New Orleans tragedy

PJ

Administrator
Staff member
New Orleans is damn near history, sez the news.

Over 80% of the city is under water. Some as much as 25 feet. "Miles and miles of city underwater" they say. The governor said it wasn't that many houses were damaged as that they were just gone. He said he figures it's what Hiroshima looked like.

By tomorrow a good deal more of it will be underwater, as they couldn't block a broken levee and it overflowed the pump station so the only places NOT flooded, they say will be starting tomorrow morning.

They suspect hundreds dead. And that's despite that much of the population left before the storm, forewarned. They are so overwhelmed they're ignoring all the bodies and just trying to get all the people still trapped without clean water or even solid ground out of there.

Due to the way things grow there, nearly every tree went down in a storm that in many places seems to have been tornado, and nearly every tree going down ripped out all the water pipes with it. They essentually lost their entire infrastructure of water and sewage and power (and even dry land).

Some good thoughts, if not prayerful meditations, might be a nice thing to invoke if you've got the time.

Best,
PJ
 

Gene_Smith

Administrator
Staff member
I have thought about this for some time, certainly before this disaster struck. I honestly wonder if it would not be better to simply write the city off, in its current form. What I mean by this is that for decades the army corp of engineers has spent countless billions alone in an attempt to keep the Mississippi River flowing in its current trajectory. It’s taken a monumental effort to keep it from doing what it has done naturally over the millennia, that being changing it’s channel and point of exit into the gulf. Much of this has been as a result of the political strength and money from New Orleans wanting to keep itself as the controlling port at the mouth of the Mississippi. And while they had every right to do so as a political and social body, they were figuratively and literally attempting to hold back the tides; sooner or later this was simply going to become an impossible or untenable situation, perhaps that time has now come. Having a city sitting right next to the ocean with much of it below sea level, a lake on one side, a large volatile river on the other, depending upon levees to hold back the water with huge pumps working round the clock to keep the place dry just seems a lesson in the extent to which mankind should or is able to fight nature.

Gene Smith
 
R

restful

Guest
Prayers/meditations are needed.

There's still plenty of people in New Orleans and they are planning to shut the city.

Brayden
 

Ghoul

New Member
Whoa! The last time I looked at the news, CBS I believe, they were saying New Orleans was a lucky city, that damage & flooding were at a minimum because Katrina had moved east.
If I donate something to the Red Cross here, will that money become available to help in the US, I wonder. Every little helps. :(

- Rob
 
R

restful

Guest
Levies, levy's (sp?) are coming apart in at least two or maybe more places.  The super dome (super dome is also leaking and falling in) folks are being shipped (someone mentioned anyone with boats and even some cruise liners are needed), bussed and flown to the Astrodome here.  I think they estimated 25,000 and it'll take a day or two at the least.  They are also asking for anyone with vacant apartments/houses to let families use them.  Hotels, hospitals all full.  I'm sure there's a place for the Red Cross to take donations.  You could do a google or just try redcross.com--I'm not sure.  Locally they said nothing perishable, canned foods, lots of bottled water, the usual stuff like batteries and flashlights for hurricane stuff.  There's a list somewhere  ???.  You know, cans of food with easy to open lids, baby formulas, I'm sure they prefer cash once they get them out.

Brayden

Edited semi but also for more info either www.houstonchronicle.com or not sure where else. I've been going to www.ktrh.com which is an AM news radio station here. The stuff in New Orleans hasn't been updated.
 

workerant

Lost, Out of sync., On a different wave length.
I listen to NPR ( National Public Radio ) routinely whose coaverage on this, on anything really is always exceptional. From this I know the Red Cross is currently mounting their historically largest effort to date. Thousands of volunteers from all over the country. Also many of the worlds navys are enroute with potable water and other necessities. The advise to those able and desirous to donate is to contact your local office of the Red Cross, or go on-line for info as to how.

Gene made a good point about trying to hold back the tides. One day, some how this was destined to happen. Nature is patient, but always has it's way.

Hope any of our members in those areas are alive and well. I'd definitely like to add my vibes for hope in the direction of the Gulf Coast. I don't think I've ever heard of this many possible dead to come of a hurricane in known modern times. It is eerily similar to, though not to the magnitude of the Sunami as natural disasters go.

As this port was/is so important, we will all be feeling the effects of Katrina very shortly and in many ways. Should add, world-wide at that.
 

