Friday, September 09, 2005

Welcome to Krakow (the FEMA Oklahoma detainment camp)

Here are some extracts from "I just got back from a FEMA Detainment Camp" which I saw at Cynical-C Blog. Go see the article - there's much more, and pictures, and a lot of comments.

Two car loads of us headed over to Falls Creek, a youth camp for Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma that agreed to have its facilities used to house Louisiana refugees. ... Each cabin has full kitchen facilities, bathrooms and usually have two large bunkrooms - one for women and one for men.

This past week the Southern Baptist association of Oklahoma offered the facility as a place to house refugees from the Katrina disaster. Each church owning a cabin was then called to find out if they would make their cabin available. Churches across the state agreed.

I started my journey by loading six large trash bags full of clothes in the back of my beetle buggy. I then went to the local Dollar General and purchased various hygiene products, snacks and even a set of dominoes and a deck of cards. I had my daughter take her own shopping cart and go and select her own items that she wanted to take. I told her to imagine herself without anything in the world and then select what she would need to live every day.

We then met up with my elderly parents who had gone to the Dollar Store themselves, and to the grocery store and had spent WAY too much of their limited social security on the venture. But that's okay.

... Two Oklahoma State Patrol vehicles and four Oklahoma Troopers guarded the gate. We started through and they stopped us. "Can I help you, ma'am?"

I informed him we're here to deliver supplies to *our church's name* cabin. He stood silent and stared at me. My daughter turned and snapped a picture of his vehicle - very conspicuously.

We made our way through the narrow streets toward our church's cabin.

We arrived at our cabin and started toting the clothes in. "You can't bring any clothes in. FEMA has stated they will accept no more clothes. They've had 30 people sorting clothes for days. They don't want anymore."

We then started lugging in our food products. The foods I had purchased were mainly snacks, but my mother - God bless her soul - had gone all out with fresh vegetables, fruits, canned goods, breakfast cereals, rice, and pancake fixings.

That's when we got the next message: They will not be able to use the kitchen.

FEMA will not allow any of the kitchen facilities in any of the cabins to be used by the occupants due to fire hazards. FEMA will deliver meals to the cabins. The refugees will be given two meals per day by FEMA. They will not be able to cook.

In fact, the "host" goes on to explain, some churches had already enquired about whether they could come in on weekends and fix meals for the people staying in their cabin. FEMA won't allow it because there could be a situation where one cabin gets steaks and another gets hot dogs - and...

It could cause a riot.

It gets worse.

He then precedes to tell us that some churches had already enquired into whether they could send a van or bus on Sundays to pick up any occupants of their cabins who might be interested in attending church. FEMA will not allow this. The occupants of the camp cannot leave the camp for any reason. If they leave the camp they may never return. They will be issued FEMA identification cards and "a sum of money" and they will remain within the camp for the next 5 months.

My son looks at me and mumbles "Welcome to Krakow."

We then lug all food products requiring cooking back to the car. We start unloading our snacks. Mom appeared to have cornered the market in five counties on pop-tarts and apparently that was an acceptable snack so the guy started shoving them under the counter. He said these would be good to tied people over in between their two meals a day.

But he tells my mother she must take all the breakfast cereal back. My mother protests that cereal requires no cooking. "There will be no milk, ma'am." My mother points to the huge industrial double-wide refrigerator the church had just purchased in the past year. "Ma'am, you don't understand...

It could cause a riot."

He then points to the vegetables and fruit. "You'll have to take that back as well. It looks like you've got about 10 apples there. I'm about to bring in 40 men. What would we do then?"

My mother, in her sweet, soft voice says, "Quarter them?"

"No ma'am. FEMA said no... It could cause a riot. You don't understand the type of people that are about to come here...."

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At 3:05 PM, Blogger MikeZ said...

"... FEMA said..." I think it's more accurate to say "... the bozos representing FEMA said ..."

I suspect that the guys representing FEMA are Good Old Boys.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Paul Chenoweth said...

I cannot possibly describe how disturbing that story sounds to me...(full disclosure: I am a Baptist and know the camp mentioned). Although I understand the intent of the FEMA restrictions, it sounds as though the actual implementation/training compares the care of evacuees to throwing a hotdog into a pool of piranha. Good grief, another this fair-and-equal-treatment-for-all policy supposed to somehow rehabilitate these individuals...their crime: losing everything? Well, this treatment should really do the trick (insert large dose of sarcasm/cynicism).

By any chance will the inmates in this facility brandish forehead tatoos with a big 'E' (for evacuee)or will they simply have their SSN burned into their forearms?

OK, before I go off the reservation with this...has the story been verified?

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Julana said...

I also find this story disturbing. But not surprising, unfortunately. What is going on in this country?


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