monday. “Our hearts may break beyond repair if it means more deaths.” We don’t think so, but we are prepared to hear many sad stories.
A tragic new story has emerged due to the almost invisible efforts of state and federal governments in providing relief.
“We’ve heard that there are many provisions, such as through FEMA and Red Cross, but everyone is on a completely different page,” said Dominick Gamino, a Maui resident who is a member of a coalition organizing aid distribution and cleanup. “In the eyes of the public, emergency services and organizations which should have been coordinated and organized have fallen through.”
The Biden administration says, “Not so fast.” Here’s a lot of help. The residents may not know where to look, but they swear it is here.
However, government officials say that the overall response was fast and robust. FEMA, which is responsible for leading federal response to natural disasters and coordinating the rapid response staff, has said that its rapid-response team has been on Maui since the weekend. This week the response has accelerated. The agency has deployed 200 urban search and retrieval teams, 400 employees, and hundreds of troops in order to distribute emergency cash assistance, establish shelters, and provide temporary housing at hotels and motels. Officials said that FEMA’s Oahu warehouse has provided millions of meals, liters of water, blankets, and cots as well as emergency generators. Officials said that as of Thursday, the agency distributed emergency cash worth $3.8 million to 1,600 residents.
This is a copy of the press release from the 30th August 2005 response to Hurricane Katrina. This is from my Katrina Response Timeline.
This is the public response of the federal government to the disaster as it was known on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the storm passed. Here are a few highlights: Revised September 8
FEMA has deployed 23 Disaster Medical Assistance teams from across the U.S. in Alabama, Tennessee Texas, and Louisiana. They are now moving these teams into impacted areas.
Seven Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces and two Incident Support Teams, which include teams from Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, have been deployed and positioned in Shreveport, La., and Jackson, Miss. Three additional Urban Search and Rescue Teams are currently in the deployment process.
FEMA moves supplies and equipment to the worst-hit areas as soon as possible. This includes water, ice and meals, medical supplies, generators, and tents.
U.S. Department of Transportation dispatched 390 trucks to begin delivering millions of meals that are ready to eat. They also began delivering tarps and millions of pounds of ice. Mobile homes, generators, disaster supplies containers, forklifts, and mobile homes were all delivered to the flood-damaged areas. DOT helicopters and a flight are helping to deliver essential supplies.
Around 7,500 National Guard troops are on active duty in the four states most affected. They provide support to civil authorities, as well as generators, medical care, and shelter. The National Guard augments civilian law enforcement capability, not replaces it.
In 2005, as in 2023, all of those supplies did not reach the majority of people. It was a public relations campaign designed to hide the incompetence of the federal response.
The Washington Post has tried to “left-splain” Biden’s late response.
This disconnect highlights the enormous challenges federal, state, and municipal agencies face to help everyone in need following an abrupt disaster on an island 2,900 miles off the California coast.
These demands come as FEMA is already stretched thin due to staff shortages, exacerbated by costly and overlapping natural disasters caused by climate change. Its disaster relief fund will also be nearing a deficit in September.
Alice Hill, a senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations and former director of climate risk planning at the Obama White House, said that “FEMA is under a lot of pressure right now.” “The agency has been asked to perform superhuman tasks, but does not have the resources for that.”
Oh, really? In 2005, Katrina’s year, there was a record number of named storms. Of these, 14 were hurricanes. This is more than the 1969 record, which had 12 hurricanes. Seven of them were major hurricanes. Three Category 5 storms hit the United States in 2005.
Why does the media give Biden a free pass in 2023 when FEMA was overwhelmed by disasters in 2005, but criticized George Bush at that time?
Joe Biden’s continued presence on the beach of Delaware up until Thursday is a testament to his inability in dealing with a prolonged crisis. He isn’t up to the task. Maui’s people are paying the price.