Friday, September 9

I have been waiting to comment on the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

This is, as we have all seen by now, another disaster that did not have to be a disaster.

This is a graphic illustration of the collision of ideology with reality.

That's all I have to say.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had a meeting with Kathy Knudsen today, one of the higher ups in the American Red Cross Raleigh chapter, and she kind of explained a few things about the Hurricane that I didn't know, and thought were kind of interesting.

For one, she said that nobody could get into New Orleans for five days after Katrina hit. The National Guard wouldn't allow the Red Cross (or anyone really) into the city, and they did their best to get everyone out. Once it hit, and 80% of the city was flooded, it was impossible to get trucks in or out of there. Most non-profits (like the Red Cross) don't have helicopters, and even if they did, they'd have no where to land, so getting in was very, very difficult.

For two, she said that most of the people who stayed in there stayed because they wanted to, not because they couldn't leave due to poorness or whatever. She said that just in the past couple of days she's seen over 60 families in her office who got into their cars and drove to Raleigh as soon as the water had gone down far enough for them to get out.

That isn't to say that there weren't people who wanted to get out who couldn't, but she says that a very large portion of them chose to stay.

Three, she says that most of what you see in the media are the same locations, which consist of the very few places the media is able to get in. So when you see on the news and think to yourself "well if the media can get in, why can't everyone else?" the answer is simply that everyone CANNOT get in, except in a few select places with decent views.

I don't think that this goes against your claim that it didn't have to be a disaster, but there's a lot of people talking about why the government didn't act fast enough to get down there after the hurricane had hit, and for the most part the answer is that they worked as fast as they could.

~Shane

Scott Lynch said...

For one, she said that nobody could get into New Orleans for five days after Katrina hit. The National Guard wouldn't allow the Red Cross (or anyone really) into the city, and they did their best to get everyone out.

Well, there you go. Five days (as widely reported) of more or less direct interference in many aspects of the aid and rescue operations. You stated that "the government acted as fast as it could." Is the National Guard a force of nature? Is it not under the control of the government?

Once it hit, and 80% of the city was flooded, it was impossible to get trucks in or out of there. Most non-profits (like the Red Cross) don't have helicopters, and even if they did, they'd have no where to land, so getting in was very, very difficult.

What kind of disingenuous crap is "Gosh, the Red Cross doesn't have helicopters?" The Red Cross isn't supposed to have helicopters. The military, the Coast Guard, and emergency services have helicopters. "Getting in was difficult?" When you can't get in to a disaster situation, you can mitigate it by dropping emergency supplies to stranded populations from aerial vehicles... it's a technique that's been perfected for about, oh, sixty years now. It predates the helicopter.

I'm sorry, but much of what you're passing on seems to be happy, glossy generalities that don't jive with the collective picture, provided by both the professional media and the amateur media (it's hard to put the kibosh on every blogger, ham radio operator, and web-cammer in NOLA) that has been coming out of the city for nearly two weeks.

The fact that some of the people in NOLA certainly chose to remain in place does nothing to excuse the massive failure of national leadership and government agencies during this crisis. The Incident Command System, the modular, universal system under which all emergency responders including myself train and have trained for decades, was miserably and haphazardly implemented. Life safety was jepoardized and incident stabilization was needlessly complicated. The national media, finally shocked into remembering that they can function as something other than an adjunct propaganda wing of the administration, have had their claws out as they peel back the story that FEMA, at the behest of the current administration, has become a hollow agency led by political flacks with nonexistent emergency management credentials.

It isn't the Red Cross that has failed in the past two weeks. The Red Cross has very little to be defensive about, and it wasn't the god. damned. Red. Cross. that Matt was talking about.

MWS said...

Aye.

Anonymous said...

but there's a lot of people talking about why the government didn't act fast enough to get down there after the hurricane had hit, and for the most part the answer is that they worked as fast as they could.


Bullshit.

They knew the hurricane was coming. Whether or not they knew the exact landing point, they knew it was coming. And five days isn't the government being prepared and moving fast. It moved faster for September 11th without warning than they did for this well followed hurricane disaster.

They could have easily have done food and water drops within 12 hours after the hurricane passed through, instead people died and suffered without food and water for five days.

It's a screw up, a fuck up and glossing it over helps nothing.

-Jenn

Anonymous said...

"...the 49% of Americans who have been complaining for five years about George W. Bush being a dictator are now vexed to the point of utter incoherence because for the last fortnight he has failed to do a sufficiently convincing impression of a dictator."

http://www.two--four.net/weblog.php?id=P1878

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