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Right city, wrong stateFEMA accused of flying evacuees to wrong Charleston

Tuesday, September 6, 2005; Posted: 11:29 p.m. EDT (03:29 GMT)

Dr. Robert Ball, right, waits for evacuees to arrive Tuesday at a Charleston, South Carolina airport.

A South Carolina health official said his colleagues scrambled Tuesday when FEMA gave only a half-hour notice to prepare for the arrival of a plane carrying as many as 180 evacuees to Charleston.

But the plane, instead, landed in Charleston, West Virginia, 400 miles away.

It was not known whether arrangements have been made to care for the evacuees or transport them to the correct destination.

A call seeking comment from FEMA was not immediately returned.

"We called in all the available resources," said Dr. John Simkovich, director of public health for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

"They responded within 30 minutes, which is phenomenal, to meet the needs of the citizens coming in from Louisiana," he said.

Simkovich said that the agency had described some of the evacuees as needing "some minor treatment ... possibly some major treatment."

"Unfortunately, the plane did not come in," Simkovich said. "There was a mistake in the system, coming out through FEMA, that we did not receive the aircraft this afternoon. It went to Charleston, West Virginia."

A line of buses and ambulances idled behind him at Charleston International Airport as he described what happened.

"This is a 'no event' for today," Simkovich said.

· Moderator , Lifetime Gold Supporting Member, '07 R
20,176 Posts
I'm guessing its a break down in communications.

i.e.. I tell you something and you tell somebody else. Then it has to be told to three more people before it get to the right person. By the time the right person hears it. Its been changed.

· Registered
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FEMAFEMA grossly underestimated how much assistance the Katrina victims really needed! They have fallen short in most every type of assistance they are offering evacuees that came to Houston. I also think part of their problem is FEMA's press releases going out before FEMA knows for sure what they are able to offer/do....i.e.

FEMA takes one step up, and two steps back....Wednesday Katrina evacuees thought FEMA was going to give them $2,000 advances on their relief payments. Instead, they stood in a long line to fill out registration forms for FEMA's assistance....

Later Wednesday afternoon FEMA's officials released a statement saying "We still don't know when the monetary assistance will be handed out, we have had a larger than expected number of people show up, however all refugees are all encouraged to register..."
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