With many Floridians still struggling to find food, water, ice and fuel after Hurricane Wilma, Governor Jeb Bush took responsibility for frustrating relief delays in a state all too familiar with powerful storms.
“We did not perform to where we want to be,” the governor told a news conference yesterday in Tallahassee, adding that criticism of the federal response was misdirected. “This is our responsibility.”
Bush’s comments came amid finger-pointing by local and county officials upset with aid efforts, and criticism of the Federal Emergency Management Agency reminiscent of the anger unleashed following Hurricane Katrina.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who oversees FEMA, asked victims to have patience as he surveyed crumpled boats, shattered mobile homes and snaking lines of cars at fuel stations along the storm’s path.
President George Bush planned to arrive in Florida today to get his first look at the damage wrought by Wilma and to visit the National Hurricane Centre in Miami.