I HATE now that many people are trying to make this a race issue. Saying that response wasn't quick enough because the people were "of color".
I don't care what color the people would be, the logistics of rescuing and evacuating over 100,000 people is a nightmare in the circumstances that existed. Because an evacuation order had been given, they also didn't likely expect to have a disaster of this magnitude.
After previous hurricanes, with lesser consequences, it took the gov't a long time to get relief into areas as well.... into white areas. So...if there's a problem it's with mistakes in forecasting , and disaster planning, but certainly not with the color of anyone's skin!!!
The size of this problem is only going to come clear in the coming days... as aside from all those who were evacuated... all those who did get out beforehand, but have lost everything... will need homes, food, money, jobs, etc. etc. etc.
Time for everyone to start thinking about dealing with the future issues of all these lives, and quit talking race.
I tend to think that the City was prepared for a hurricane that they thought was equal to the one they remembered as being the worst--Camille. Katrina became stronger and more destructive.
However, I do believe that what really made a bad situation much worse was the unexpected breach of the levees. Seemingly, the silent water rose during the night which caught most by surprise. That was the real tragedy. Then it was compounded by another levee failure that made the water rise higher and compromise the already existing rescue efforts and needs.
It is common for first alert and local authorities to deal with the immediate response. The Feds and Charities were staged to go in when the immediate danger was over. But, logistics weren't the best in getting people where they needed to be to help.
As for the Federal Gov't==sometimes there are too many chiefs and not enough indians, as the saying goes, that can deter the best efforts for relief. While I don't like to hear a high ranking officer in an organization publicly saying "I don't know-I wasn't in on the planning" when interviewed by a TV anchor--I think there were concerted efforts to try to get the ball rolling.
When there is a communications vacuum time seems to stand still. There was no news coming to the "refugees" as far as progress, timetable, etc. Rumors flourished in that environment. .Even troops being deployed overseas undergo training and briefing for several weeks before actually going to the area. In this case, supplies of all kinds-material and human had to be found or redirected.
As for the terrorist situation--I don't think they could have planned anything better than what happened. And, I don't think it is in America's best interests to be advertising where our oil reserves and refineries are, and weaknesses in our system. Personally, aside from aiding in news dissemination to those outside the immediate disaster area, I think that all media should have been pulled out by mid week so that that the business of clean-up and rescue could go on without the the emphasis on the horrendous conditions and crime. That only inflamed the situation.
I read a wonderfully written article today concerning why New Orleans needs to be rebuilt. If any of you is interested, I can send you the address of the source.
I was within the American Red Cross system for 28 years as both volunteer and paid staff. The last disaster operation I worked was Hurricane Hugo. The organization does wonderful things and please donate. But, a donation to YOUR favorite charity for victim relief or the United Way that has several agencies under its umbrella will be greatly appreciated!!
Keep the politics out of it. There are also some misconceptions that the Federal Government is the first responder in these situations. The way the government is set up by the Constitution is that it is first the local, then the county, then the State governments that become involved and then only at the specific request does the Federal Government get involved and that is as it should be. The Mayor of NO dropped the ball as he had no plan in place nor did he issue any orders that were helpful. Same for the County as I have net even heard anything from them. The State also did not seemingly have a viable plan not issue any orders to stop the looting, call up the National Guard, evacuation plan etc. It was only when the Executive Branch of the Federal Government got involved, (White House and Congress), that things started to get better. FEMA also seemed to stand around and do too much 'discussing' of the problem rather than actually take action. I have also seen the racial and political statements some have made and they are just too stupid to even bother repeating.
Three years ago a New Orleans newspaper ran a 5-part series on what would likely happen if the city were to be hit by a major hurricane. The articles also made clear that the danger was growing because of a series of public-policy decisions and failure to allocate government funds to correct the problems. "A major hurricane could decimate the region", the newspaper reported, "but flooding from even a moderate storm could kill thousands. It's just a matter of time ..."Evacuation is the most certain route to safety, but it might be a nightmare. And 100,000 without transportation will be left behind."
As to the aftermath, the newspaper went on to say, "Many will simply be on their own...Thousands will drown while trapped in homes or cars by rising waters. Others will be washed away or crushed by debris. Survivors will end up trapped on roofs, in buildings or on high ground surounded by water, with no means of escape and little food or fresh water, perhaps for several days." Does that sound familiar?
