SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco Mayor London Breed issued a public apology to FEMA officials Monday after learning a third party supplier had deceived the city by claiming a shipment of personal protection equipment bound for use in San Francisco had been diverted elsewhere by the federal agency.
Breed had complained bitterly about what she thought FEMA had done during a news conference last week andon an appearance Sunday on CBS News’ Face The Nation.
“Well, there was a shipment that was on its way that we had purchased that was actually diverted from China to France,” Breed told CBS News anchor Margaret Brennan. “FEMA has the ability to confiscate some of the PPE at the border, which has occurred. It’s been very difficult, and then sometimes getting things through customs or needing to use a ship rather than a plane and so we have been resourceful.”
“We are lucky to have incredible people like Marc Benioff, who has really helped to work with UCSF, University of California, San Francisco, to get PPE and to bring it to the hospital and we’ve shared our resources with one another. But the fact is, this should be a federal coordinated effort.”
On Monday, the mayor said her judgment of FEMA had been tainted by false information.
“I want to take a moment to talk about some comments that I made on Friday around PPE,” Breed said during the Monday afternoon press conference. “It has definitely been very frustrating. The fact that we knew that a crisis existed or was coming and there was just a lack of coordination from the federal government to help prepare and get ready for what we knew was to come.”
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“There are a number of challenges we still face around PPE and we operated our emergency operations center back in January. It’s April almost May and we are still having the same conversations around PPE. While those challenges still exist I want to point out some information that was not accurate that I stated at the last press conference regarding FEMA.”
Breed said the city had been misled by a third party supplier.
“The information we were given by one of our sources that we were purchasing PPEs from — a third party — basically provided us that information when we had anticipated the PPEs to come to our location, we were preparing to purchase it, and the excuse that we got — that we were beyond frustrated with — was that these materials were diverted to some place else and confiscated by FEMA,” she said.
“I was particularly frustrated with especially in light of the fact that we are working with FEMA on our hotels and food delivery and a number of other things. This was just very frustrating.”
But then FEMA officials called the mayor’s office.
“We found out when the director of FEMA here in San Francisco reached out to our office to make it clear that not only was this not true but they are now investigating the third party that we are working with to insure that accurate information is provided,” she said. “Providing the incorrect information is not only irresponsible, it’s also very dangerous in light we are all dealing with.