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Friday, September 02, 2005

The Essentials

Okay, I've had time to read a small segment of the bloggers I frequent, and here are a few truly excellent posts cutting through the politically motivated nonsense out there:
True Grit comments on the need for church and private efforts and writes that the problem was complacency and is now our priorities. She provides helpful suggestions and links which I am planning using. How can people place scoring political points higher than saving people who are dying now? Anyway, the Feds can't get this done alone. This will take a broad range of privately organized efforts, not least of which should be aimed at finding permanent housing around the country for the displaced.

SC&A really scored a point with me on this one:
Flash forward. The Superdome was a designated shelter, right?

Where is the water? That's right, where is the water? Every disaster relief plan has to have water, stored and kept for just such a situation. The water is canned, bottled and barreled.

Where is the water? Under water? Where? Where was it stored? Surely in various locations throughout the state?
They told the people to bring food and water for three days. But 9 thousand people stayed overnight, and far more than that poured in after the flood. Wasn't that a recipe for fights and desperation within the Superdome? They weren't allowed to leave, so the people who had brought food and water (many for their own kids) were now confronted with thirsty, hungry people with no supplies. Think about that scenario, and give thanks that you are not faced with your own thirsty child and someone else's. Talk about ethical dilemmas.

Florida Cracker predicted earlier this week that there would be a huge problem in the Superdome. She told you so.... Now she refers to The Fat Guy's post and remarks:
It made me think of how horrible Dunkirk would have been if private citizens had been excluded from taking their own little boats to France and rescuing soldiers.
See The Fat Guy:
How many private bass boats, canoes, jon-boats, pirogues could have been out there for the last four days pulling people off of roofs? Reckon any of those old boys have axes and chainsaws to cut through a roof? Reckon anyone on a roof or in an attic gives a damn who helps them out? How many 4×4 swamp buggies could have been toting water and hot dogs to those people on the bridge, and then taking a few at a time back to high-ground?
Exactly. The scope of this disaster means that everyone has to do what they can leaving the authorities the time to concentrate on the really challenging stuff like evacuating the hospitals and patching the levees. And one of the reasons that things are going better in areas like parts of MS is that people are getting in there as quick as possible. There are all sorts of vehicles carrying gas, water and other supplies heading into MS. People are loading up and heading out and no one is stopping them. Many of them have military-looking haircuts and I wouldn't get in those guys' way either.

The registration efforts are stepping up, and Barking Dingo posts a link to a great database which lists survivors and their whereabouts. The lack of information is what has been so hampering. Also do not fail to read this link to Cyli's email.

Carson is working on the Atlanta region's effort to coordinate places to stay. This is what's needed, and I am just catching up with our local area's efforts. They are rounding up houses, rooms and apartments for the use of displaced refugees. See if you can't find a similar project in your area.

Howard blows away Mayor Nagin and the local LA government. I think his comments are fair overall. A huge, absolutely massive hurricane in the gulf was bearing down on the area for days and they delayed until far too late in announcing a mandatory evacuation. They could have hauled a lot of people out of there in buses. Certainly they had time to fill some water cans. As Howard writes, the failure was a much broader one than the mayor's, but I did read even before the Bitch From Hell hit that the feds had to step in and convince the locals to say "go"! Also, Howard is offended by the Blogger "stamped" funding drives, says that bloggers should be finding and recommending the most effective efforts and writes:
I refer you here to Matthew 6:3.... But when you do merciful deeds, don't let your left hand know what your right hand does meaning just give and fuck the tax bennies for doing so....... And don't stand up and brag about it.
My cantankerously eloquent hero! It needed to be said. Believe me, in God's eyes the men and women in these blast zones splitting a sandwich with their neighbor and sharing their last bottle of water with the neighbor's kid have given more than the bloggers. I saw human nobility and true heroism out there and it was not patting itself on the back either.

Read True Grit's and Cyli's posts linked above. The problem started with complacency and will only be made worse with complacency. We need to be snapped out of our self-absorbed fog and get ourselves in gear. A massive and also community-based effort is needed.

Update: Jimmie of The Sundries Shack nails Bush to the wall and I think he does it fairly.

I can't express how relieved and happy I am that you are back safe and sound. And blogging;)

When Howard says,"bloggers should be finding and recommending the most effective efforts" I agree on several counts. Primary is that this is not a one shot deal... this is a disaster that will need marathon help... after the initial sprint to save lives. Hooking up with long term restoration and rebuilding efforts will be needed. So I'm saying that the links to those efforts made now will be conduits for future needs.

-again so glad you're ok{{big virtual hug}}
The fact that people who went into the Superdome were not let tells you one thing - never go into a refugee camp unless someone is pointing a gun at you.

Any of the people in the Superdome - especially the people who had supplies, would have been better off to walk across the river to higher ground.
Ilona, Oh, I never had any doubt that I would be okay. But thanks so much for the prayers and the support.

Zendo Deb, A darn good point. I bet they didn't think they were checking into a concentration camp but a refuge, though. And if the levee hadn't broken they would all have been out of there within a few days. It's hard to wrap my mind around the idea that New Orleans came so close to dodging the bullet.
The point about all those people with boats...

Thing is I heard a story about a S.W.A.T. guy from California who used his own money to get a bunch of airboats to go in and pull people out and the "authorities" confiscated them and locked them up. They wouldn't let him and his buddies go in and rescue people.

If they aren't going to let people help they've got to be better prepared.

It just doesn't make sense. None of it.
The ones who got through came over the lake.

I think the only possible explanation for what happened is that the New Orleans disaster plan was focused on preventing looting rather than saving lives. I bet that's why the cops quit.
MoM, excellent job with links to great info! Thank you so much. This whole thing is positively mind blowing. Glad you're safe and sound.
Every disaster everywhere has one commonality: no communication. The moron Mayor, who did no disaster planning at all, actually got Homeland Security funds to put up an emergency communication system, but instead of getting short wave radios with batteries he apparently spent the money on cell phones. Cell phones. Only a moron would do that.

"Hey, what's that funny looking pole lying over there? Could that be a cell phone relay tower? And that one? Is that one too? I can't tell because it's under all that water." Also the moron forgot that cell phone batteries are toast faster than bread in an iron smelter.

As this shakes out it looks like the Mayor informed nobody about the number of poor and infirm who couldn't evacuate in an emergency because he failed to count them, the governor didn't know either and she held back 1,400 National Guardsmen in case they might be needed in Iraq. The Feds had all their goodies stashed for a hit on the western side of N.O. and couldn't unleash them because they were in the wrong places, meaning that all roads to N.O. were closed. I don't know that you can plan for that. Where, exactly could the aid have been placed so it could get to the places needing it. Not having planes they could load with water, MREs, and portopotties that could be air dropped is an obvious mistake.
New Orleans purchase of the cell phones for an ECS was controversial at the time.

I certainly hope every city reviews the story and takes a good long look at their own situation. I expect some changes in guidances from the federal banking regulators too.
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