Why So Passive?

The Diva is feeling discouraged this week from the lack of interest and comments from readers. In the past week or so, she posted two really serious articles:

(1) June 8 – FEMA Wants More Responsibility for Recovery to Go to State and Local      Government, which discusses a policy shift by FEMA, which would mean the agency plans to pull out much sooner from the recovery process and expect state and local agencies to manage the long-term recovery.

(2) June 13 – Staffing Problems at FEMA, which discusses the serious deficiencies in the Reservist program as well as staff depletion issues. In recent disasters the lack of staff, and lack of well-trained staff has been a serious limitation to the response and recovery. One has to wonder what the agency plans to do to increase its effectiveness?

This blog reaches several hundred people per day, all of whom seemingly have an interest in disaster recovery. Yet the response to the major issues raised by the two posting noted is limited and passive.

Update on June 16 it took a while but finally several people have provided comments. Thanks!

[Note: recent changes to the blog format  means that those of you who subscribe to the service noting a new posting get that notification from WordPress and not RecoveryDiva, as was true in the past. Sorry, but that change came with the upgrade. ]

9 thoughts on “Why So Passive?

  1. Hi Claire,

    Sorry if I seem passive. I’m definitely not. I read the items you post, and generally save them to my computer for future reference, often using them in my work. Not passive at all, just contemplative. (And busy with my work with Japan and Taiwan.) Regarding any feelings of defeat that people may have, the struggle to improve disaster programs will always be there (especially now), and it’s up to us to carry it on. It’s a bit like the myth of Sisyphus, so we need to be Sisyphean about it, but let’s not give up like a bunch of Sissies! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Most times if I do comment it’s because I disagree with something or can offer some firsthand input that I think will be an added value. Otherwise I just read your stuff, save it, and put it to good use when the opportunity arises. Hope that clarifies, and please keep up your truly great work!

    • Thanks Leo. Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads the stuff I post, especially when I go to special effort to flag something needing attention.
      My hope is that those readers in a position to act on policy, legal, and other matters will be stimulated to do something about the many weak spots in the EM system.

  2. I will be very honest. I feel defeated before commenting. So what? Who knows or cares what any of us think or say? As we have discussed on numerous occasions, there seems to be an institutionalized mindset about everything in the EM / Disaster business at all levels. FEMA is small compared to other federal agencies but the federal government, a monster, gets bigger and bigger and more and more is required to feed it. Doesn’t make things better for the populace/taxpayers but it helps make the DC area very prosperous.

    I have worked at all levels in the business and have seen things I wish I had not seen. People at all levels, in my opinion, are in ruts and / or have learned to work the system. Programs are dragged out, lessons are not learned, some contracts and programs will never be finished (why? if finished – no more money), they will be around whether good, bad or indifferent because we aren’t honest – we don’t/won’t get rid of them. We all talk about more money for this and that but there is so much waste. Much of it has been pointed out repeatedly – but again – so what? The discussion ends there and the waste and fraud go on as we ask for more money and we choke on red tape. I have pet peeves about some of the disaster assistance programs but won’t go into it here.

    Frankly, I believe we should stop dead in our tracks – strip programs down and look at them like standing naked in a full length mirror – objectively look at the programmatic bulges, bloating, cellulite, varicose veins and lack of muscle tone. The disaster program is not healthy. I don’t have all the answers but have been around long enough to know real change is needed – however – I don’t believe it will happen as long as the top down structure exists and money is tied to one-size-fits-all programs dictated from the Beltway. Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing things the same old way and expecting different results.” He was right!

    • With 40 years of experience in the EM field, it is discouraging to see lessons learned and forgotten, lessons not learned, and lack of action on the part of supposed leaders in the field. But, let’s hope the new generation can do better.

    • “Frankly, I believe we should stop dead in our tracks – strip programs down and look at them like standing naked in a full length mirror – objectively look at the programmatic bulges, bloating, cellulite, varicose veins and lack of muscle tone. The disaster program is not healthy. I don’t have all the answers but have been around long enough to know real change is needed – however – I don’t believe it will happen as long as the top down structure exists and money is tied to one-size-fits-all programs dictated from the Beltway. Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing things the same old way and expecting different results.” He was right!”

      Speaking as a disaster response team member, our response teams are already stripped down; seasoned but tired. Within our group, after Katrina, there were approximately 9000 responders. Now, we are around 3000. This is through attrition and a lack of replacements.

      Add to it the 2017 hurricane season, and you have an exhausted team of responders across the nation.

      It is only now that we are fixing the problem through opening the hiring process. Finally, we have an opportunity for the “next generation” to actually enter the process. It will take time, but hopefully we can correct this ASAP.

  3. I only now realized that the wordpress messages were the latest version of your blog. A friend and I were just discussing at lunch how shell-shocked we feel with each day’s drama. Recoery seems like a perpetual state of mind. But, thanks for the articles — planning to read the ELI paper on my commute home.

    • Correct: recent changes to the blog resulted in messages from WordPress rather than RecoveryDiva, which seemed like spam to many. I am stuck with that.

      Thanks for writing. Hope to get your reaction.

    • ah yes, me too, I often click straight through to the article, without stopping by the site. But, being Australian, I’m not sure if i can comment on changes at FEMA!

      • The fundamental issue is how long and how deep should federal/national involvement be in the response and recovery phases? Be glad to hear how other countries deal with disasters.

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