Tornadoes Put FEMA on Spot

Agency that botched Katrina response is under close scrutiny
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2008 5:32 PM CST
Peggy Kirby wipes away tears while talking about her animals that are lost or killed, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008 in Atkins, Ark., after a tornado hit her property. Peggy and her husband, James, who lost...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – As the full extent of the damage from this week's deadly tornadoes comes clear, survivors and lawmakers are united in one sentiment: FEMA better come through this time. The agency that botched the Katrina recovery is under close scrutiny, the New York Times reports. “FEMA must not use bureaucratic excuses to avoid helping Arkansans,” said Sen. Mark Pryor. The death toll has risen to 57.

Federal workers are on the case, but the task is difficult because, unlike with Katrina or the California wildfires, the devastation is spread across five states. No matter. “I have talked to FEMA Director David Paulison and made it clear that I will not tolerate a slow reaction time,” said Pryor. President Bush has promised a quick response and is expected to visit the area tomorrow.