FEMA Still Focused On DEI Training While Maui Mourns

FEMA Still Focused On DEI Training While Maui Mourns

FEMA Still Focused On DEI Training While Maui Mourns

Never have Ronald Reagan’s words rung more true than when it comes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”

On Maui, where the worst loss of life due to a wildfire in a century is going to be an open wound for generations, it is looking more and more that the absolute incompetence of officials created the perfect storm of failures and death. The AP reported that those who were willing to ignore the authorities on the ground increased or enabled their own survival when it came to escaping from Lahaina.

As flames tore through a West Maui neighborhood, car after car of fleeing residents headed for the only paved road out of town in a desperate race for safety.”

And car after car was turned back toward the rapidly spreading wildfire by a barricade blocking access to Highway 30.”

One family swerved around the barricade and was safe in a nearby town 48 minutes later, another drove their four-wheel-drive car down a dirt road to escape. One man took a dirt road uphill, climbing above the fire and watching as Lahaina burned. He later picked his way through the flames, smoke and rubble to pull survivors to safety.”

But dozens of others found themselves caught in a hellscape, their cars jammed together on a narrow road, surrounded by flames on three sides and the rocky ocean waves on the fourth. Some died in their cars, while others tried to run for safety.”

The AP’s story is full of close calls and personal testimonies of those who were willing to ignore barricades and find alternative ways out of Lahaina as the fire grew and swallowed the historic town whole. And at every level, those who were supposedly in charge failed to see the scope and scale of the danger unfolding. Which leads to the question – where does the buck stop? Who should be held accountable for so many deaths?

How is it possible that authorities blocked off one of the only usable routes to safety during a wildfire? Given that officials in Hawaii were aware of the risk of wildfire for a long time, that’s an excellent question. Last summer, in regulatory filings, Hawaiian Electric made it clear that the risk of deadly wildfires was real, especially during high winds. And yet, apparently, the plan for dealing with this kind of disaster didn’t preclude sealing all the roads and trapping people in the middle of a wildfire.”

If you think back to Hurricane Katrina, one of the biggest failures of FEMA was a lack of planning. The government ran evacuation simulations but didn’t implement the necessary improvements after those simulations. So, when the hurricane struck, there was chaos. A lot of people died as a result. We’re seeing that again. All these years later, the same lack of preparation is causing people to die.”

The difference is that we aren’t hearing much about FEMA in the aftermath of the catastrophe in Maui. Why is that? Deanne Criswell is the administrator of FEMA, the federal emergency management agency. She has the same job Michael Brown did in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans. Brown, you might remember, became a household name in the wake of that disaster — and not in a good way. When George Bush told Brown he was doing a “heckuva job,” it instantly became a national scandal. Brown was so radioactive that no one was allowed to say anything nice about him.”

We learned yesterday that Hawaii’s top emergency response officials were on another island, supposedly learning how to respond to wildfires, on the day the blaze began in Maui. And some key federal disaster officials were apparently busy at some FEMA meetings. What explains that? Again, we have no idea because no one is asking. Reporters are busy talking to Deanne Criswell, the FEMA director, like she’s some bystander visiting Maui for the first time.”

This is the opposite of how the press treated Michael Brown decades ago. It’s not hard to see why this might be. Deanne Criswell, unlike Michael Brown, is working for Democrats. She’s also the first woman to run FEMA, so she has the whole identity politics thing going for her. It would look very bad if the first woman to run FEMA is also responsible for bungling the response to one of the worst disasters in American history. Of course, no matter how it looks, that’s exactly what happened. But the media has decided to plug its ears and close its eyes and pretend it’s not happening.”

Actually, we didn’t just learn about the FEMA conference that Herman Andaya, the recently resigned head of the Maui Emergency Management Agency, was on Waikiki at a resort attending when Lahaina was burning. Andaya admitted that detail eight days after the fire – and once that news was out, that he had been on Oahu instead of on Maui, and MEMA was unwilling to say exactly who was in charge if Andaya was away, he resigned. What we DID just learn is that multiple officials were at that same FEMA conference – so when news of the disaster came through, SOMEONE should have had an idea of what to do… right?

The heads of the Maui and Hawaii emergency management agencies were at an annual conference on Oahu on Aug. 8, the day the fires started leveling Lahaina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confirmed to HawaiiNewsNow (HNN).”

Key federal officials were also at FEMA’s annual disaster meeting when one of the worst disasters in recent US history started raging on the other island, the outlet said.”

The officials gathering in Waikiki became part of a “coordinating call about 11 a.m.,” a state emergency management spokesperson told the local outlet of what would have been nearly five hours after the blazes started.”

“There were consultations about the fires among local, state and FEMA participants,” FEMA spokesman John Mills said.”

Others included the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, administrator James Barros and executive officer Don Aweau.”

Wow, all those experts, having a nice resort FEMA conference in Waikiki on the taxpayers’ dime – using OUR money for something that could have been a Zoom call – and NO ONE was alerted earlier than something was going very wrong on Maui, and NO ONE ordered the sirens or got an INKLING from people on the ground that hundreds were trapped and burning to death?

And even now, FEMA is focused on… white supremacy. Unfortunately, this is not a joke.

The federal government agency tasked with leading the response to natural disasters has its hands full as more than 1,000 Americans remain missing following wildfires that devastated the Hawaiian island of Maui. FEMA nonetheless is mandating a three-hour diversity training for employees that argues, among other things, that white supremacy is “ingrained in nearly every system and institution in the U.S.”

