Sunday, September 04, 2005

The poor, abandoned

“One of the Worst Abandonments of Americans on American Soil Ever”

The president of Jefferson Parish in New Orleans, Aaron Broussard, just issued an emotional appeal on NBC’s Meet the Press. By the end, he was completely broken down, sobbing uncontrollably.

RUSSERT: You just heard the director of homeland security’s explanation of what has happened this last week. What is your reaction?


We have been abandoned by our own country. Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast. But the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history. … Whoever is at the top of this totem pole, that totem pole needs to be chainsawed off and we’ve got to start with some new leadership.

It’s not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now.'

Broussard then discussed the difficulties local authorities had with FEMA, including one case where they actually posted armed guards to keep FEMA from cutting their communications lines:

'Three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn’t need them. This was a week ago. FEMA, we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. When we got there with our trucks, FEMA says don’t give you the fuel. Yesterday — yesterday — FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards and said no one is getting near these lines…

Finally, Broussard told the tragic personal story of a colleague, and broke down:

'I want to give you one last story and I’ll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I’m in, Emergency Management, he’s responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?” and he said, “Yeah, Mama, somebody’s coming to get you.” Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday… and she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night! [Sobbing] Nobody’s coming to get us. Nobody’s coming to get us'

Listen to the inerview with the Mayor fo New Orleans here - click on the jukebox - top right - option 3 - ''electrifying Nola - Mayor radio interview.''

I wonder how fast they would have got over there with aid if it was Martha's Vineyard or the Hamptons that got totalled


Anonymous D said...

With Bush's ratings plummeting over Eye-rak too, it's a godawful shame the US presidential elections weren't this year instead of last. We've got three and a half more years of that goon running the world.

September 05, 2005 11:35 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so terrible. I feel so sad for all those poor people.

September 05, 2005 6:32 pm  
Anonymous seth said...

hi rachel,

im shocked beyond words...this isnt the united states i looks like haiti,somalia or some other third-world country. i agree with d...but were stuck with bush,and even if he left,we would have cheney whos even worse.

on a somewhat positive note,nyc police and firefighters are on the way to new orleans....and an interfaith group of both christians and jews left last saturday evening from nyc in trucks and vans carrying everything from water and diapers to games for the children.

also,everyone from the local stores to the big supermarkets is taking up collections. i do know that ny state has sent the red cross a check for $2.5 million (US) and that ny is one of about 25 states that have offered to take in refugees from n.o. as texas is housing around 250,000 and has no more room.

i am thinking of going down to NO with a group of friends to see what i can do as i have the vacation time.

sorry for the long post,take care and be well.


September 06, 2005 5:48 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Good on you Seth.

Help offers are coming in from more than 50 countries, including places hit by the Tsunami.

Most of the on the ground help seems to be from ordinary people - from neighbouring states or from church groups - rushing in to provide practical help. Ordinary people are really coming through for the people affected by katrina it seems, which is something to be proud of.

As to the current blame game and buck passing from the administration, that is something to be less proud of. I see Bush is heading the enquiry into what went wrong. Well, that's good, we'll certainly get a searing,rigorous non-partisan full analysis won't we? Hmmm.

September 07, 2005 1:28 pm  
Anonymous seth said...

hi rachel,

just found out that NO ONE is allowed in NO unless they are part of an authorized group or were sitting tight.

there has been talk here of chartering private buses to get people out who want to leave...but the logistics of that one have yet to be figured out.i cant understand for the life of me why anyone would want to stay there given the current dangers and horrors.


September 08, 2005 2:54 am  

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