Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Flooded New Orleans from NPR website

Hurricane Blues

I am on overload and very sad from just hearing and watching the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the citizenry in the Gulf region. I am particularly upset about the way the powers that be (federal level) have handled the situation so far. I think the federal government should have already sent water, food, and medical supplies to help the people throughout the area. Bush should have helped the Governor of Louisiana begin to evacuate the population left in New Orleans earlier, specifically the poor souls in the SuperDome who seem desperate for help. I also heard helicopters were sent by the military with sandbags to help keep the levees back that were in danger of breaking but before they could get there, the few which were sent were distracted because they had to help rescue people in danger of dying who were on the roofs of their houses on the Eastside (The Ninth Parish) of New Orleans. There should have been enough helicopters to both rescue and also bring sandbags. I understand from hearing Governor Blanco report on cable news shows that the helicopters never showed up with the sandbags.

It is true that what is going on is unprecedented. This is one of the biggest challenges a President or Governor can have. Somehow it seems strong leadership is missing and as a result people suffer and more died or will die from the missteps of the people at the top. I am not impressed with what the Mayor of New Orleans has said so far either. When asked by Aaron Brown how long it would take for New Orleans to go back to being New Orleans, the Mayor responded "four weeks". To be fair the Mayor did say paraphrasing him "it will take time to rebuild" at the end of his presentation. I did just hear two navy ships will be sent to the region but what they will do there was not described. I think people should be evacuated to these ships and taken to cities that can accommodate the refugees. Hopefully, the homeless will be dispersed and not put in what could amount to be refugee camps.

Citizens of the U.S.A. think of themselves as a generous and loving people. It will be interesting to see how these generous and loving people respond to the dire needs of all these desperate and hungry people, some very sick and physically unable to care for themselves. If the society really cared so much, why were so many people in the Ninth Parish without the means to evacuate in the first place? Why didn't the city put these people on buses at the time those in power wanted people to evacuate. Didn't they know the aged, the disabled and the young children were unable to leave by themselves without outreach and actual vehicles to evacuate. And also these families tended to want to stay together as much as possible. Something else that was not taken into account. The young wouldn't desert their elders. Not everyone is into survival of the fittest, thank goodness. This disaster highlights the divisions in our society between rich and poor, black and white, the disabled and old and the able bodied. The only heroes in this story seem to be the rare individuals who always stand out in times of crisis and think first of others rather than their own self preservation. But individual heroes will not be enough to deal with this tragedy. We need leadership and a whole society to pull together to make things if not right again, because it was never right in the first place, at least to a point that allows people to feel normal again.