Monday, September 05, 2005

Rubbing Salt into Fresh Wounds

A body floats in New Orleans (from CNN)
All disasters are local. That's a matter of course. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis all have a locus, and the emergency response to it begins there. But once it becomes obvious that the local government can not manage an adequate life-saving response, it becomes FEMA's responsibility. We've seen our government respond quickly to international crises, even to Florida hurricanes that left fewer dead and did less damage. Something horrific happened in New Orleans. From Tuesday through Friday of last week, the entire world was filled with a numbing dread elicited by the staggering ignorance and monumental incompetence of the Bush response team. The world turned its eyes to Washington-- not to Mayor Nagin, not to Governor Blanco, but to George Bush. As it should have. He and his conservative politics failed our nation in the most disgraceful manner possible. Now, his team tries to shift blame to the locals, and by doing so, merely rub salt into the fresh wounds. Absolutely nothing is beneath this team of transmogrified humans.
The following is the text of the weather service announcement of Sunday, August 28th. Any member of the Bush team pleading ignorance or blaming locals should be summarily fired, and the president should be impeached for dereliction of duty. Everyone should keep a copy of this for future reference, as the Bush administration revises history for its own survival.
UPDATED FOR FULL TEXT OF NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005

...DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED...

.HURRICANE KATRINA...A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED
STRENGTH...RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.

MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. AT
LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL
FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL...LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY
DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.

THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL.
PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD
FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE
BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME
WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.

HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A
FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.

AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH
AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY
VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE
ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE
WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.

POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN
AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY
THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW
CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE
KILLED.

UPDATE: I just found this little FEMA item while I was searching for the full text of the National Weather Service Message of 8/28/05--

Copyright 2005 States News Service
States News Service
August 28, 2005 Sunday
666 words

HOMELAND SECURITY PREPPING FOR DANGEROUS HURRICANE KATRINA
States News Service
WASHINGTON
The following information was released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency is warning residents along Gulf Coast states to take immediate action to prepare for dangerous Hurricane Katrina as it approaches land.
"There's still time to take action now, but you must be prepared and take shelter and other emergency precautions immediately," said Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response. "FEMA has pre-positioned many assets including ice, water, food and rescue teams to move into the stricken areas as soon as it is safe to do so."
Landfall is currently expected late Sunday evening, with the eye of the storm arriving Monday morning.
On Saturday, President Bush has declared an emergency for the states of Louisiana and Mississippi opening up FEMA's ability to move into the state and assist the state and local governments with mobilizing resources and preparations to save lives and property from the impact of Hurricane Katrina. FEMA is moving supplies of generators, water, ice and food into the region for immediate deployment once the storm passes. FEMA's Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) and Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) are also staged for immediate response anywhere in the region. The funding and direct federal assistance will assist law enforcement with evacuations, establishing shelters and other emergency protective measures.
FEMA has deployed USAR teams from Tennessee, Missouri and Texas to stage in Shreveport, LA.. USAR teams from Indiana and Ohio are staged in Meridian, MS. Two teams each from Florida and Virginia and one team from Maryland are on alert at their home stations.
A total of 18 DMATs have been deployed to staging areas in Houston, Anniston and Memphis. There are 9 full DMATs (35 members per team) and 9 strike teams (5 members per team) in these staging areas.
Both Mississippi and Louisiana have mandatory evacuation orders in place for some areas. National Guard troops have been deployed to assist law enforcement in evacuations.
Meanwhile, in Florida, joint federal-state-local damage assessments continue in the heavily impacted areas of south Florida from Hurricane Katrina's impact on Thursday. The joint damage assessment teams are expected to finish much of their work on Sunday. Assessment teams are not only looking at whether structural damage to communities and individual homes and property exists, but also to what extent private insurance and other federal agency and volunteer organization programs will cover any damage found. This will help determine the need for a federal disaster declaration or if state and local resources can cover the remaining needs. The state of Florida has opened distribution centers in Homestead and Miami for commodities of ice, water and food. Power outages continue to be addressed and shelters are open for those in need.
FEMA's Regional Offices in Atlanta, Georgia, and Denton, Texas, are monitoring Hurricane Katrina's progress through the Gulf and are closely coordinating with Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama state Emergency Operations Centers. FEMA Advance Emergency Response Teams have been deployed to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. FEMA has also sent Mobile Emergency Response Support vehicles to Mississippi and Louisiana. Eighteen Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) and 3 Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) task forces have been deployed to the region for further dispatch when needed.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.
August 30, 2005

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