Thursday, September 01, 2005

Where was the help?

Ever since I spent three years in the Air Force at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, I've been fascinated by Hurricanes. None of them hit the base while I was there, but 1957's Audrey caused the creeks to rise rather dramatically even though it went inland at Lake Charles, LA., a number of miles away. Then Camille hit in 1969 and wiped out the Gulf Coast. We have had experience with the big winds over a period of at least a hundred years (the big one hit Galveston in 1900). So now we are getting the post mortem, but I have a question to ask: why wasn't help in place to come into the coast as soon as the storm ended. Instead we are waiting on boats out of Virginia and National Guard from the states to organize enough to come into the destruction zone. What is taking so long? Why weren't the basic in place and ready to move as soon as the storm passed? We had days to prepare for what was foreseen as an even more destructive storm than actually occurred. Did no one expect people to act as they always do in a crisis? The majority shows its best side, the minority turns destructive. And is it truly looting if all someone wants is water and food from a store where they normally get it, even if there is no one to collect their money?

The New Orleans Times Picayune ran a series in June 2002 about the dangers to New Orleans of a direct hit by a major hurricane. National Geographic had an article about it several years ago. We were warned of what could happen. We knew that the area could be very hard hit. Granted, it seemed at first that New Orleans had been spared but that still meant the Gulf Coast would need help. Why wasn't that help ready to roll when the storm ended?


Blogger rosanna said...

As long as we are asking why, why, why, I might add a few of my own. Why did a commercial aircraft deliver me, a business traveler, to a city under an evacuation recommendation without a single word of warning. Once on the ground, as you can well imagine, I was trapped.

Why were the citizens of New Orleans lured to the Superdome with promises of help and safety but neither help nor safety materialized for days and days?

Why, when this catastrophe occurred on Monday following adequate warning, did the President of the United States on Friday announce that he was "going to get on top of this"?

Why was the City of New Orleans promised FEMA assistance but that assistance took days and days to arrive?

Why, after the tragedy of 911, do we have no better response to calamaties of this size? The citizens of the United States have been assured that measures and systems are in place to protect us and to respond to city-wide and region-wide emergencies but it appears that this is a cruel myth.

Why was the United States able to successfully evacuate Berlin but now has proven itself unable to help its own citizens?

Why do we have the technology to set up effective communications systems in short order anywhere in the world but we were unable to establish communication within our own borders to help the residents and visitors to the Gulf Coast region?

Why is our NATIONAL GUARD off fighting a war in a far-away land?

6:47 PM  
Blogger Chuck Rightmire said...

Now, that is a dandy and maybe a better set of whys than my own. And Rosanna, I read your post on Ed's blog and I think you should contact the airline and ask that why. They should have started diverting flights as soon as the evacuation was ordered or the NWS said the storm was headed for Norleens.

11:54 AM  
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1:52 PM  

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