Saturday, 3 September 2005 - 01:43 BSTName: Dave
I think the Americans got just a little caught out by this one. It seems that, even though they knew this possibility existed, maybe they were just of the thought that 'it won't ever happen'.
I think the major problem is the logistics and the area. America is a very huuuuge place - the devestated area being 90,000 square miles plus.
Incomprehensible to us really, living on a little island like this where natural catastrophes on this scale don't really happen...
Saturday, 3 September 2005 - 11:28 BSTName: Tessa
It took time for aid to arrive for the victims of the Tsunami too. But the USA should have national emergency plans ready to put into immediate action plus stockpiles of aid. Besides hurricanes, there is the risk of volcanoes (Yellowstone) and earthquakes (San Andreas fault). Water, at the very least, should have been dropped within a couple of days to the people sheltering in the sports stadium.
I wonder, too, if the poor black population fully understood the risks of flooding. Are they all literate, do they have the luxury of televisions and radios? In the meantime, I hear that alligators are swimming in the streets of New Orleans feeding on the corpses of the dead. The suffering is unimaginable.
Sunday, 4 September 2005 - 21:52 BSTName: Joanna
This morning on one of the Sunday news talk shows, the president of the parish in which New Orleans sits, this fellow cried with rage as he told how low down, stupid, incompetent, and prejudiced representatives of the federal government have been. Examples; The night after the hurricane, without being asked, Walmart Corporation delivered four enormous double semitrucks loaded with bottled water and food, right outside of the convention center where radio had been telling people to go for assistance. However, the director of FEMA, the federal emergency agency, told the drivers that they'd have to remove the entire shipment immediately as he had not authorized it. Same thing with an entire monster barge load of cans of fuel for home generators, an oil company donated it and had it tied up at an accessible spot on the river the night after the hurricane. The FEMA director made the company tow away the barge without unloading any of it since he had not authorized it. This president of the parish contacted a private electrical company with big equipment and the night after the hurricane they re-connected major power lines so that the Superdome and the convention center as well as other major buildings could have power and air conditioning. It was all up and running when the director of FEMA heard about it and had it all disconnected because he had not authorized it. The parish president paid the private company to return and re-re- connect and then hired armed private guards to stand by where FEMA disconnected the power the night before. He told the guards if necessary, shoot anyone coming to shut off the power no matter who sent them. The man telling these horrible tales was so tired and angry after this week, that he cried as he told his stories. Such an odd sight, this great big, rough-looking man with a week's worth of beard, wrinkled, sweaty clothes, and eyes full of tears of frustration.
Really, the federal government has been worse than useless. They have actually hindered and forbidden what aid was offered by private companies and individuals. The midterm elections come up next year. President Bush is safe, but his party can lose power...and they should.
Another official told that the American military had not been called up to assist until Friday night, that when called upon, even down in strength due to Iraq, they had responded magnificently and immediately. The helicopters flew around the clock with brave crews who went down the ropes, connected people stranded in attics and on roofs, and physically helped them back up to safety again and again and again long after they were really too exhausted to procede, just running on heart. He wanted to know why, when the hurricane happened on Monday, the military had not even been asked to help until Friday. When the military arrived, they right away organized all of the school and city buses into an enormous convoy that had the hoards in the Superdome and the convention center out of the city and into refugee housing in under 18 hours. So...much of the death and suffering of this week was avoidable. President Bush waited four days before ordering in the military. How about that? If America does not throw this bunch of Republican rascals out, I will be gravely surprised.
Today the director of FEMA spoke in a five minute news conference and said stiffly, "Apparently, ignorant and misguided people of this city feel that they can be allowed to stay in their homes and ride out this experience. That will not be tolerated. All homeowners will be removed at gunpoint if necessary." So now the victims too afraid to leave their homes are "criminals". He added, scornfully, "I suppose they think that they can just sit there and someone will feed them. Well, I have news for them. No one has time for their nonsense."
Yes, the area of devastation is huge. However, that is no excuse for the shocking behavior of those whom taxpayers have trusted to make sane and merciful decisions at times like this. Most of the south voted for President Bush and the Republican agenda. After this, maybe they'll reconsider their allegiance to a man and a party that do not give a rat's rear end for the poor and the helpless.
Sunday, 4 September 2005 - 23:42 BSTName: Tessa
My God, it sends shivers down your spine to hear all that. The prejudice, contempt and downright inhumanity of the director of FEMA is absolutely unbelievable. Without doubt, he is the true criminal!
Thank you, Joanna, for explaining what has really been going on in your country. And three cheers for the American military! We saw them on TV doing a really great job of airlifting people to safety and searching all buildings to make sure no one was left behind.