September 7, 2005
In Arkansas, state officials were first told to expect 300 evacuees. Nobody came. Then the state was told to prepare 4,000 meals for a fleet of buses. No buses arrived. Suddenly, in the wee hours of Sunday, more than 9,000 refugees showed up at a National Guard post. “It rained people on us,” said Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican.
In West Virginia, Gov. Joe Manchin dispatched several planes to the South to ferry refugees to his state. Most of the aircraft sat empty until he ordered them back home in frustration. “The waste that goes on because of a lack of coordination ... ,” he said. Too angry to finish that sentence, Manchin spit out a new one: “To bring five planes back empty is a crying shame.”
In New Mexico, Gov. Bill Richardson said he authorized National Guard troops to leave for New Orleans early last week, but paperwork delayed their departure for days.
“A lot of states wanted to help, but there was no place to turn,” said Democratic Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia.
… “However it was supposed to work, it didn’t,” Manchin said from West Virginia. “I don’t know if it’s a territorial thing, which we all deal with as governors; everybody hunkers down and protects their turf, and somebody has to cut through that for the people’s sake.”
“Clearly, nobody did that on Katrina,” he said. “Nobody led.”
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