While it’s unclear how many of FEMA’s 20,000-plus employees were required to complete the training, internal emails reviewed by the Free Beacon indicate that the agency’s “resilience” division was advised of a requirement to complete one of three three-hour diversity training modules between Aug. 1 and Sept. 28. “FEMA Resilience” works to “help communities across the United States equitably adapt, survive, recover and thrive in the face of natural disasters” and boasts roughly 2,600 employees, according to someone familiar. The division is led by Biden administration appointee Victoria Salinas, the agency’s website says.”

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion trainings contend that the United States is “rooted in extreme, extraordinary violence” and demand participants acknowledge “that systemic racism and oppression exist,” according to screenshots of the training obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.”

FEMA leaders informed staff of the training in a July email, indicating that the effort is “part of our ongoing commitment to instill Equity as a Foundation of Emergency Management.” Staffers are required to take at least one course to meet their “DEI training requirement,” according to the email.”

Oh but wait, FEMA says – employees don’t HAVE to take this course, they can always take a different one!

A spokesman for the agency said that the training in question is not required. (FEMA Resilience employees may choose among three options.) The spokesman, however, said that the agency requires two trainings of all employees: “Civil Rights and FEMA Disaster 2023” and “Including People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs in Disaster Operations.”

Maybe FEMA should just be requiring their employees to be getting their hands dirty on the ground right now in Maui? Or is that too much to ask of government bureaucrats that we pay for?

FEMA is facing criticism that as many as 1,100 people remain missing in Hawaii after the deadliest wildfire in modern U.S. history ravaged the island earlier this month. Agency administrator Deanne Criswell struggled on Monday to explain why so many people remain unaccounted for two weeks after the fire was mostly contained. “There’s a lot of different reasons on why people are unaccounted for,” Criswell told CNN. “It could be that they are staying with family and friends.”

FEMA is also facing blowback for putting up hundreds of its employees in five-star resorts in Hawaii such as the Four Seasons, where rooms cost $1,000 per night and are located nearly 45-minute drive from the disaster sites. A local government employee named Kaleo told the Daily Mail the luxurious accommodations are “selfish.”

“Shouldn’t they stay closer to the site, instead of staying across on the other side of the island?” he said.”

There are two ways to look at the plush FEMA accommodations. One is that the FEMA employees should be closer to the disaster area, and that this is not supposed to be a working vacation for them. The second is that accommodations closer to the disaster area may not be available, and like it or not, Maui’s economy runs on tourism. Despite initially telling tourists to stay away, Governor Josh Green has realized that having tourists not come would devastate the island’s economy.

While West Maui remains closed to visitors, Green says the rest of the island remains open.”

“Right now I want to speak to the world when I say this: All of the other areas of Maui friends are safe and open,” Green said, speaking to reporters during a visit to Lahaina.”

“When you come you will support our local economy and help speed the recovery of the people who are suffering right now,” he added.”

Obviously, Lahaina is not a peep show and tourists need to stay well away from west Maui, and while locals who did not live in the affected areas are grieving losses as well, some kind of balance will have to return to Maui in order for people to keep their jobs and rebuild their lives. If FEMA is paying top dollar for resort rooms, they are helping the local economy and everyone who works at that resort, even though the optics are definitely terrible.

The anger in Maui at FEMA, and the Biden administration, and government response in general, is starting to simmer to a boil.

We on the mainland can be angry at FEMA for wasting their employees’ time with stupid DEI training, but it pales when compared to the fury that the survivors of Lahaina and the residents of Maui are currently feeling when faced with the deaths of entire families and the loss of their homes. The losses in Maui should be talked about in the same breath as the losses to Hurricane Katrina, and aside from local news and a few national voices, the media has gone silent.

So much for all that talk about “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” huh, media?

Featured image via Bill Koplitz on Wikimedia Commons from the FEMA Photo Library archives, cropped, public domain

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  • windbag says:

    Priorities, you know.

    Something is very wrong with the lack of news coverage of Maui’s wildfire. It should be wall-to-wall coverage. Twenty years ago, even ten years ago, that would be the case. When the MSM isn’t curious about curious matters, something is going on. It’s sickening to see the apathy of the press.

  • NTSOG says:

    I’m reminded of Cyclone Tracey which devastated the city of Darwin in the remote far north of Australia in 1974. 90% of buildings were destroyed and 70 people died.

    “In the days following the storm, the Australian government and military launched a massive relief effort, bringing in supplies and resources to help with the recovery. The military set up temporary housing and medical facilities, while volunteers and aid workers arrived from all over the country to help those affected by the disaster.”

    Relieving Darwin and its citizens was the single focus for government, media and general citizens for months. It was of necessity a military operation. The whole city had to be rebuilt. Because Darwin is so remote from the more populous Eastern seaboard the logistical difficulties were very great. Perhaps it would be different now: such a storm would be blamed on environmental degradation and the Patriarchy. Relief efforts would have to be ‘inclusive’ in every way with multiple committees established to ensure relief efforts would be, above all, PC.

  • John says:

    That lady is 1000% right Biden should shove that $700.00 up his ass and more.
    What is GOD doing? He should be punishing the entire Biden’s cabinet DOJ, FBI, CIA , and all the evil people who tried to bring down Donald Trump ever since he came down the escalator.

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