Ka­t­rina saviour blasts White House

The Queensland Times - - NEWS WORLD -

THE gen­eral who is widely con­sid­ered to have turned around the US gov­ern­ment’s flail­ing re­sponse to Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina has blasted the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s han­dling of the cri­sis con­fronting Puerto Rico.

Rus­sel Honore, who in 2005 was asked by Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush to tackle the af­ter­math of the storm that tore into New Or­leans and killed more than 1800 peo­ple, said more peo­ple and emer­gency equip­ment should have been sent to the is­land in ad­vance of Hur­ri­cane Maria.

With the is­land of 3.5 mil­lion peo­ple hav­ing had so much dam­age, the gov­ern­ment should also have made greater use of the mil­i­tary, he said.

“It’s kind of like Ka­t­rina: We got it. We got it. Oh, s**t, send in the cav­alry,” Mr Honore told Bloomberg News.

“This is a hit on White House de­ci­sion-mak­ing.”

With the is­land left with­out power and with short­ages of fuel, food and clean drink­ing water, Mr Honore said only the mil­i­tary had the abil­ity to move sup­plies quickly onto the is­land be­cause many ports re­mained closed.

The sit­u­a­tion re­quired “ex­pe­di­tionary lo­gis­tics” that in­volved spe­cialised ships, air­craft and other equip­ment.

“The model you want is what was done in Florida (be­fore Hur­ri­cane Irma) where ev­ery town had Na­tional Guard in it,” he said.

Mr Honore said he would send 50,000 troops to Puerto Rico, where he said the dev­as­ta­tion was worse than New Or­leans dealt with af­ter Ka­t­rina.

“In Ka­t­rina, I had 20,000 fed­eral troops. Not fed­eral work­ers, fed­eral troops,” he said. “I had 20 ships and over 240 he­li­copters. And Puerto Rico is big­ger than Ka­t­rina.”

His com­ments came as the Pen­tagon an­nounced Bri­gadier Gen­eral Jef­frey Buchanan would over­see the mil­i­tary re­sponse in Puerto Rico.

Mr Honore, who re­tired in 2008, said Mr Buchanan was the right man for the job, but the ap­point­ment was too late.

“It took us eight days to mo­bilise him to tell him to come do it,” he said.

The Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency said it had 600 work­ers in Puerto Rico and the US Vir­gin Is­lands.

PHOTO: GERALD HERBERT/AP

HUR­RI­CANE’S AF­TER­MATH: Puerto Ri­cans queue to buy petrol.

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