Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hurricane Katrina responses

After my recent post on hurricane Katrina, I have since found many bloggers and journalists who share the same view (different means in some cases but the same result).
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Let's examine some examples:
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1. Perfect.co.uk says:
"It’s clear that no one in the vicinity of New Orleans is serious about organising a relief or a rescue. I hope I’m wrong, but it now looks as though the ‘lawful authorities’ in Louisiana are about to ‘do a Fallujah’ on whoever remains. This in response to reports of lawlessness that media outlets have so far been unable to corroborate with filmed footage. Is the flooded city really a nest of outlaw snipers where no policeman can safely go?

God will sort the dead, perhaps. I wonder if God’s a racist. Many of his followers seem to be. If not that, the best that can be said is that those in charge are
disordered, in a state of panic and reacting to rumours rather than facts. Expect the worst."
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2. Boing Boing says:
"The poorest 20% (you can argue with the number — 10%? 18%? no one knows) of the city was left behind to drown. This was the plan. Forget the sanctimonious bullshit about the bullheaded people who wouldn’t leave. The evacuation plan was strictly laissez-faire [less government interference]. It depended on privately owned vehicles, and on having ready cash to fund an evacuation. The planners knew full well that the poor, who in new orleans are overwhelmingly black, wouldn’t be able to get out. The resources — meaning, the political will — weren’t there to get them out."
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3. Paul Krugman of the New York times and a well respected Economist says:
"Thousands of Americans are dead or dying, not because they refused to evacuate, but because they were too poor or too sick to get out without help - and help wasn’t provided. Many have yet to receive any help at all."
"Each day since Katrina brings more evidence of the lethal ineptitude of federal officials....Here's one of many examples: The Chicago Tribune reports that the U.S.S. Bataan, equipped with six operating rooms, hundreds of hospital beds and the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of fresh water a day, has been sitting off the Gulf Coast since last Monday - without patients.

Experts say that the first 72 hours after a natural disaster are the crucial window during which prompt action can save many lives. Yet action after Katrina was anything but prompt. Newsweek reports that a "strange paralysis" set in among Bush administration officials, who debated lines of authority while thousands died."
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4. The BBC says:
"The only difference between the chaos of New Orleans and a Third World disaster operation, he said, was that a foreign dictator would have responded better. It has been a profoundly shocking experience for many across this vast country [USA] who, for the large part, believe the home-spun myth about the invulnerability of the American Dream."
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5. Perfect.co.uk also says:
"The commander of the Louisiana National Guard certainly knows his mission (“to take this city [NO] back” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. “This place is going to look like Little Somalia,” Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard’s Joint Task Force).
...the US government now seems to have woken up to the fact that racist weekend warriors don’t necessarily make the best humanitarian relief workers and is also sending in professionals from out of town.Unbelievable."
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6. Harry's place in his post Katrina evaluations says:
"Race and (especially) class still matter in this country [USA], as we are reminded rudely by events of this nature."
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Well there you have it.

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