Of course they do. FEMA's leader admitted that he didn't know about refugees at the New Orleans convention center until late Wednesday -- just one more example of the Bush Administration pulling its "who-coulda-known" routine:
•Who coulda known that terrorists would use planes to fly into buildings? Who coulda known that bin Laden was determined to attack inside the United States?
•Who coulda known the war in Iraq would drag on? Who coulda known there wouldn't be WMDs?
•Who coulda known the levees in New Orleans would be broken? Who coulda known the damage would be so bad?
Well, the government, for starters. The National Weather Service warned on Sunday that conditions would be "uninhabitable for weeks ... power shortages will last for weeks ... water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards."
Bush administration officials are even playing with the timeline of the storm. Several Bush backers insist that the flooding didn't hit New Orleans until Tuesday, a day after the hurricane. Again, that's just bullshit. At 8:36 a.m. Monday, the levee along the industrial canal at Tennessee Street was breached, and city officials warned that "three to eight feet of water" would gush into the 9th Ward.
But the biggest insult continues to be FEMA's steadfast refusal to even estimate a death toll from modern America's deadliest disaster. Too difficult a task, FEMA insists.
FEMA is having no trouble coming up with facts and figures to show the agency is working its ass off:
* 15,000 evacuations have been made from the New Orleans Superdome to the Astrodome in Houston and are continuing today to San Antonio for housing at Kelly Air Force Base. Evacuations will continue from Louisiana to Reunion Arena in Dallas, and Lackland AFB, Tex.
* 2,000 patients have been evacuated from the New Orleans airport. Seven National Disaster Medical Service Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) and 3 strike teams are supporting New Orleans medical facilities and hospitals not fully operational and setting up MASH-style tents. Five DMATs and 5 strike teams are working in medical facilities and hospitals in Gulfport, Biloxi and other areas of Mississippi.
* Commodities delivered to date include:
- 1.9 million MREs
- 6.7 million liters of water
- 1.7 million pounds of ice
- More than 600 buses to transport evacuees
* As of yesterday, there were 204 shelters with a population of 53,004. This number fluctuates daily.
* More than 170,000 meals a day are being served throughout the affected areas.
* 14,000 National Guard are on the ground in three states and an additional 1,400 will arrive today and 1,400 on Saturday to assist with security of victims and responders. A total of 27,000 members of the National Guard will be deployed to the affected areas.
* 200 Border Patrol agents, 200 additional law enforcement officers from other Louisiana jurisdictions and 2,000 officers from neighboring states are assisting in restoring order in the streets of New Orleans.
* Nearly 500 U.S. Corps of Engineers civilians and soldiers are working on the New Orleans levee breach and coordinating the transport of ice and water.
* A Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is opening today in Bayou La Batre, Ala., and another tomorrow in Chatom, Ala.
* FEMA is setting up a Joint Housing Solutions Center to bring together public, private and voluntary agency stakeholders to develop innovative funding and streamlined operational partnerships to address the short and long-term housing needs of disaster victims.
* More than 7,000 people have been rescued – Urban Search and Rescue task forces have made more than 2,000 rescues and U.S. Coast Guard ships, boats and aircraft have been used to rescue approximately 5,000 people.
A blatant, outrageous cover-up by FEMA. But they're not alone in keeping the public uninformed. State and local officials in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are also working overtime to make sure no one spills the secret. Not yet. Not until the public is "ready" for the news, whatever the hell that means.