Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina And Her Predecessor...

It was a broiling August afternoon in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Big Easy, the City That Care Forgot. Those who ventured outside moved as if they were swimming in tupelo honey. Those inside paid silent homage to the man who invented air-conditioning as they watched TV "storm teams" warn of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing surprising there: Hurricanes in August are as much a part of life in this town as hangovers on Ash Wednesday.

But the next day the storm gathered steam and drew a bead on the city. As the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people evacuated to higher ground. Some 200,000 remained, however, the car-less, the homeless, the aged and infirm, and those die-hard New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party.

The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level, more than eight feet below in places, so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.

Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

Does this sound about right? This was not written about was written about her predecessor, PAM. Have you not heard about PAM? Pam was an imaginary, hypothetical hurricane invented for a simulation for the purpose of disaster preparedness scenarios for New Orleans. Too bad the Bush administration gutted the funding for Louisiana that was earmarked for shoring up the levee that broke, Emergency services/First Responders and drained the outlying marshes that have always been a barrier to help subdue the effects of hurricanes before they reach populated areas.

For George Bush and all those who are trying to assert that we could not possibly have been prepared for such a catastrophe as we are facing now, I would like to point out that this is a piece of a National Geographic article that was witten almost a YEAR ago in October 2004. If National Geographic knew, everybody knew.

George Bush needs to stop making excuses.

According to reports from Baton Rouge, there have been hundreds rescued from roofs and attics in New Orleans within the last 24 hours. There is not enough help. For those trying to deal with the rescue, some are running out of gas for the equipment they have to use. This is day 5 after Katrina...where is all the help? The situation in Gulfport as of yesterday was that they have seen absolutely no help from the Federal government. The situation in New Orleans as of this morning, Sept. 3, is that "the situation (deterioration) may be slowing"...not that it is getting better but that the rate at which the city was going to hell may be letting up. The evacuation of the Superdome has been SUSPENDED with between 2,000 and 5,000 people still waiting to get out., without any real explanation of why. People numbering in the thousands still wait in the Convention Center without any word of when they will see buses come for them. ADDITIONAL NEWS: I have just seen a report in which they have current video (live) of a conclave of school buses heading toward the Convention Center, presumably to evacuate the survivors holding there. WONDERFUL!!

Cities in Louisiana are turning away survivors of Katrina because the media has sensationalized the looting to the point that people areafraid to help...I heard this from an interview today with a City Counselman from New Orleans. Rescue operations have also stopped from time to time with the excuse of crews have walked into crowdds and walked away unscathed, so what does that say for the cowardice of some of the FEMA personnel that were too afraid to bring aid to those who need it?

To get a good idea of what it is like on the ground, it would be enlightening for you to read Notes From Inside New Orleans

Past directors of FEMA have stood to be counted in statements that the Federal government was ill prepared for a disaster. "What you're seeing is revealing weaknesses in the state, local and federal levels," said Eric Tolbert, who until February was FEMA's disaster response chief. "All three levels have been weakened. They've been weakened by diversion into terrorism." Federal government wasn't ready for Katrina, disaster experts say.
According to the Pentagon Report, completed last September but withheld until after the 2004 election, this administration's policies have created more terrorism rather than defeating it and those inflicted situations are now seeing the citizens of the United States suffering for it.

I want you to imagine what the survivors of Katrina that were holding up in the Superdome felt when they heard a remark from Dennis Hastert on a battery powered radio...Hastert made a statement that New Orleans should not be rebuilt. A prominent New Orleans lawyer heard this statement from his refuge in the Superdome and wrote Hastert a leter yesterday as he was getting ready to evacuate...he told Hastert that he once thought he had nothing but that Hastert seems to need more help than he does and he would pray for him because he had faith that Hastert obviously was lacking. It is shameful that elected officials would be so damn insensitive during such a crisis.

Bush stated today that "things are getting better by the hour". Sure...and the Feds have been doing right by the victims of Katrina since day one...

Late Addition

The appointed Chief of the running joke of Homeland Security has come out publically stating that "That 'perfect storm' of a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody's foresight," He also stated that it was breathtaking in it's surprise. CNN Article

Guess that means that National Geographic either knows America better than Chertoff or that they only THOUGHT they wrote the story in October 2004...everyone who has a copy or read it were hallucinating en masse.

Talk about your National Disgrace...

Chertoff proves himself incompetent, Homeland Security is a joke.


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