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Friday, September 02, 2005

The problems in New Orleans

I read somewhere (probably buried in a CNN or Fox news item) that the Governor of LA only mobilised their National Guard two days ago. How stupid can you get? That's approaching criminally incompetent. Can an elected official be held personally responsible for not fulfilling their duties? If not, why not. Directors of publicly-traded companies can.

And an email to Powerline:
A lot is going on down here that is not in the news. First, our esteemed governor and the mayor of NO are both idiots. This is the real reason for problems. Second, the NO police force is second only to the mafia in corruption and much of the looting and theft are coming from them as well as their lassitude in doing their job. Third, all Louisiana communities need clothes of any kind. See if your local Salvation Army will send to the shelters throughout the state and blog to give any clothes to the [Salvation] Army. You notice I did not say the Red Cross, they do not have a sizable presence here and are only fishing for money like after 9/11.
And an email on LGF:
The city now has no clean water, no sewerage system, no electricity, and no real communications. Bodies are still being recovered floating in the floods. We are worried about a cholera epidemic. Even the police are without effective communications. We have a group of armed police here with us at the hotel that is admirably trying to exert some local law enforcement. This is tough because looting is now rampant. Most of it is not malicious looting. These are poor and desperate people with no housing and no medical care and no food or water trying to take care of themselves and their families. Unfortunately, the people are armed and dangerous. We hear gunshots frequently. Most of Canal street is occupied by armed looters who have a low threshold for discharging their weapons. We hear gunshots frequently. The looters are using makeshift boats made of pieces of styrofoam to access. We are still waiting for a significant national guard presence.
This just sounds completely incompetent:
Three days ago, police and national guard troops told citizens to head toward the Crescent City Connection Bridge to await transportation out of the area. The citizens trekked over to the Convention Center and waited for the buses which they were told would take them to Houston or Alabama or somewhere else, out of this area.

It's been 3 days, and the buses have yet to appear.

Although obviously he has no exact count, he estimates more than 10,000 people are packed into and around and outside the convention center still waiting for the buses. They had no food, no water, and no medicine for the last three days, until today, when the National Guard drove over the bridge above them, and tossed out supplies over the side crashing down to the ground below. Much of the supplies were destroyed from the drop. Many people tried to catch the supplies to protect them before they hit the ground. Some offered to walk all the way around up the bridge and bring the supplies down, but any attempt to approach the police or national guard resulted in weapons being aimed at them.

There are many infants and elderly people among them, as well as many people who were injured jumping out of windows to escape flood water and the like -- all of them in dire straights.
Much more from the same blogger here.

Is anyone in charge in New Orleans?

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 9/02/2005 06:24:00 pm


Blogger reid said...

It says a lot about a society that the very first thing they do when they have the chance is hurt and steal.

What happened to help and protect? Not round there.

I half suspect we would be much the same, regrettably.

9/02/2005 06:55:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think they are doing it because they have the "chance", reid. They are doing the stealing out of pure desperation. The authorities are not doing their jobs in providing food, water, shelter, rescue, medicine, ice, transport, etc etc.
What would you do in the same situation - sit still and cry to yourself, or break into a shop and grab some food to feed your family with? Seems simple to me.

9/02/2005 07:11:00 pm  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

God help them. Where is Rudi Giuliano?

9/02/2005 08:17:00 pm  
Anonymous andrei said...

Ray Nagin who is the mayor of NO has basically given the game away.

Where he should be showing leadership in this crisis he is basically throwing his hands up.

While George Bush is getting on with the job which looks just about impossible Mr Nagin is winging about the resources he does'nt have. His job is to get them and marshall his forces. Instead we hear a large number of NO police officers have deserted for example.

Naturally the media including our very own TV3 are blaming the Bush Administration for being disorganized in the face of this catastrophe.

Its absurd!

9/02/2005 08:25:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Of course TV3 is - they're a bunch of biased drop kicks.

9/02/2005 08:32:00 pm  
Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

anonymous - they are doing both. Some are doing it for survival, others first point of call was for alcohol and cigarettes. That smacks of opportunism.

The problem is that societal infrastructure has been destroyed. Police have fled, many of the other people that should be responding evacuated and can't or don't want to go back. I think the event is of the scale that leadership, no matter how poor it is, is really a non-issue. It is the simple fact that there are not enough people able to respond and contribute on the ground. TV3 are prats, its local and state governments that should be doing most of the work, and Federal can mostly only support them.

9/02/2005 08:58:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

But I bet after this FEMA will be bulked up.

Check out this:
LA Governor: "These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will."

Colonel Henry Whitehorn of the Louisiana State Police said that the law-and-order situation in the city was "bad".

However, he said anarchic conditions around the Superdome stadium and central business district where up to 20,000 refugees had been sheltering had been "stabilising".

But he admitted that a number of police officers, who had lost everything in flooding after Hurricane Katrina which roared ashore last Monday, had handed in their badges, unwilling to take the fight to looters.


9/02/2005 09:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CNN has been blaming Bush for days,

'Do you think the federal government has been doin enough?'

'What is your opinion about what many critics have been calling federal laziness?'

'Isnt it true that the organisation here is much worse than during 911? Why havent things improved?'

'What do you say to critics who say that the Bush administration dropped the ball?'

The looting is understandable, but I agree it is telling that for every person you see walking by with arms full of Pampers, there are two running by with arms full of Nikes.


9/02/2005 09:24:00 pm  
Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

Kimble - you can't compare this to 9/11. The hurricane has impacted a phenomenal area and destroyed a lot of infrastructure. Sept 11 knocked down a few buildings and closed a few blocks. Neighbouring agencies and people were more easily able to assist. Not possible here because they've got there own patch to deal with, and their neighbours won't be helping for a while. You can't just blame the Federal level of Government. You have to start at local and state level of government.

9/02/2005 10:07:00 pm  

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