The Federal Emergency Management Agency has not exactly won hearts and minds with its ability to manage an emergency. The agency, and its boss Michael Brown, has been widely slated for its handling of the post-Katrina disaster in the Southern US.
Although its latest failing hardly compares to the litany of incompetence already exhibited but it does manage to make the situation slightly worse for some people. FEMA's website can only be accessed by people using a PC which has Internet Explorer 6. Some of it is viewable using Firefox but anyone trying to apply for Disaster Assistance needs to use IE 6.0 or higher.
The alternative is a phone number on which you can apply for a postal application - not terribly practical for people still in emergency accomodation or waiting for a boat-borne postal worker.
Mac users who managed to salvage their expensive hardware, will be similarly disappointed. There is a workaround though - more details from macintouch here.
At least one web-based initiative is having a positive impact. The Red Cross website has a section collecting names of the missing - over 100,000 people have now registered and 45,000 have called the hotline. People can register themselves, register a missing family member, or search the list for family and friends.
Redcross.org has also collected some $209m in donations. The organisation is providing shelter for 145,000 people
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