Saturday, April 30, 2011

So Far, Few Complaints About Response to Tornadoes

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It has been the deadliest natural disaster on American soil since Hurricane Katrina. But the government response to the tornadoes that devastated the South this week has, at least in the first few days, drawn little of the searing criticism aimed at federal agencies back in 2005.

In numerous interviews in the low-income Alberta City neighborhood of Tuscaloosa on Friday, shortly before President Obama and other officials toured what is now an unimaginable wasteland, residents said they had few complaints about the handling of the aftermath by state, local and federal governments.

Many expressed mild frustration about limits on their access to damaged homes, the pace of road clearing and power restoration, and anarchic traffic jams caused by roadblocks and nonfunctioning signals. But most agreed that government and charitable agencies were coping as effectively as feasible with immediate demands for shelter, food, water and medical care, along with search and rescue operations.


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