Sunday, September 04, 2005

Where were the busses on August 28th?

Katrina recrimination is becoming something pf a national past time.

I thought it was inappropriate for the media to begin the political assessment of Katrina in the middle of last week - when conditions for tens of thousands in New Orleans were still life or death. But now that those victims in the New Orleans convention center and Superdome have been (or are being evacuated) to safer, livable shelter, I do think it is time we start assessing how we let what happened happen.

Especially after the 9/11 "My-Pet-Goat" fiasco, it is infuriating to see that the President was yucking it up with a Country music singer and an acoustic guitar as Katrina hit. Also, it is disturbing that the National Guard and FEMA took so long to respond, even after the levees broke.

But the most disturbing thing is the Government's failure to send busses on August 28th. As one blogger writes, our failure to "get busses to evacuate the 'least among us'" meant that, "for all practical purposes," they "were left to die."

Reading archived news from August 28-29 is, for me, chilling.

On Sunday, August 28th, the mayor New Orleans ordered a mandatory evacuation order.
He warned further about the expected Category 5 storm: "This is a threat that we've never faced before." Louisiana's Governor predicted that the city would lose power and water service and would likely see "intense flooding." Weather forecasters predicted a storm surge of 28 feet and reported that "the highest levees around New Orleans are 18 feet high."

Most disturbing: as early as Sunday, the national press was reporting that "between 20,000 and 25,000 [people]" who were unable to comply with the evacuation order were "lin[ing] up to take shelter in the Louisiana Superdome . . . ."

The bottom line is that our government knew or certainly should have known that this was going to be a terrible disaster. It also knew or should have known that thousands upon thousands of the poor would be left behind - with no car with which to comply with the mandatory evacuation order.

But it didn't send busses on the 28th. Why?

With the evidence above, I don't think "we didn't know" is a reasonable answer. I don't think there is an acceptable answer.

7 Comments:

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 1:00 PM, Blogger Marcus said...

It would have taken more than busses. There would have had to be military escorts, and police prepared to force the unwilling to get on the busses, and places to take all those people to, and preparations in advance to do for them all what will end up being done for the survivors.

But I agree all of that should have been planned and in place.

 
At 2:35 PM, Blogger ats54 said...

I really think this is going to end up being a "Now we know..." situation. Prior to September 11th, who knew to check for box cutters?

Having watched much of the hurricane footage on Monday - after the storm really hit - I found it odd that the Governor of Louisiana (Blanco) spent so much time on camera. I think she is the first person to pinpoint in the breakdown of aid. She was too busy talking to CNN to make any decisions about levees, evacuations, etc.

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger SteveJ said...

The plural of bus is buses. The word "busses" actually means "kisses."

 
At 2:23 PM, Blogger Infission said...

Yeah, I caught that a day after I posted. So much for writing a page in a half an hour.

 
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