Lt. General Russel Honoré, the man who oversaw the government response to Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, doesn’t think that the federal government is prepared for Hurricane Florence as it bears down on the East Coast.
Just a year after the nation was hit by the one, two, three punch of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana, Hurricane Irma in Florida and the Caribbean, and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, General Honoré warned citizens in an appearance on MSNBC to not be complacent about how much help to expect from the government response.
“This is a magnificent storm. People need to listen; they need to evacuate, but I will not bet any money that we are prepared,” he said. “People need to listen to their government and evacuate because of everything east of I-95 could be destroyed.”
Honoré told MSNBC host Katy Tur that he was “embarrassed” by the preparations the government has made after she ran down a series of statistics about the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s plans to deal with the storm. According to USA Today, FEMA has prepared 80,000 liters of water, 402,000 meals, 1,200 cots, and 34 generators at Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina
“We measure water a gallon a day for people. We’ve evacuated over a million,” he said. “Those numbers don’t work.”
General Honoré severely criticized the Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria, saying that FEMA shouldn’t act as first-responders and that it should leave governors and counties alone. He found it odd that President Trump continues to send positive signals about their preparations considering the magnitude of the pending storm.
“I don’t understand the government giving a whole lot of assurance that they’re ready because we’re never ready for a Category 4,” Honore admitted. “What we’ve got to be ready for is the response — to be able to bring assets beyond what the states have and bring that massive military force, those ships that have left, and bring them back in to help save lives.”
Trump has claimed that America is “absolutely and totally prepared” for the category 4 Hurricane Florence and has already declared a state of emergency in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina in anticipation of the storm. Governors in those states, as well as in Maryland, have ordered residents in many coastal areas to evacuate.
With a full year having passed since FEMA’s disastrous response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, one would think that the Trump administration would have been anticipating this year’s hurricane season and stockpiling supplies to distribute in case of a catastrophe. Expecting competence from the Trump administration isnot, as General Honoré’s assessment indicates, something one would want to bet on.
You can watch General Honoré’s conversation with Katy Tur on MSNBC in the clip below.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.