It wasn't until Sunday at a news conference with FEMA head Michael Chertoff that we realized FEMA thought the state was going to transport FEMA supplies and distribute them. But the state let them know this morning that they couldn't do the distribution, that they wanted FEMA to do it.
And on Sunday night, we found out that FEMA put the responsibility on the city of Houston and Harris County. The city and county say they're set up to do the distribution, thanks to plenty of employees and volunteers. But the confusion may have led to a delay in getting supplies here and we addressed the delay and confusion with Secretary Chertoff.
"We were asked to take on the responsibility of actually getting them to the points of distribution and manning the points of distribution," said Chertoff.
"Who screwed up?" we asked.
"This is not about a screw-up," said Chertoff.
"How much time did this delay, you have people without water, without gas," we said.
"We are now about 24 hours since the weather has really cleared, allowing things to move," said Chertoff. "In order to set the points of distribution, you need to have identified safe places for them to be. You need to have personnel to man them. And you have to move the trucks in and that does take a few hours in order to stage them. The trucks are on the way so that's just a question of how much ground you can cover in a certain period of time. The mayor and the county judge have put the full measure of their resources including personnel to the task of actually working with us on the point of distribution."
"Did the state tell you guys at some point this morning , 'Hey we can't distribute it by Plan A. We have to go to Plan B?'"
"This morning, the state, where it's slow with its resources and capabilities and capabilities, said 'We'd like you to take over this assignment.' We were happy to do it."
Later Sunday, trucks with supplies rolled into Reliant and at a press conference later that evening, six points of distribution were announced. There will be about 24 in total.
There will be more points of distribution (PODS) listed tomorrow.