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FEMA gave hospital staffers mops as people died

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As violence, death and misery gripped New Orleans and the surrounding parishes in the days after Hurricane Katrina, a leadership vacuum, bureaucratic red tape and a defensive culture paralyzed volunteers' attempts to help.

Doctors eager to help sick and injured evacuees were handed mops by federal officials who expressed concern about legal liability. Even as violence and looting slowed rescues, police from other states were turned back while officials squabbled over who should take charge of restoring the peace. MY HEART GOES OUT TO THESE PEOPLE AND THE TRAUMA THEY ENDURED KNOWING THEY WERE SO CLOSE, COULD SAVE LIVES, BUT WERE NOT ALLOWED TO DO SO BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION.

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At edition.cnn.com

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