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Bureaucracy: Flood victims still waiting for help

Given the number of natural disasters that have struck West Virginia since then, it is easy to forget we are approaching the four-year mark since massive flooding devastated communities in June 2016. Perhaps officials are counting on that collective memory loss.

Certainly the federal government would like us to believe we should be patting them on the back for the “work” they are doing to aid in the recovery effort. But when Federal Emergency Management Agency Region 3 administrator MaryAnn Tierney spoke with another media outlet last week, it was clear she and the rest of the folks in Washington still simply do not get it.

Tierney used lots of bureaucratic language in talking to MetroNews, such as “We’ve organized the projects into three buckets,” and “There are lots of other, more impactful indictors besides the dollar amount like the continued human suffering from the event which I personally recognize from being in West Virginia frequently.”

Odd. She says she is still able to witness the suffering from an event that occurred nearly four years ago, yet appears to care much more about bragging about what her agency has been doing all that time.

Try to understand this one: “That was a lot of work by West Virginia and our staff as a team to correct deficiencies in the grants management program, to build processes, and to train staff so that they would be able to competently execute their roles.”

One interpretation of that mess might be that during all these years, King Bureaucracy has been considerably more concerned with serving itself than helping the people of West Virginia. Meanwhile, at the pace it is “working,” there will be families and communities still suffering from the results of a 2016 flood for another decade or so.

And, as noted above, there have been other floods since that time. Who knows when those folks might be able to fully recover?

It may be unfair to place too much blame on Tierney. After all, she is a product of her environment, and there is plenty of fault in Charleston, too.

But someone must be willing to step up and say, forget about bowing to the bureaucracy, these people (and those affected by events since 2016) need help. Now.

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