Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani blamed President Obama for the seeming absence of FEMA in Manhattan, Staten Island and on Long Island, among other parts of New York’s downstate region that continue to reel from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
Giuliani’s comments come as criticism of the way current Mayor Michael Bloomberg has handled the emergency response has grown significantly in recent days, according to The Daily Beast.
“The president getting all this credit so early, maybe the first day or two he was paying attention, but the minute he got his credit, the minute he got his pat on his back, we had the same situation as we had in Benghazi,” Giuliani told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Monday. “He loses focus. He goes back to being campaigner-in-chief rather than commander-in-chief.”
Calling the response to Sandy “abysmal,” Giuliani said FEMA is “as much a failure now as at the time of Katrina.”
Residents of areas such as Rockaway Beach in Queens and Red Hook in Brooklyn have asked Bloomberg directly, as he tours damage and evaluates response efforts in person, where their help is as part of a growing chorus of unhappy residents of New York City.
“We’re living like cavemen,” Monique Arkward of Rockaway Beach told the New York Times. “It’s like we’re forgotten. It’s like they say, ‘O.K., when we get to them, we’ll get to them.’”
Though FEMA appeared to be preparing for the oncoming storm, unnamed sources told The Daily Beast they did not understand why the city’s Office for Emergency Management, which Giuliani created, did not appear to have a lead role in storm response.
Based on his own experience as mayor, Giuliani said he didn’t understand why New York was facing shortages of basic supplies, regardless of practical delays in getting equipment distributed and repairs started across the storm’s path of destruction.
“It’s quite obvious they didn’t pre-plan for water, they didn’t pre-plan for the generators, they didn’t pre-plan for the gasoline,” he said.
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