Twitter users criticized Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Brock Long in droves Sunday, after he called the disaster relief effort on Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria “the most logistically challenging event” for the U.S.
“The bottom line is, is this is the most logistically challenging event the United States has ever seen and we have been moving and pushing as fast as the situation allows,” he told host Chris Wallace.
Long’s comments attracted scorn on Twitter, where many pointed out that the U.S. had managed many complex logistical arrangements decades before.
This from a country that landed people on the moon, fought two world wars, built dams on raging rivers. But supplying an island? Way hard.— Chris Floyd (@empireburlesque) October 1, 2017
Many comments pointed to past U.S. military action, citing World War II battles that America was involved in or the Berlin Airlift as examples.
Normandy. Dunkirk. Berlin airlift. Pacific theater.— ZoomZoom (@ZoomsZoomz) October 1, 2017
Um, D-Day? Berlin airlift? (which is a pretty good analogy) We used to be very good at logistics. Make America great again? https://t.co/lxaojc8oTw— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) October 1, 2017
We literally have a military that can land in the middle of the dessert and have a fully functioning city in a day. Do better @FEMA_Brock— Dem Texas Girls ???? (@TexDem16) October 1, 2017
Others cited the Moon landings and manned space missions as examples of the U.S. managing to pull off intense logistical arrangements.
Astronauts planted an American flag on the goddamn Moon https://t.co/yPR5nn6hVE— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) October 1, 2017
Landing a man on the moon also seems like it would be pretty logistically challenging.— Ira Pulverman (@IraPulverman) October 1, 2017
Some suggested that the Trump administration’s pre-disaster planning efforts, more than anything else, were at fault.
Previous federal planning for PR relief knew these challenges. Distribution, logistics, "island" challenges were all known and trained for. https://t.co/FMUeE9el4Z— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) October 1, 2017
“It’s not only a logistically complex event, just getting to the islands and being able to support an island that was hit not just by one major hurricane but two within basically a 10-day period,” Long said when Wallace followed up on the logistical complexity comment.
Puerto Rico has been struggling to recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria, which hit the island almost two weeks ago, causing widespread flooding and wiping out the territory’s power grid.
The federal government has been slammed for its response to the disaster, which many on the island have called inadequate, while President Donald Trump has engaged in a series of Twitter attacks on the mayor of San Juan who had called on him to help.