Joe_S

New Member
I don't like the Red Cross at all anymore. When the fires happened here in CA a while back our town kicked the Red Cross out because they got a little too dictatorial and tried to confenscate donations people were making directly to us (meaning the people in my town)
What they did was collect the donations and sent it to their headquarters and pretty much kept most of it rather than giving it out to the people who were intended to have it. When news of this hit, they aparantly changed a policy or two and said to write on any donations who it was for otherwise it would go to a general fund and donation center rather to any specific victims of any specific incident.
I don't like how arrogant and pushy the Red Cross people were, and how they tried to control everything. It was only after our town kicked them out and decided to do for themselves that we started getting the donations people were sending to us, the food the water etc...
Because I had been out of town when this started I was able to bring back a lot of water and canned food which came in handy because of what the Red Cross was pulling. But I had to wait till the roads had been opened back up. At that point I didn't know if my house will even still standing, and was assuming it wasn't because I had heard on the radio that my whole area had been burned. I also had no idea where any of my family was, but come to find out my parents had not been able to evacuate because their car had broken down, and when they went up to the side of the road people ignored them asking for help, so they had been stuck in an area that only by a slim margin missed being burned with no communication, no food, no water, and nobody even knowing they were there.
Many people I know lost their homes, and some people I worked with died in those fires, some still have not rebuilt, or been able to because the aid from FEMA was cut which was another dirty trick. Some RV's and trailers had been donated for the people to use but many people have already been kicked out of them, in fact i think almost all of them have. A lot of people were left high and dry.
One thing that struck me as strange was that the news really only covered one area, which was a more well to do area that was burning, and pretty much ignored the other vast and larger areas that had burned, all the focus was on Scripps Ranch.... Scripps Ranch is burning, oh by the way some other areas are too... lol
I don't really remember any looting, but I think there was a little bit insome areas, the manager of the store down the street from me opened the place up and allowed people to take what they needed, I think more than a few places did this.
Of course Wal-Mart jumped on this, not because they really cared, it was just a big PR display for them to try to bolster their image.. I had heard the WM store down the hills from where I live had burned down on the radio too.. but later found out it was a mistake and was still standing...

anyways... what was the point here?

ohhh I don't like the Red Cross..
 

Ghoul

New Member
Joe,

it's like what they say about UN peacekeepers; if you see 'em coming. Run! Run away & as far away as you can in the instant you see those blue helmets. Sorry to hear what happened in Ca.
 

PJ

Administrator
Staff member
Well the Red Cross is, in practice, a business. Much of the money they have for their next disaster is based on donations made in a current one. They have a zillion people involved, most of whom are volunteers which has a lot of implications for skills, responsibility and so forth. They 'do business' during worst-case scenarios. They have to 'centralize' the money and control or they wouldn't be able to do what they do. But I realize that in practice, in some situations and with some individuals, this can really suck, and when everybody is already traumatized, it doesn't take much to leave a lasting impression.

I think this is one of those things where one has to admit that the good they do on a larger scale has to be considered against what a pain some individual situations and/or people can be at times. Literally millions of people owe food, water, clothing, shelter, medical treatment and more to the Red Cross over the last couple of decades. But like anything else, from the big federal FEMA to the local police, some situations or people can be miserable instead of good.

Bummer for the firestuff Joe. Yeah I know how they go on about how the rich peoples' coastal ranches are burning and ignore that half the state to Colorado is as well, on TV. :-( What a scary situation. Glad your parents are alright.

Thanks for sharing that account. I think people should hear more about the less than perfect scenarios of 'volunteer' organizations like that.

PJ
 
R

restful

Guest
That is interesting Joe and sad. I didn't want to post on this yesterday but they had a lot of vendors and restaurants going to the astrodome to set up and give away free food. They were not allowed to do so. These people have gone at least three days without and this morning it was on the news that the red cross/salvation army was going to handle giving out the blankets, food, water, toiletries, etc. It didn't look like someone like "me" going to hand out food, these were people set up for it. But they are also turning away people who have been driving for hours to get here since the astrodome is only for the super dome people (I probably mentioned that). It is a business and set up for donations, true. I still haven't seen a list of "items" to donate except blood and money lol ;D.

Brayden
 

cyberyoyo

New Member
Anybody remembers MoonDaughter's thread about "floodings in africa"?
I don't know if it's related but a good share of the people affected seems to be african american.
I hope the people affected will manage to get by that terrible event. And the hurrican season isn't even finished yet.
 

Joe_S

New Member
I still haven't seen a list of "items" to donate except blood and money lol .
LOL same as I have heard lol

I was watching the news on this new cable deal I have hear with all these new channels, and they were showing a lot of people who fled before the hurricane, can't get any help, and are being turned away at the Astrodome, and other places supposedly offering aid.