The catastrophe that has now hit New Orleans has been predicted with great accuracy many times, but the words of warning have fallen upon deaf ears. There has been a breakdown at all levels of government ... federal, state, municipal ... to prepare for the devastation that has resulted from this predictable natural disaster. So I wouldn't place too much faith in our government when it comes to foresight and good planning. They make grievous mistakes in judgment just like everybody else, it seems.
David, I doubt that even you, if you were president, governor, mayor or whatever, could have done anything to help the poor people of New Orleans any faster. The blame in on the hurricane, not on any person or agency.
Incidentally , I believe up to 20,000 of them are now being taken care of here in San Antonio, 500 miles away from New Orleans.
I just feel so sorry for those folks, thats my only scentiment.
We will never forget the lessons of 911, and again I'm sure after this disaster things will be put in place to ensure quicker response to natural disaster.
To be fair to me, I love the states I look to them as "how it should be" for most things. In this case what I expected re the "machine rolling into action" did not happen and for this disaster it took a long time to reach first gear, and that was was something I did not expect
No personal or inflammatory posts people. If you want to go one on one then have at it but do so privately and not on the boards. Let us all agree that a terrible tragady has befallen the people of the gulf coast from La to Fla with NO being especially hard hit. Relief is taken place on a grand scale now. It was being done on a not so grand scale prior but the people who are effected don't give a rat's pattootey who was at fault, all they want is help. Donate to the American Red Cross if you wish to help.
While it is sad to see the suffering the NO and the whole area is going through, but I remember the rules about a disaster and the responce that will happen. Living in the Pacfic NorthWest (earthquake country) we are constanly told to plan for relef not arriving for 3 to 7 days if things are real bad. So for me I feel that the responce was with in the proper window.
Again it is sad to see what is going on and my prayers go out to all that are in the affected area.
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Some, maybe even most, I don't know, may have stocked up but the flooding pretty much took all of those stores. It is a hard thing and there are lots of should, coulda, woulda but it doesn't matter for these people now. Now for them they need our help. Get rid of the looters and criminals and get the people food, water, and shelter and then go from there for something more permanent. Just job losses along will hurt this area for years to come, much less housing and infrastructure.
I am going to say that if this tragedy was coming in....let's say Washington, and we knew something was going to hit a day before, an evactuation was ordered, and then it happened, I really really really think the response would have been much much quicker. Logistics or not, mayors and federal government (whoever was responsible for acting first), there would be planes, ships, supplies, bottles of water, everything would be there a lot faster than in NO.
So, if you agree with this statement, then something went wrong, help should have been there faster, looting should have been stopped dead right away...why? because an American in New Orleans is the same as an American in Washington.
Or, if you don't agree that help would have been faster in Washington, then I for one am really scared.
I say again, I think the response was way to slow in NO, and there is a reason for it.
I understand Jim's point of the responsibility being first local, then state, then national, but the scope of a Cat 4 hurricane hitting anywhere near a city that is below sea level I think would have demanded the immediate response from any level capable of dealing with it. In order to mobilize the military etc, that would be the federal government.
I really hope someone (someone being we the people) demand more preparedness for this or any other kind of disaster that would break down communication, law, power etc. That could be a hurricane, the big quake coming in California (are they prepared?) or terrorist crap, anything.........
I agree help should have been there faster after the storm. Although I cannot believe on a local level residents were not transported out as evacuees at the states expense. Living in Tampa we have evacuated many times when storms appeared to be headed into our city. We have means ourselves, but some do not and they have numbers to call given on TV for assistance. Death rates and cost of evacuations after the storm would have been lower had these people been bused to Houston in the first place. They are having to go now anyway.
When we are under storm warnings shelters are open days before hand and elderly and medically needy are picked up by share a vans, ambulances, and other means and transported to these safe shelters.
Seems New Orleans as a city would have more funds to handle this than Tampa's city government. .
Wachulla, Fl and Arcadia were destroyed by Charley last year (minus the flooding issue) similar residents, poor and living paycheck to paycheck, they managed to be evacuated through
Florida local level government. A lot of these people are migrant farm workers they have no cars or money either. Stores were not looted and I heard of no murders or rapes.
I am NO Bush fan, that is the truth, but the problem was pre storm planning in my opinion. In Florida if you chose to stay You are expected to survive 3-7 days without help.
