Sunday, September 04, 2005

Trying To Find Answers...

Watching the dire circumstances in New Orleans has led me to try to find answers as to why this situation had to happen. I saw a good comment posted on the C&L site from Atilla (in the David Brooks story), and felt I had to post it here for more eyes to see. The point is that the potential for this situation to occur had been discussed for many years before it's happened, so why was there such hesitation to deliver the help that was going to be needed or to prevent it from happening in the first place? The rest of this post is from Atilla and the sources quoted by him. It's disappointing knowing more could have been done to prevent this horrible event in our nation's history. Click the Red Cross link on the right to make your donation today to help the people of the hurricane Katrina tragedy.

"So what about all of the people still in the city… what happened there? Well it was predicted by the good doctor Ivor Van Heerden of LSU Hurricane Center."

From the Philadelphia Inquirer of October 8th, 2004:

New Orleans' growing danger Wetlands loss leaves city a hurricane hit away from disaster.
By Paul Nussbaum
Inquirer Staff Writer

"The Red Cross has estimated 25,000 to 100,000 would drown, and I don't think that is unrealistic," said Ivor van Heerden, director of Louisiana State University's Center for the Study of Public Health Impacts of Hurricanes. About 300,000 of the area's 1.2 million people would not evacuate, he (Van Heerden) predicted, and many of those would be the most vulnerable - elderly, disabled, homeless, carless.

"You'd have people on roofs, clinging to light poles, commandeering high-rises," he said. "And wherever they were, they would be competing with animals and fire ants for the high ground." And since the New Orleans area is home to many refineries and petrochemical plants, burning gasoline on the floodwaters would be an additional hazard, he said.
Rescuing 300,000 people trapped inside the flooded bowl would be a logistical nightmare, and officials have started enlisting private boat owners who could help a Dunkirk-style operation to ferry people out.”

"Dr. Van Heerden was on several MSNBC programs this evening and said that this article was written after a major presentation by the Hurricane Center was given to various Federal officials in June of 2004. Present were representatives from FEMA, the Army Corp of Engineers, State and Local Emergency planning officials, and White House Staffers."

"He was quite agitated about “the needless deaths” and he was quite adamant that the State and Local agencies did as well as they could with the resources that they had and he didn’t want to hear any finger pointing in their direction. He was furious about the slow Federal response… like Brookes and Buchanan and Newt and Frist and a long line of folks that seems to wrap around the globe!" _in_the...uirer100804.htm

"But then again… if you were the good doctor and you had been trying to convince the Federal Government that to stop building levees and ignore wet land restoration projects was a formula for disaster since the year 2001… you’d be pissed too!" houston.htm

New Orleans faces doomsday scenario

Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle Science Writer

"New Orleans is sinking. And its main buffer from a hurricane, the protective Mississippi River delta, is quickly eroding away, leaving the historic city perilously close to disaster. So vulnerable, in fact, that earlier this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters facing this country."

"The other two? A massive earthquake in San Francisco, and, almost prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York City. The New Orleans hurricane scenario may be the deadliest of all. In the face of an approaching storm, scientists say, the city's less-than-adequate evacuation routes would strand 250,000 people or more, and probably kill one of 10 left behind as the city drowned under 20 feet of water. Thousands of refugees could land in Houston.
Economically, the toll would be shattering."

"So FEMA did know the potential loss of life in this scenario since 2001 and to the credit on an unnamed FEMA employee, according to Andrea Mitchell, who made the case to President Bush to restore flood protection project funding to the Army Corp of Engineering budgets.
As Mitchell tells it… Bush said it was pork and fired the guy. Sort of reminds ya of General Shinseiki telling Bush that he’d need at least a couple of hundred thousand troops to hold down the fort in Iraq for which he was sacked. Seems to be a pattern there."


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