The Red Cross does help people, don't get me wrong, but they are prone to massive clusterfucks, and their attempts to take complete control do more to hinder in my opinion that they help, all it does is slow down the process and put the help at a bare minimum because they want to keep as much as they can that is donated to them for the next big event. We kept hearing about all the donations being made by this company or that, but never saw any of it because the Red Cross took it all. It never got to the people, and I am taking food here, parishable food. So what did they do with it, I would imagine they probably sold it or just let it rot, seeing how a lot of it was meat, veggies, stuff non - canned, and with no shelf life lol
We also had people who wanted to bring in food from resturant chains, who were turned away, so what they did was set up in parking lots where they were given permission by private businesses around the areas. We had a taco truck in the parking lot of one of the local markets owned by some Arabs, and the owners of the market were handing out what water and canned food they had as they did their best to clean out all the food that had rotted because of the power outages which lasted weeks. After they kicked the Red Cross out, things ran much smoother, and much faster, people were even given generators, air filtration units because of the ash and smoke, clothes if they needed it, food was given out to people as well as having a big buffet set up in the community center. The whole incident was really strange. I think the Red Cross had taken control of the stadium (qualcom) west of us, and I did hear they had their share of problems, but of course it gets white washed so nobody hears about it. The Red Cross was not the only screw up, they were screwing up from the moment the fires started, I can go on and on about all that they did not do, and the CDF just sitting there watching the fire burn and not taking action, but this is about the hurricane not the california fires lol..

What I am wondering right now is how many people they are going to find who didn't die as a direct result of the hurricanes or flooding, but from being shot..
 

Gene_Smith

Administrator
Staff member
4:15 P.M. - (AP): Police say storm victims are being raped and beaten inside the New Orleans Convention Center.

About 15,200 people who had taken shelter at the convention center to await buses grew increasingly hostile.

Police Chief Eddie Compass says he sent in 88 officers to quell the situation at the building, but they were quickly beaten back by an angry mob.

Compass says, "We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten."

He says tourists are walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon.

In hopes of defusing the unrest at the convention center, Mayor Ray Nagin gave the refugees permission to march across a bridge to the city's unflooded west bank for whatever relief they can find. But the bedlam appeared to make leaving difficult.
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It would just seem incredible to me that the second 88 police officers were beaten back and prevented from trying to remedy the situation that they would not have called in as heavy a military force as could be gathered using any weapons nessasary to stop this.

It is especially sobering to see and grasp the reality of just how thin this veneer of society and any semblance of law is.

Gene Smith
 

PJ

Administrator
Staff member
Calling in the forces is easy. It is getting them to where you need them, in an area where there is close to no ground travel, incoming helis are shot at, and once you get 1,000 more people on the ground they also have no facilities/etc. to speak of to support/feed/water/toilet/sleep them, that is difficult.

It actually did seem to me that if they were that urgent, there ought to be enough helicopters available in this country (and planes in a city outside that region) to get those people out a lot faster than they are getting out. I am surprised that the evacuation hasn't gone faster. I am not judging from the armchair, as I am sure there are many reasons. I think I just had different expectations of FEMA type capabilities, is all.

This reminds me of a line from a novel I was writing in 1994:

Wondering what it would be like to be trapped in the L.A. area during a *really* serious quake, I thought again about moving -- anywhere. Imagine being stuck between a couple million anorexic barbie dolls, high strung tort lawyers and gang members in the middle of a natural disaster. Anybody sane would give this about two seconds thought and start frantically digging
out maps.


I wonder, at what point of monetary, physical and emotional destruction, do humans decide that a place is no longer worth occupying? How much does it take before someone makes an intelligent decision to not have habitation in a given area that is simply not designed for it, or not anymore?

Here in OK, we don't just have tornados... there are these literal monsoon things where it can rain 8 inches in 8 hours. We have these flash floods as a result. FEMA comes in, they and insurance pay to replace everything up to 5' high in a whole neighborhood or whatever the floodwater were, paint and carpets and so forth to rebuild. Then 4 years later it happens again. And again. My dad gets so mad about that. He says you know, if they want to help, they should pay the median or even higher, value of a home in say a 20 mile radius, and then declare the land in the flood zone not acceptable for business or housing (forced to make it into parks etc.).

In mid-southern coastal California it was the same thing, all these people build right on the cliff along the beach, every few years storms come through and tear it all up, it's so sad, college kids try to help them sandbag, insurance or FEMA comes in, and these people with their 2 million dollar homes made of glass on the sunny Rincon off highway 101 start over again.

