Senator Boxer on Earthquake Preparedness

Got this email yesterday:

Dear Friend:

Californians know that a devastating earthquake could occur anywhere in the state at any time. And we also know that a major earthquake would cause hundreds or thousands of deaths, widespread homelessness, and massive property damage.

Although Californians are aware of these important facts, somehow the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) still do not seem to have gotten the message. Last September, I requested a copy of the FEMA disaster recovery plan for California. After several months, I was disappointed to receive a general reply outlining the things that might happen following a generic disaster.

Recently, following a new report from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography on the geologic stress that is present especially along the southern portions of the San Andreas Fault — and the likelihood that a major earthquake is, in fact, overdue — I again asked for a detailed plan for actions that would follow an earthquake. In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, I have again requested a plan specific to California on the steps that would be taken in the immediate aftermath of an earthquake to respond to widespread destruction.

Sadly, it appears that little has changed at FEMA in the year following Hurricane Katrina. The agency appears to be woefully unprepared for an earthquake of major magnitude and the devastation that would follow in California. You can count on me to continue to demand a substantive plan that is designed to keep Californians safe in the days following an earthquake.


Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

No real news there, though of course I do tend to hope, however futilely, that people – and FEMA – will get heads out of asses.

Previous Metroblogging posts on the subject:

2 thoughts on “Senator Boxer on Earthquake Preparedness”

  1. Can I just say a few words about FEMA? They take a lot of abuse and some of it is completely unjustified.

    FEMA is not, and never has been, a “first responder”. They do not have stockplies of emergency food, water and medicine. They do not have massive helicopters, school busses or mobile hospitals. They do not have 1000’s of employees waiting around in dormotories to be rushed to a scene.

    All they have is a checkbook. A BIG FAT CHECKBOOK. Their job is to arive at the scene of a disaster and to facilitate FINANCIAL aid to local and state organizations. Futhermore, FEMA is encumbered by thousands of regulations placed upon them by local, state and federal laws that affect their ability to LEGALLY issue these federal funds.

    Do they do everything perfect? Far from it. They are an arm of the Federal Government so of course everything they do is bloated and ineffiecent. But to single them out for Katrina or Rita or for their potential failures in a catastrophic earthquake is unfair, untrue and very misleading. They are an easy target because they are NOT ALLOWED to defend themselves or to embarrass local, state or federal goverment agencies.

    Let me repeat that: They are NOT ALLOWED to defend themselves or to embarrass local, state or federal agencies.

    So if you want to blame someone, blame our President, blame the Governors and blame the National Guard.

    Ms Barbara Boxer should know better than anyone that the State of California should be prepared to help California residents. But she would rather blame Washington instead of calling Sacremento and getting something done.

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