Hurricane Katrina

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  • #226
russ_watters
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A saw a short report the other day about a doctor (civilian, I think) managing a field hospital getting supplies directly from the the commanding general of the military forces. He asked here what she needed and made her requests turn into realities very quickly. That's one thing about the military - red tape does not exist in a battle: a general says "jump" and people jump (no, they don't ask "how high", they just jump as high as they can). Perhaps FEMA should be a DoD organization, run either by the military directly, or with a military organizational structure?
 
  • #227
Astronuc
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As a partial vindication of Russ's point of view about what happened in New Orleans - see some excerpts from New Orlean's Emergency Preparedness Program in Russ's thread "Disaster Recovery Infrastructure ".

Something went very wrong in New Orleans - and that was not Bush's fault.

Meanwhile http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/hurricane_katrina;_ylt=Ajs.OvH0KUR7WbynDElLW28bLisB;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl [Broken] -
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Soldiers toting M-16s strengthened their grip on this swamped city as concerns grew about the risks posed by the toxic floodwaters and officials braced for what could be a staggering death toll by readying 25,000 body bags.
The flood water in New Orleans is apparently 'very' toxic - chemically and biologically!
 
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  • #228
Astronuc
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September 7, 2005
Urgent Warning Proved Prescient
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Among a steady string of warnings delivered in recent years to New Orleans that they could be devastated by a great hurricane, one of the last was also one of the most chilling.

"Hurricane Katrina. A most powerful hurricane with unprecedented strength," was the headline on the National Weather Service bulletin on Aug. 28, the day before Hurricane Katrina struck.

"Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer," the alert went on.

It read like the kind of hastily typed dispatch one might expect from a meteorologist facing the storm of a lifetime and trying to ensure that leaders and citizens heeded warnings and moved to safety before all communications failed.

Yet it was mostly written years in advance, with just a few last-minute adjustments by the staff at the New Orleans office to reflect specific local conditions, federal weather agency officials said yesterday.

The goal of having the descriptions preprogrammed into computers is to save time for the local meteorologists whose job was both to encourage residents to stay safe and to track evolving conditions, said Walt Zaleski, the Weather Service warning coordination program manager in the regional headquarters.
How many really did realize this on Aug 28? What about next time - somewhere else? Will people remember years from now?
 
  • #229
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Astronuc said:
How many really did realize this on Aug 28?
~400,000 New Orleanians. It has been part of local culture in New Orleans for decades to know what was going to happen when the inevitable CAT4+ hit those levees. It was taught in the schools there.
 
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  • #230
Astronuc
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russ_watters said:
Perhaps FEMA should be a DoD organization, run either by the military directly, or with a military organizational structure?
Along that line - NPR Morning Edition, September 8, 2005 · Coast Guard Vice Admiral Thad Allen talks about his appointment to direct recovery efforts in and around New Orleans. The admiral began reporting Monday to FEMA chief Michael Brown, whose agency has been widely criticized for a sluggish response to the disaster.

Admiral Coordinating New Orleans Recovery
 
  • #231
Astronuc
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hitssquad said:
~400,000 New Orleanians. It has been part of local culture in New Orleans for decades to know what was going to happen when the inevitable CAT4+ hit those levees. It was taught in the schools there.
Of course about 75-80% of people had evacuated the city, but there were those who stayed for one reason or another.

I was actually thinking about the responsible members in the city, state and federal government.
 
  • #235
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Michigan is sending 10 forensic teams, to help with the bodies. I'm sure many states are doing the same. It will be a daunting task, even for the most hardened forensic pathologist.
 
  • #236
Astronuc
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Thursday, September 8, 2005
Macabre Reminder: The Corpse on Union Street
By DAN BARRY, NY Times
That a corpse lies on Union Street may not shock; in the wake of last week's hurricane, there are surely hundreds, probably thousands. What is remarkable is that on a downtown street in a major American city, a corpse can decompose for days, like carrion, and that is acceptable.

Welcome to New Orleans in the post-apocalypse, half baked and half deluged: pestilent, eerie, unnaturally quiet.
 
  • #238
russ_watters
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Astronuc said:
As a partial vindication of Russ's point of view about what happened in New Orleans...
Actually, what I've posted about so far is not a complete picture of my point of view. Other people have focused on the politics and I have responded, but that is only a small part of what I think the problem was. It hasn't really been adressed yet, but the biggest failing I see here is one of personal responsibility. I don't agree with the racism angle (idiocy knows no racial boundaries), but it is my opinion that the majority of those in need in this crisis failed themselves and it should not be the job of the government to fix their mistakes - especially after the government warned them in advance that they were making a mistake.

I'll get more into that at some time later (and in the politics forum...), but for now - consider how you'd fare if your electricity and water were shut off right now: how many days before you ran out of either? Then consider what you could do with a day's head-start.
 
  • #239
Astronuc
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I wrote about personal responsibility or accountability elsewhere, but there are also extenuating circumstances. The elderly in a nursing home, who are dependent on others for care - how do they get out, the poor who do not have money, bank account or credit card, and those who have never been outside New Orleans and don't know anyone outside the city, and a combination thereof. Many of these people most likely have a high school education, if that.

I have to wonder how effective emergency preparedness really was in the poorest parts of town.
 

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