NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana's governor lashed out at the federal government Tuesday, accusing it of moving too slowly in recovering the bodies of those killed by Hurricane Katrina.
The dead "deserve more respect than they have received," Gov. Kathleen Blanco (search) said at state police headquarters in Baton Rouge.
She said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has slowed down the process by failing to sign a contract with the company hired to handle the removal of the bodies, Houston-based Kenyon International Emergency Services.
Kenyon is working without a contract but threatened to pull its workers out of Louisiana unless either the state or the federal government offered it a signed agreement, the governor said.
"No one, even those at the highest level, seems to be able to break through the bureaucracy to get this important mission done," Blanco said. "The failure to execute a contract for the recovery of our citizens has hurt the speed of recovery efforts. I am angry and outraged."
Calls to a FEMA spokesman in New Orleans, the Homeland Security Department in Washington, and Kenyon were not immediately returned.
Blanco said the state would sign a contract with Kenyon, even though the body recovery is the responsibility of FEMA, because "I could not bear to wait any longer."