They are adamant about this when evacuations are announced. LA needs to take some of the blame, we simply cannot rely on Federal Government Assistance pronto.
Red Tape always gets in the way.
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As a small child my family lost everything in Hurricane Hazel and that is so pale in relation to this disaster. Our federal government warned people two days in advance that this storm was dangerous. The mayor issued evacuation orders 12 hours ahead of it hitting New Orleans. I have remained, in my area thru several hurricanes, though told to leave and I understand it is a high risk move to do that. Hugo damaged my home. Everyone that stays during a storm knows it is a risk, and that you will be on your own for a while after the storm. That said...send money to help the effort there...if you have it to spare. It will be sad there for months on end.
From what I understand, about 85% of NO was evacuated before the hurricane hit. That was a high number according to the Mayor. Others wouldn't or couldn't get out--the remaining 15%. Even with folks attempting to evacuate, roads became clogged, airports were closed, the area was "tightened up". During the last few hours the city was sitting tight just waiting for the hurricane. The Mayor seemed calm in all interviews telling what to expect in the aftermath. After it hit, then they could deal with the clean-up. BUT-the levees broke overnight--AFTER the hurricane struck. THAT was the major calamity. All of a sudden everything planned was escalated several times times--plus-the devastation of the Gulf Coast communities was thrown into the mix.
I will still say that there were resources "staged" waiting to go in- the levee breaches trumped the logistics. All of a sudden it was a new ball game.
Understandably in this day and age, people have become accustomed to "instant gratification". Some decisions that were made went awry, such as the Superdome being the shelter of "last resort". Many years ago before 9/11 people could have just gone in, but now, they all had to be screened, processed, contraband be removed which made that process much slower and added to the dire conditions.
Maybe one thing that can be learned from a Red Cross position is that shelter agreements be put into place ahead of time so that if the time comes for mass sheltering,even to a different state or region, those shelters are available BEFORE the calamity. It is much better to be safe than sorry. Many of our Tampa and Miami and other coastal friends evacuated inland for several years, and we were prepared for them here in the Heartland. Even last year when Charley was imminent and Tampa was threatened they travelled to Central Florida. It hit Punta Gorda at the last minute and all who come to be with us got socked-but the plan was still in place.
I feel sorry for many of the victims--they are NOT refugees!--but some-not all-had the opportunity to leave but didn't and then expected to be taken care of afterwards when everything was gone.
Judging I'm not--but the best thing we can do is help, with time, talents or treasures!!
I just heard that a group of contractors with the army corps of engineers were shot at, NO police shot at the shooters, and killed them.
If only 10-15% of the population were left in N.O., then at any given time aren't there about 10-15% people that are really poor and down and out anyway? That may even be a generous number in most US cities. Also, NO is in my opinion (only been there twice) one of the poorer of poor US cities. I mean to say that the poor in NO are poorer than the poor in other US cities. Okay, so arent't these really poor people kinda part homeless, hungry, prone to guns and violence and gangs anyway? So, they just didn't get stuff for a few days that they really didn't get a lot of anyway? I am possibly changing my mind that maybe there was no negligence that caused the delay of all the needed stuff. But maybe? I don't know.
I really think that the bottles of water, food ration things (ready to eat), airlifts, etc should have been mobilized immediately, not 4 days after. Everyone down there is saying that no help was coming, none came. They only showed pictures of trucks rolling in and coast guard etc on the 3rd day. Why 3 days? Why? If everyone makes enough of a stink now then government (whatever level) will have to do their job faster next time.
That report first came out as police officers opening fire and killing those workers which as you can imagine caused me to go ballistic over that. Thank goodness it turned out to be the good guys killing the bad guy after all. At first they stated that 20% refused to evacuate but I guess they have revised that number. It is unfortunate that some many of the lawless types are the ones that stayed behind and preyed on the helpfless. Should have given the order Monday to shoot the loters, that would have stopped it right away.
Banker, I read in the NY Times that 28% of the population in New Orleans proper live below the poverty level. This is MUCH higher than the national average (in large cities) of 19%.
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Dorothy, an American or any other persons life should not be measured in where they "sit" on a means test given these circumstances.
All that means is that those with money get out in their 4x4 and leave it to insurance later. And those that already did not have a lot in the first place, try to keep and maintain what they had. Poverty level should not be an issue in human life.
If that is what you believe or feel it makes a difference, thats scary