Katrina disaster and investigation
9th September 2005 at 8:42 am #40629
Whole families have nowhere to go and thousands of jobs have been destroyed. Numbers of numbers of guard and other troops have been going to New Orleans. Some say there’s blame at all levels from the people who live there to local level and right up to the Fema response, feds and whitehouse admin. Times Picayune – Louisiana newspaper that had published a series of articles on this exact type of devastating scenario in 2002 – Its such a sad incident and a lot of people are sorry for what’s happening. Thinking of any folks that may be in the NOLA, Alabama, Mississippi area and hoping that they’ll be allright. Thousands of children need help and old people need food, people are fleeing to Texas and other states. Texas struggles to cope as refugees hit 250,000 and in the meantime the waters are now toxic and dangerous in N.O and young and old people need a lot of help. President George W Bush says he will lead an investigation into how the Hurricane Katrina disaster was handled. It’s a shame that the reaction came so late or will this inquiry be a waste of time ?13th September 2005 at 3:12 am #75478
It is criminal.
1. Evacuation programs that do not plan for people without funds or vehicles are kinda useless.
2. Letting hundreds (or more) of municipal vehicles remain in the flood zone is insane. What on earth were they thinking to leave all those buses and other equipment in harms way? When Dallas flooded about 15 years ago, we moved hundreds (thousands?) of vehicles to safety so we would have something to work with later. The water came up to fast too get our shop van out so we drove it up on the dock ramp engine first (it was too big to go all the way under the roof. ) we even ran several super small compact cars of our employees up there to save them. We used hand torches to cut down awnings and security fences so we could get vehicles from the heavy equipment shop out another way after the main road became too deep. The guys were still trying to drive all the new cars from make ready out until the water got higher than the engines could handle. We lost a bunch of them, but not half of what we would have if people from all the department had not pitched in to go drive them to safety. Did they not think they would need the d*rn things at some point in time?
3. We could get food and water dropped to people who were not even in the continental United States in two days. We could get reporters and camera crews in and out or New Orleans, so why were people dying of thirst after four or five days?
4. Who in the h*ll pats someone on the back and tells them they are doing a great job when four days have gone by and they have not yet moved any survivors to someplace safer than a damaged, pest laden, crime filled structure. Oh and many of those people have not eaten in that time either. but they, keep up the good work!
I can’t help wondering how much of it had to do with the fact that many of the first responders were currently overseas. Sure you can bring in others, if you can find them, but that takes time and they have NO local knowledge.
I do understand that many thought they could ride it out. After all, they have many times before. And some stayed for what seemed to them to be good reasons, like the woman who’s mother had just gotten home from open heart surgery and was too weak to travel. But ya know, I think four and five days was a bit long to get real help in there.
I am also pretty sure that the survival rate of people who weren’t as worried about the cost of a week in a hotel was a heck of a lot higher than that of the people who live paycheck to paycheck.18th September 2005 at 5:14 pm #75486
On the subject of transit vehicles, that is a red herring. The City of New Orleans had about 360 transit buses. These buses were used to convey people to the Emergency centers, the Convention Center and the Superdome.
Yes, those places were hell on Earth, but the odds are very good, considering how much of the city went under water, that the death toll would have been far, far greater without them.
The Emergency Plan basically converted all highways out of the city into one way roads, using both the left and right sides. That meant that any bus evacuating people out, would not be able to return for more passengers. It was a one way trip.
So those 360 buses moved about 25,000 to 35,000 people to the two rescue centres and saved possibly thousands of lives.
On the other hand, if those 360 buses were used only for evacuation, then each could only have been used for a single trip. At best, you could have moved or rescued maybe 10,000 people and got them out of New Orleans.
That’s not even a drop in the bucket of the 100,000 left behind, and only a fraction of the 35,000 taken to rescue centres.
So, the only conclusion is that the buses available were used effectively. Other uses would give higher body counts.
There was a second group of buses available. This was about 320 school buses.
The first problem is that 70 of these buses were non-operable. Out of commission due to mechanical failures or servicing. So really, we had around 250 or so.
So why weren’t these buses in use? Well, one problem was that the Mayor didn’t control them, they weren’t under the control of the city administration.
Rather, they were under the control of the school board. It was the school board that had the buses, had the keys to the buses, had the keys to the service yards where the buses were kept, and had the names and addresses of the bus drivers.
As the evacuation order went out, the whole school board infrastructure simply vanished, there was no one to call to get the buses, no one to give the addresses and names and numbers of bus drivers, no one to release the keys.
Should this have been done? Certainly. Was there negligence there? Quite possibly.
On the other hand, the City administration was juggling a lot of plates by this time, and its quite possible that this was way down on the list of essential tasks.
Who is normally in charge of this sort of thing? FEMA. FEMA doesn’t have a lot of equipment itself. Normally what it is supposed to do is inventory all the resources available, and coordinate it. In other hurricane situations, there would be a network of FEMA guys with radiophones who would make sure that the school boards buses were deployed to where there was a shortage of transit.
FEMA seems to have had better things to do this time out. Or perhaps its a new approach.
Now, its unfortunate that the buses were all under water. But then again, at the time the levies broke and the water was hitting, evacuation was no longer possible, at least not with these vehicles. The streets they would have to travel were under water.
All that anyone could do was try and salvage them by getting them up onto dry land.
But, when 80% of the city is under water, when you don’t know how high that water is going to go, and you don’t know where the high land is…. how do you do that? And more importantly, is that the most important thing that you can do with the precious minutes that you have? There are a thousand things to do on an emergency basis. Where does saving some school buses for later use come in on that list? How many lives will you trade for each school bus, because that might well be exactly what it comes down to.
At this point, I don’t know that I can fault the City Administration or the state government. Yes, they probably made mistakes, and I’d like to see them crucified for every mistake.
On the other hand, both the City and state Governments don’t have unlimited funds or resources to deal with crisis. Its worth noting that the resources of cities and states have been chopped dramatically the last five years, as Federal Government initiatives have shifted burdens onto state and city governments but removed revenue. The result has been rolling fiscal crises affecting 45 out of 50 states. This is a direct consequence of President Bush.
Well, this is an issue. You can’t hamstring the states and cities, starve them of money and manpower, overburden them… and then expect that a system stretched to the limit will be able to cope with a crisis. That’s just the way it is.
Funding for the levees was cut dramatically to nothing by the Bush administration. FEMA was gutted. Billions were spent on homeland security to what effect?
Hurricanes are simply natural disasters, they happen, and people cope. I can’t fault anyone for the hurricane.
On the other hand, how we cope depends a lot on the critical leadership. That critical leadership was playing air guitar for reporters photo ops while hundreds of people drowned.
The bottom line is that America chose the stupidest, most corrupt, most cowardly dickhead on Earth for its leader…. twice. What did you expect?
The only question is which City is this moron going to lose next?20th September 2005 at 11:06 am #75487
Lets hope that the USA will now reconsider it’s position regarding the Kyoto summitt business on the old Global warming huh?
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