Report: FEMA still troubled in Gulf Region

Sept. 16, 2005 at 11:34 PM
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BATON ROUGE, La., Sept. 16 (UPI) -- The federal agency at the center of the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina is muffing the operation to aid storm victims, the New York Times reports.

Citing local officials, evacuees and federal relief officials, the newspaper said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is still not delivering aid to thousands of victims, nearly three weeks after the storm slammed the Gulf Coast.

The federal aid hot line President Bush mentioned during his televised address Thursday is overwhelmed with more calls than it can handle, and federal officials are often unable to give permission to local governments to take necessary steps in getting their towns running again.

The newspaper said most areas in the region are still without federal help centers, "one-stop shopping" facilities where people are supposed to be able to get help in getting back on their feet.

U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen, who now leads the federal recovery effort, acknowledged the problems Friday.

"It is not happening fast enough, effective enough and it is not impacting the people at the bottom as quickly as it should," said Allen. "I have heard frustrations."

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