New Orleans is not in this situation of course, but I think the disaster there maybe brings the question to consideration for our people as a country. What does it take to make us think that once in awhile we ought to adapt to nature, since as much as we like to kid ourselves, we are just not bigger than she is, and she can't be bought?

As a last note, I am surprised in a way, because I thought with half a million people suddenly displaced, that every major church chain in the country would be making internet sign up lists for families to take in whatever number of people or animals they can.

Or maybe, given that the federal HUD program has apartments and houses all over the country and at any given time there's a bazillion for rent nationwide, and given the feds are going to pay for a lot of stuff anyway, why not a massive HUD database printout to see who could start being shipped to someplace where they'd have a place to live, and could look for a job.

I mean, maybe I'm not getting it, but it seems to me if my city was that wiped out, I'd be focused on getting me and my kid someplace where I could look for a job no matter how basic and get us into a situation of stability. I certainly wouldn't want to be living with 25,000 people in a sports arena for a minute longer than necessary. I mean if your house is wiped out and nobody can go back there for 2-3 months, I'd hope more long-term considerations would be happening.

YES -- I realize that first they have to get them OUT of New Orleans and to someplace like Houston, and then they can think of that...

I remember reading about the era where tons of jews were escaping Germany. Families here who had never even heard of some relative that wrote them, would show up at the port and take the whole family home and find a way to make room and make it work. That always really moved me.

PJ
 

oop38290

New Member
I am not a US citizen but I've read the news that now your troops are licensed to kill anyone who commits crime in the city.
 

Ghoul

New Member
I've read the news that now your troops are licensed to kill anyone who commits crime in the city

I guess pillaging, ceases to become looting when survival is at stake. Are you a moralist? Sounds like it, or maybe a moslem, jumping at any opportunity to smear their troops.

I would think that martial law is a necessity in some situations, particularly a situation as confusing as what Gene described.

I also think PJ has some very good points, I mean; everyone SAW Katrina coming, yet the attitude appears to be, 'let's see the worst it can do & fix it after'. Well... the material cost is quite high, which seems to be the sole focus of this modus operandi.

Hey PJ, maybe this is the 'tipping point' needed to change the bureaucracy currently in place to deal with federal emergencies. What about a situation that nobody is aware of, with no forewarning,.. this is rather alarming. :(
 

PJ

Administrator
Staff member
Oop was simply making a comment, and he was correct. The situation there is apparently beyond desperate by now.

I doubt anything will change. People will find a way to claim the federal government should have been supporting the incredible expense of maintaining New Orleans at an even higher standard than it already was and hence it's their fault. Seems to me if the feds have to pay for it (I love the politics that think money just falls from the sky so 'the government' aka 'daddy' is responsible for everything) then the feds also ought to have the authority to say they are not going to pay for cities in the US that are at such high risk and have the right to tell people to relocate. Not fair to have it both ways.

Already there's plenty of blame at FEMA etc. not dealing with it fast enough, well enough, etc.

What many don't realize is that evacuation of New Orleans prior to this storm was not just suggested, it was not just strongly recommended, it was MANDATED. Sure, that makes it tragic because many who stayed are likely the poor, infirm, etc. But the point is, authorities did their best to get everybody to leave and to make shelters for tens of thousands who for some reason would not leave.

There is no blame that so many were left to mercy of course, but it isn't really fair of so many in the news to blame varying levels of government for that either. The news is getting even more depressing, now not from the human misery and loss of life--of animals as well as people--but from all the political machines and the typical media kicking into gear.

I wish I didn't watch this stuff, I feel like an ambulance chaser, like I don't want to know but I can't look away.

PJ
 

papillon

New Member
In response to PJ:

Ê"This will come as no surprise, but columnist Molly Ivins has again nailed it to the wall. "Government policies have real consequences in people's lives," Ivins wrote in her Thursday column. "This is not 'just politics' or blaming for political advantage. This is about the real consequences of what governments do and do not do about their responsibilities. And about who winds up paying the price for those policies."

ÊÊÊÊTry this timeline on for size. In January of 2001, George W. Bush appointed Texas crony Joe Allbaugh to head FEMA, despite the fact that Allbaugh had exactly zero experience in disaster management. By April of 2001, the Bush administration announced that much of FEMA's work would be privatized and downsized. Allbaugh that month described FEMA as, "an oversized entitlement program."

ÊÊÊÊIn December 2002, Allbaugh quit as head of FEMA to create a consulting firm whose purpose was to advise and assist companies looking to do business in occupied Iraq. He was replaced by Michael D. Brown, whose experience in disaster management was gathered while working as an estate planning lawyer in Colorado, and while serving as counsel for the International Arabian Horse Association legal department. In other words, Bush chose back-to-back FEMA heads whose collective ability to work that position could fit inside a thimble with room to spare.

