Saturday, September 03, 2005

Continued Thoughts

I have spent much of this last week under the weather. I have watched the news in horror it all seems so far away. So much chaos and no one doing anything. I feel like 9/11 all over again, who fell asleep at the wheel?

In a world where most depend on public Transit (NO) an evacuation order was given with no public transit used to evacuate? Greyhound and Amtrak where no where to be found.

Its like they said get out if you can it sucks to be you if you can't.

11 Billion dollars where asked to help fix the Levies in NO 4 years ago. I guess a war for oil was more important.

Our national guard exists for times like these but I guess oil is more important then the security of our cities.

Lets face it The Crap in Iraq has caused people to die here and now. And still where are the 4,000+ guardsmen from Louisiana? Still playing tag in a civil war that we started but can't win.

So lets stop the Crap in Iraq and use the resources $ and people where they are needed.

But all that said, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for the people left 5 days or more without anything to eat or drink and no one saying anything. All I know is that New York, Miami, LA, all would have been treated differently.

I have one more question, what does it say when the vast majority of people stranded are African American?


I feel very unqualified to comment on all of this, being very far removed from all that surrounds this tragedy. I have been watching it closely, and it is all very sad. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

By Blogger Ian, at 5:19 PM  

Bill, the issues are far more complex than what you have stated here. This site sorts out responsibilities during an emergency response:
but one commentor summed it up nicely, "kenprice said...

I am an Emergency Management Specialist for South Carolina. What is not being mentioned in the MSM is the fact that FEMA tells everyone that, for the first 72 hours after an emergency event, you're pretty much on your own. New Orleans violated every rule in the book: They failed to use available resources, they failed to have supplies pre-positioned, they did not follow their own disaster plan. The ONLY thing they get right was shifting the blame for their failures to everyone but themselves.

In future years, Katrina is going to be used as a classic "case study" on how NOT TO handle a crisis."

This site reminds us of The New York Times editorial views from 1993 to this past April on some of the flood control proposals:

"Anyone who cares about responsible budgeting and the health of America's rivers and wetlands should pay attention to a bill now before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The bill would shovel $17 billion at the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and other water-related projects -- this at a time when President Bush is asking for major cuts in Medicaid and other important domestic programs. Among these projects is a $2.7 billion boondoggle on the Mississippi River that has twice flunked inspection by the National Academy of Sciences.

The Government Accountability Office and other watchdogs accuse the corps of routinely inflating the economic benefits of its projects. And environmentalists blame it for turning free-flowing rivers into lifeless canals and destroying millions of acres of wetlands -- usually in the name of flood control and navigation but mostly to satisfy Congress's appetite for pork.

This is a bad piece of legislation."

This article from 1993 looks at the response to Hurricane Andrew:
"Given our history, it's difficult to see why local authorities shouldn't have been able to plan for the aftermath of a hurricane–and to do so without any guidance from the federal government. In fact, if anything, the feds ought to be coming to us for help; we have more experience with hurricanes than they do.

There are certainly aspects of disaster relief–notably the need to clear terrain and establish quick logistical lines–for which the U.S. military is admirably suited. But its capabilities on the ground come at a hideous expense. Military bureaucracy, if anything, is even more costly and complex than its civilian counterpart. The Pentagon's 1992 budget was $313 billion, which consumed nearly 60 percent of discretionary federal spending. I, for one, was hoping to see a good portion of that turned back to taxpayers now that the Cold War is over.

But if the U.S. military is converted into a giant 911 rescue squad, not only will the Pentagon's budget fail to shrink, it may well grow. Imagine the endless intricacies involved in planning for the collapse of Boulder Dam, the meltdown of the Turkey Point nuclear reactor, an earthquake leveling Los Angeles, a typhoon striking Honolulu, a tidal wave hitting Houston. And it won't end there. Once you have a bureaucracy whose entire job is to envision catastrophes, its Cassandras won't stop at the mundane. What if a giant meteor squashed Phoenix? What if a gas leak permeated the New York sewer system and then exploded and the entire city caught fire? What if bubonic plague spread through the bats at Carlsbad Caverns, and then one night a freak wind carried them into El Paso? Of course, once all of these calamities are imagined, the disaster planners must be sure that they have the capacity to respond to each and every one.

This is the reason disaster planning is left to local authorities, who can best envision the kinds of misfortune that are likely to visit their communities and can best prepare for the likely results. To make one agency responsible for every conceivable cataclysm that might happen anywhere in America is to invite prodigious expense, followed closely by breathtaking sloth and then total paralysis."

Some other articles worth looking at from 2004, 2001, and 2003, respectively:
National Geographic Magazine

Scientific American article

link to Civil Engineering Magazine

By Blogger glorybound9, at 10:19 PM  

This DoD briefing from Saturday is relevant also:

The delay was in, if you want to call it a delay. I really don't call it a delay, I'll be honest about that. When we first went in there law enforcement was not the highest priority, saving lives was. You have to remember how this thing started. Before the hurricane hit there were 5,000 National Guardsmen in Mississippi and 5,000 National Guardsmen -- excuse me. Let me correct the record. There were 2,500 National Guardsmen in Mississippi and almost 4,000 National Guardsmen in Louisiana that were sheltered and taken out of the affected area so as soon as the storm passed they could immediately go into the area and start their search and lifesaving work, and stand up their command and control apparatus, and start standing up the vital functions that would be required such as providing food, water, shelter and security for the people of the town. So it was phased in. There was no delay.

The real issue, particularly in New Orleans, is that no one anticipated the disintegration or the erosion of the civilian police force in New Orleans. Once that assessment was made, that the normal 1500 man police force in New Orleans was substantially degraded, which contributed obviously to less police presence and less police capability, then the requirement became obvious and that's when we started flowing military police into the theater.

Q: So is it fair to say it is the National Guard that's keeping law and order in New Orleans?

GEN. BLUM: No. As long as there's one uniformed police officer in the city of New Orleans, we will send as many National Guard soldiers to augment, support and work in support of that lone law enforcement officer as necessary. So if hypothetically there's only one left, who's in charge? It's still that lone police officer supported by the National Guard in their role as military support to law enforcement.

We are not in the lead. We have no need nor intention of imposing martial law or having the military police the United States of America.

Q: General, two quick questions. One is, initially you said eventually there would be upwards of 30,000 National Guard troops in the affected states. Is that number still good, or will it go higher?

GEN. BLUM: Jamie, we’re so close to 30,000 right now that you could say 30,000.

Q: Is it going to go higher than that?

GEN. BLUM: Yes, it is.

Q: Any idea?

GEN. BLUM: My estimate is it's probably going to go to 40,000 to do all of the multiple tasks that need to be done simultaneously in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Q: One quick follow-up. Is it fair to say, using the convention center as an example, that one reason it took until Friday to get aid in is the National Guard needed time to build up a response team with military police to ensure law and order because the New Orleans Police Department had degraded so much?

GEN. BLUM: That is not only fair, it is accurate. You've concisely stated exactly what was needed, and I told you why. We took the time to build the right force. The outcome was superb. No lives hurt, nobody injured. It was done almost invisibly.

By Blogger glorybound9, at 8:09 AM  

This would also be extremely relevant:

The North Carolina mobile hospital stranded in Mississippi was developed through the Office of Homeland Security after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. With capacity for 113 beds, it is designed to handle disasters and mass casualties.

Equipment includes ultrasound, digital radiology, satellite Internet, and a full pharmacy, enabling doctors to do most types of surgery in the field, including open-chest and abdominal operations.

It travels in a convoy that includes two 53-foot trailers, which as of Sunday afternoon was parked on a gravel lot 70 miles north of New Orleans because Louisiana officials for several days would not let them deploy to the flooded city, Rich said.

Yet plans to use the facility and its 100 health professionals were hatched days before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, doctors in the caravan said.

By Blogger glorybound9, at 8:34 AM  

I know that this whole mess is extreemly complicated. As soon as whoever can be rescued is then I want Congress to investigate. To be honest many people fouled up. Those people whoever they are should be held accountable.

By Blogger Bill, at 3:07 PM  

Someone once said this:

"Tomorrow I will be delivering a sermon on God as water. We are spending the month talking about Renewal. I started thinking about water being the primary source of renewal for all of creation. Without water all things die. Yet the very thing that causes and brings back life (reclaiming a desert) can also be that which causes death and destruction.

So, if God is water (a metaphore used throught scripture to discribe God and what God does) and water causes both Renewal and Destruction, what does this say about God?"

Perhaps it is the other way around: that which causes death and destruction is the very thing that causes and brings back life; Psalm 84, "As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs". "Baca"=weeping, bewailing, tears. In New Orleans the most recently upgraded and completed levee wall is the one which had the most serious breach; the police force dissolves and unthinkable violence rules. You might even call it a removal of protection. The paucity of self-sufficiency is revealed. Is God calling this nation to Revival and Renewal? I pray for it every day. God's understanding is unfathomable, whether or not He would "cause" such destruction (or allow it to happen) is not debatable on a human level. The proper response is Job's, "I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted...I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

By Blogger glorybound9, at 4:13 PM  

Don't know why the link did not work. Here it is:

By Blogger glorybound9, at 4:17 PM  

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