FEMA: 20 Staff Pulled Following Threats

Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post, Dec. 3, 2005

WASHINGTON—The Federal Emergency Management Agency pulled all its workers out of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward on Friday after threats of violence and planned to request additional police or National Guard support, a FEMA spokeswoman said.

A spokeswoman for New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin said the police commander for the district knew of no incidents or threat complaints.

The Lower 9th Ward was reopened Thursday; it was the last neighborhood in the city to remain closed as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

Residents, who had been limited to bus tours, were allowed to re-enter homes, inspect damage and retrieve items but not stay in the area, which still lacks electricity.

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One relief worker in the region said an angry resident berated a Corps of Engineers employee before saying: “I’m going to go get my gun, and I’m going to kill you.”

Federal agents have arrested six people in the New Orleans area in recent weeks for allegedly making threats against FEMA workers, who have been advised against wearing clothing with the agency logo in public.

A New Orleans police spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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