Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
September 1, 2005  
Contact:
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Asks FEMA To Speed Up California Assistance To Areas Devastated By Hurricane Katrina  

San Francisco, CA – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today sent the following letter to Under Secretary Michael Brown, urging FEMA to speed up California assistance to areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina:

September 1, 2005

The Honorable Michael D. Brown
Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response
FEMA
500 C Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20472

Dear Under Secretary Brown,

At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), California is currently sending Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams from the eight USAR Task Forces (Alameda County, Menlo Park, Sacramento, Riverside, Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego) to the Gulf States to provide emergency assistance to those impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

My staff spoke with the California Fire Chiefs Association and learned that FEMA is sending the latest round of USAR teams by bus and truck rather than by air, which is how earlier teams were sent. There is concern that this will cause a critical time delay. I urge FEMA to send USAR teams by the swiftest possible methods.

My staff also spoke with FEMA staff and was told that sending the current personnel and equipment from each of the eight USAR Task Forces by truck and bus is standard operating procedure. However, I am told that the Swift Water Rescue Teams from each of the eight USAR Task Forces were sent to the Gulf States on C5 military planes out of Travis Air Force Base and March Air Reserve Base on Tuesday, August 29th.

Standard operating procedure is not what we should be following during this time of crisis. Hurricane Katrina may prove to be the most deadly and costly of all natural disasters in America.

Please respond to me immediately with my request for a quicker response to devastated areas.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator