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Zer Netmouse
September 6th, 2005
02:10 pm

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confusing picture
kgkofmel linked to a NY Times editorial from Anne Rice asking why people elsewhere in the country didn't help New Orleans more than they did. It's a very confusing picture. On the one hand I read reports that early in the week the Louisiana Governor was turning down offers of National Gaurd units from other states. I hear about things like how the City of Chicago was ready to jump and their offer of help was not accepted. I confirmed that one --

To quote the Sept 3 Sun Times,

A visibly angry Mayor Daley said the city had offered emergency, medical and technical help to the federal government as early as Sunday to assist people in the areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina, but as of Friday, the only things the feds said they wanted was a single tank truck.
...
"We are ready to provide more help than they have requested. We are just waiting for their call," said Daley, adding that he was "shocked" that no one seemed to want the help.
...
Daley said the city offered 36 members of the firefighters' technical rescue teams, eight emergency medical technicians, search-and-rescue equipment, more than 100 police officers as well as police vehicles and two boats, 29 clinical and 117 non-clinical health workers, a mobile clinic and eight trained personnel, 140 Streets and Sanitation workers and 29 trucks, plus other supplies. City personnel are willing to operate self-sufficiently and would not depend on local authorities for food, water, shelter and other supplies, he said.


It looks like the mayor of Chicago should have been talking to the New Orleans Mayor, not the feds. It's not like you have to have federal approval to drive across state lines. Then again, who knows if the NO mayor would have accepted help. Word is he had a flotilla of busses he didn't bring to bear for evacuation, basically ignoring the city hurricane response plan.

All around there are crazy stories. Reports of civilian relief efforts being turned away by the department of fish and wildlife. Of army resources not used because the head of the National Guard claimed to have a handle on the situation. Lots of reports discuss an apparent power struggle between local, state, and federal powers. People were having turf wars while other people were dying.

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From:maudelynn
Date:September 6th, 2005 11:45 am (UTC)
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i think it is going to get harder and harder to figure out what went wrong... people are already back pedaling and doing the he said she said...
i am still stumped as to why FEMA is still turning verified help away....
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From:omnifarious
Date:September 6th, 2005 02:42 pm (UTC)
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I don't care about the 'he said, she said' game, and nobody else should either. Fact is, there's a chain of responsibility, and everybody all up and down that chain is responsible for what happened. That's what it means to be in charge of people. You're responsible for what they do. And if they didn't do what was needed, then you've failed in you responsibility, even if at the time you thought you had information that indicated you were doing the right thing.

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From:maudelynn
Date:September 6th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC)
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no we shouldnt care about the he said she said...but that is what is happening... people scrambling to cover their butts
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From:omnifarious
Date:September 6th, 2005 02:38 pm (UTC)
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Given some of what I've read in conservative blogs (who conveniently try to come up with reasons to not fault the federal response and ignore issues with it) the local response wasn't all that great either.

The New Orleans police participated in the looting. They didn't bother to try to help people stranded in hotels, and in fact left for the evening, leaving some of the people to decide to do their own patrols and arm themselves.

Also, the New Orleans mayor knew that their disaster planning was woefully inadequate. He and/or members of his administration also failed to make use of the resources of the city (such as busses) to evacuate people. Their instructions to the populace were wavering, and sometimes confusing.

So, there's plenty of blame to be handed around. :-(

It seems almost like the best thing to have done would've been to round up as many able bodied people as you could, fill up trucks with supplies, arm everybody, bring along some obvious members of the press and publicly threaten to start a minor war with the national guard if they didn't let you in to help people and haul them out.

And that's just very sad. :-(

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