ÊÊÊÊBy March of 2003, FEMA was no longer a Cabinet-level position, and was folded into the Department of Homeland Security. Its primary mission was recast towards fighting acts of terrorism. In June of 2004, the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for levee construction in New Orleans was cut by a record $71.2 million. Jefferson Parish emergency management chief Walter Maestri said at the time, "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay."

ÊÊÊÊAnd then the storm came, and the sea rose, and the levees failed. Filthy sewage-laced water began to fill the bowl of New Orleans. Tens of thousands of poor people who did not have the resources to flee the storm became trapped in a slowly deteriorating city without food, water or electricity. The entire nation has since been glued to their televisions, watching footage of an apocalyptic human tragedy unfold before their eyes. Anyone who has put gasoline in their car since Tuesday has come to know what happens when the port that handles 40% of our national petroleum distribution becomes unusable.

ÊÊÊÊAnd the response? "Bush mugs for the cameras," says Kevin Drum of The Washington Monthly, "cuts a cake for John McCain, plays the guitar for Mark Wills, delivers an address about V-J day, and continues with his vacation. When he finally gets around to acknowledging the scope of the unfolding disaster, he delivers only a photo op on Air Force One and a flat, defensive, laundry list speech in the Rose Garden."

ÊÊÊÊNewsweek described it this way: "For all the president's statements ahead of the hurricane, the region seemed woefully unprepared for the flooding of New Orleans - a catastrophe that has long been predicted by experts and politicians alike. There seems to have been no contingency planning for a total evacuation of the city, including the final refuges of the city's Superdome and its hospitals. There were no supplies of food and water ready offshore - on Navy ships for instance - in the event of such flooding, even though government officials knew there were thousands of people stranded inside the sweltering and powerless city."

ÊÊÊÊRepublican House Speaker Dennis Hastert twisted the knife on Thursday by bluntly suggesting that we should not bother rebuilding the city of New Orleans. "It doesn't make sense to me," Hastert said to the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago. "And it's a question that certainly we should ask. We help replace, we help relieve disaster. But I think federal insurance and everything that goes along with it ... we ought to take a second look at that." This sentiment was echoed by the Republican-American newspaper out of Waterbury, CT: "If the people of New Orleans and other low-lying areas insist on living in harm's way, they ought to accept responsibility for what happens to them and their property."

ÊÊÊÊThis is it, right here, right now. This is the Bush administration in a nutshell.

ÊÊÊÊThe decision to invade Iraq based on lies has left the federal government's budget woefully, and I daresay deliberately, unprepared for a disaster of this magnitude, despite the fact that decades worth of warnings have been put forth about what would happen to New Orleans should a storm like this hit. Louisiana National Guard soldiers and equipment, such as high-water Humvees for example, are sitting today in Iraq while hundreds or even thousands die because there are not enough hands to reach out and pull them from the water. FEMA - downsized, redirected, budget-slashed and incompetently led - has thus far failed utterly to cope with the scope of the catastrophe.

ÊÊÊÊActions have consequences. What you see on your television today is not some wild accident, but is a disaster that could have been averted had the priorities of this government been more in line with the needs of the people it pretends to serve. The city of New Orleans, home to so much of the culture that makes America unique and beautiful, is today drowning underneath an avalanche of polluted, diseased water. This, simply, did not have to happen.

ÊÊÊÊRemember that the next time you hear Bush talk about noble causes, national priorities and responsibility. This has been an administration of death, disaster, fear and woe. The whole pack of them should be run out of Washington on a rail. Better yet, they should be air-dropped into the center of New Orleans and made to see and smell and touch and taste the newest disaster they have helped to create. "

ÊÊÊÊWilliam Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author
 

Ghoul

New Member
Re: Why not relocate?

the feds also ought to have the authority to say they are not going to pay for cities in the US that are at such high risk and have the right to tell people to relocate.
Hi PJ, on relocation:

http://www.climateark.org/articles/reader.asp?linkid=35248

http://www.uaf.edu/seagrant/nosb/papers/2005/seward-jeannot.html

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/0708-01.htm


Hi papillon,

There's a good & a bad side to politics. You've pointed out the latter. 8)

Thanks,
rob
 

papillon

New Member
Here a few more things to ponder.

The average income is around $17,000.

55,000 people do not own cars and could not get out.

Roughly 25 percent live below poverty level.

People have been quoted as saying that the only way to get food was to loot.
 
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