Saturday, September 03, 2005

New Orleans Is Sinking

Finding the words to describe the horrors along the Gulf Coast has been difficult for me. Scenes of women begging for food for their children. Throngs of people sitting in the sweltering heat. No water. No food. Surrounded by filthy water. Of course, my mind wanders to thoughts of the lost, scared and hungry pets. This all cuts me in ways that I can't explain. It also infuriates me.

Granted. This is an enormous disaster to deal with, but there was plenty of warning that this storm was coming. We sat on our comfy couch thousands of miles away and watched the progress of Katrina. It was clear, even to us, that a huge tragedy was in the making. Where was the government? Why weren't the resources in place to deal with this ahead of time? It took days (DAYS!) to get help to these people. We can't handle the crisis of a slow moving storm. Yet, we claim to be prepared for an unannounced terrorist attack. Baloney! It just makes me wonder what FEMA and Homeland Security are doing with the BILLIONS of dollars that we feed them each year. Having planning sessions on how to save Senator Trent Lott's home?

I realize that finger-pointing does nothing to help the situation at this point, but someone (lots of people) dropped the ball. Those suffering the most for this short-sightedness are the poor, and I find that shameful.

Interesting links:
Reporters anger over the situation
Disconnect between officials and those on the ground
Humane Society


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At 12:09 PM, Blogger ShyViolet said...


At 12:19 PM, Blogger SeREnDipItY said...

Very tragic indeed! I can't help comparing what's happening -the anarchy and all- with how relief efforts were carried out in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India after the tsunamis.
Seems so surreal just watching things on the telly thousands of miles away.

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

julianne, last night as i was leaving the hospital at around midnight i was stopped by one of the er nurses. she told me that 50 people were coming to b'ham on a rescue plane, and 50 more were behind them on another. when they arrived at the airport they were triaged and then taken to various hospitals in alabama. here at st. clair we received 3. all 3 were admitted. what were we going to do with them besides that. i think that during the weekend we will be getting more. some had suffered strokes. some were in congestive heart failure. some were suffering from dehydration and heat stroke. the thing that broke my heart was when one elderly gentleman told me that he had't eaten in 3 or 4 days because he was afraid that he would have to go to the bathroom and he had no where to go safely. that is sad. these people have been stripped of their basic comforts and necessities, their dignity. here in alabama we live in constant fear of tornados. well at least in a tornado the water it brings goes away. granted you are left stripped bare and exposed to the elements, but at least you aren't wading around in a cess pool of toxic waste. that is what is happening to these people in what was once one the most unique cities in the country. i am constantly praying that our children never have to witness something like this and if they do, we will teach them to help in any way they can. everyone, GO AND DONATE BLOOD! soon hospitals will have to restrict transfusions to only emergencies and then everyone will suffer, not only the ones in new orleans. love, carrie

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At 4:43 AM, Blogger Gama said...

Too sad for me to take. It is horrible indeed.

At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having delt with FEMA during my 10 years time with the DOD and Government Training, what most people do not know or understand is that FEMA Management begin at the Local Level (New Orleans), then to the State Level (Louisana), and finally the Federal Level (US). Knowing that, Louisana State and City Levels (New Orleans)of government are probably the most corrupt of any states in the Union. It seems that in Louisana, all appointees for those positions (and others included) are either by nepotism or not qualified for the job. That is why you are seeing a breakdown in proactivity in New Orleans as to feeding and recovering refugees there and not in Mississippi and Alabama. Sorry to say the refugees are suffering for their FEMA management skills--or lack thereof.

GrandPaw Fife

At 1:01 PM, Blogger J Fife said...

Serendity - This is truly surreal even while sitting here in the States.

Carrie - Thanks for the info from the trenches.

Gama - I agree completely with you. Congratulations to your hometown for stepping up and helping so many people. You should be proud.

Grandpaw Fife - I have no experience with FEMA like you do, so I can't claim to understand their inner workings. From my naive perspective, it seems like the relief operation has been so disorganized. Too bad someone hasn't stepped up and taken charge.

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please realize that once a disaster has, or is about to occur, the local and state FEMA organizations in New Orleans must organize and orchestrate a pre-planned (which there was none) mandatory procedure to evacuate persons, create food and water distribution, and rescue operations, and set in motion facilities for dispersed citizens. Then the Federal Government can amend the local plans to facilitate quicker responses. Your must also realize that the Federal Government will take from 2-4 days to mobilize, categorize, and implement their plan to bring all the forces into action to supplement the local plans. It is not an easy task to mobilize 200,000-300,000 Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Army and National Guard personnel and get them to the disaster area and activly involved in rescue, food and water distribution, etc. I think it took 2 1/2 days for the total diployment of federal mobility personnel to arive and take charge. I agree with you that I'm very concerned for the animals there, but what is the most important--the children or the animals? We also can't let those animals try try to fend for themselves either. We can't save them all I'm sad to say, but at least we can try.

GrandPaw Fife

At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree uncle harry. here in alabama we have excellent plans for disasters. my husband lost everything he had in the palm sunday tornado several years ago. i think that it took 2 days for FEMA to get him help. he said he slept in his truck to protect his belongings until he could find a little tiny camper trailer. but in the end he received enough money to get a place to live. someone needs to look at the louisiana gov't very closely. love, carrie

At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julianne made a donation to the humane society to help rescue pets. Exponent made a matching donation to the Red Cross to rescue people. I am trying to find a way to make a direct donation to the guys that are holed up in their houses shooting at looters trying to break in. That sounds like a righteous cause. Hats off to those guys. -Mike

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At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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