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Navy ship off Gulf Coast underused by FEMA

September 5, 2005

Navy ship off Gulf Coast underused by FEMA:

Xeni Jardin: Snip from Chicago Trib article:

While federal and state emergency planners scramble to get more military relief to Gulf Coast communities stricken by Hurricane Katrina, a massive naval goodwill station has been cruising offshore, underused and waiting for a larger role in the effort.

The USS Bataan, a 844-foot ship designed to dispatch Marines in amphibious assaults, has helicopters, doctors, hospital beds, food and water. It also can make its own water, up to 100,000 gallons a day. And it just happened to be in the Gulf of Mexico when Katrina came roaring ashore.The Bataan rode out the storm and then followed it toward shore, awaiting relief orders. Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents.

But now the Bataan’s hospital facilities, including six operating rooms and beds for 600 patients, are empty. A good share of its 1,200 sailors could also go ashore to help with the relief effort, but they haven’t been asked. The Bataan has been in the stricken region the longest of any military unit, but federal authorities have yet to fully utilize the ship. (…) The role in the relief effort of the sizable medical staff on board the Bataan was not up to the Navy, but to FEMA officials directing the overall effort.

Link, requires reg, try bugmenot (Thanks, David)

Good Lord, FEMA hasn’t a friggin’ clue.

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