Reflections on the Hurricane Katrina Disaster

There has been much discussion in the media about the 2005 natural disaster better known as Hurricane Katrina.

One of our forum members mentioned to me that this would make an interesting discussion in our forum. Let’s see how it goes.

This is a very emotional subject so please be respectful.

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How was the Katrina disaster handled?

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New Orleans area government officials started this fiasco rolling when they failed to have an evacuation plan in effect that provided transportation to the known 100-150 thousand people without their own way out of the area. Public transportation and school busses should have been used to get people out. The tragic and unneccesary scene that is playing out should never have been required to begin with as far as rescue and body recovery. The people should have beed required to leave the area. Hospitals and assisted living facilities should also have evacuated the patients and residents before the problems occurred. Everyone can scream about how slow help is to come but it wasn’t even possible to get into the area with conventional transportation until paths could be cleared. America and americans are doing the most they possibly can - come more than others. We need to quit the blame and name calling and dig deep to help those who are unable to help themselves through no fault of their own.

I think the government did a horrible job of reacting to the disaster causing hundreds if not thousands of people their lives.

Most of the individuals who died were poor people who could not afford to leave the state in advance.

A high percentage of them aren’t voters anyway so who cares right? Obviously not the government!

Well, I am Canadian, and Our government officials had all the reserves and planes ready to go as soon as we all knew of the devestation.(the next morning)
Bush said “No thank you”.
This happened to many other countries also.

And then it took them 5 days to get help in there. No reason for this at all.

My sister lives in Magee Missippi and even the local officials in the town she lives in did not request help until about 4 days after the storm. She is 120 miles inland so the situation there was not quite as bad but they were without food and water along with the rest of the coast. People are now coming in with some food and water but you have to have cash to get it and at this point, being the first of the month all their money is sitting in a bank somewhere and they have no access to it. she has a debit card and a check book which does her and her family no good because there is no access to cash machines right now and no one will accept checks. But Thank God they are ok and my prayers are with the familys that have lost loved ones.

The response to help the people affected by Hurrican Katrina is atrocious!! Whoever is in charge of getting the help to the people should be fired on the spot! Fema is a waste of time!! People here in Florida are having to sue Fema because they’re still living in trailers after the hurricane’s last year! Here it’s hurricane season again and people in Florida still haven’t got their houses fixed from last year and now those poor people in New Orleans who have suffered for close to a week after the storm before help comes! My heart goes out to them!! Fema knew this storm was big and there was going to be major damage from it and they wait almost a week after the storm! They should have been waiting with supplies for the storm to pass and get right in there with aid!!! There have been senseless deaths due to this!!![/list]

Edgmond1 had it exactly right. The City of New Orleans lays in ruins today because of the corruption and greed of the Mayor and City Council. DO NOT blame the Federal Government for this hideous screwup. For several reasons, like; No human being, be they President, Senator, Chief Justice or Director of Homeland Security can do a damned thing about the path a hurricane chooses to follow. Contrary to what the hysterical, duplicitous, Radical Left, Bush-haters scream at you, George W. Bush did not huff and puff and blow down all of those houses - alone or with others to help; New Orleans has had an evacuation plan as long as 12 years ago and have made improvements ever since. Truth is the venial Mayor of New Orleans didn’t give a damn, and no doubt hoped a LOT of white people would be killed if the hurricane hit N…O.; The Governor - as equally corrupt as the Mayor - was totally indifferent and deliberately withheld relief agencies from entering the area until it was too late for many to survive. These are the TRUTHS about Katrina’s effect on the Gulf Coast.

I am sad to say that the entire handling of this disaster, except for the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, was a travesty. I used to be in rescue work and know that FEMA used to be a very compentent and tremendous agency. Since it was consolidated with the Homeland Security Dept, it has become inept and ineffectual. Had they still been an entity unto their own as before, this would have never happened. Also, the city, states and federal goverments let down all those people in a huge way. Now they will have to atone for what they DIDN’T do in the past that could have prevented a large amount of this problem. Plus, there were too many Chiefs and not enough Indieans, so to speak. Everyone wanted to give their news conferences and be seen in the devastated areas. but you didn’t see them really doing anything. Now is not the time for show-boating. ALL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY AND START REALLY HELPING!!! There was NO excuse for all those stranded, elderly, infirm people and ones who weren’t in that shape, to die like they did. Some of those nursing homes and hospices and assisted living homes should have been the first to be looked into. The powers to be in this country need to hang their heads in shame for what they allowed to happen after this disaster. Makes you wonder what would happen if the US as attacked or has a huge terrorist attack, doesn’t it? IT’S REALLY SCARY TO THINK ABOUT THE CONSEQUENSES.[/size]

I think the city was very slow in evacuating the city, the first call for help should have been local leaders, then the state, and then the federal government should have stepped in. I blame the local and state more than then the federal government, they knew what the area would withstand muck more than Washington DC :?

I lived in New Orleans 45 years ago and at that time was told that if a major hurricane hit the city we would be under 18 feet of water. Just what did the city and/or state government do for the past 45 years? Was there NO disaster preparedness? NO evacuation plan? NO plan “B” in case a levee did not hold? NO plans for accomodating the thousands of people who could not get out of the city? And when Katrina was forcast to most probably hit the city with at least a Cat. 4 hurricane, just what did the so-called Mayor do? Ordered the people to go to the Superdome WITHOUT planning for and providing any provisions or sanitary facilities when he knew they would be there several days at the very least. He could have bussed many thousands of people out of the city proper to dry land and safety from the floods. There are pictures of both city and school busses parked in lots going nowhere. This would not only have saved lives, but saved the busses from being ruined in the floods. Now he has the audacity to blame Federal Government agencies for not responding quickly enough! Shame on his own City and State government including the Governor of Louisiana. And where did this so-called Mayor go for safety? NOT to the Superdome but to the Hyatt house - MUCH safer and cleaner there than the Superdome wasn’t it? Mr. Mayor and Ms. Governor, both of you should hang your heads in shame or at least publicly own up to your mistakes and inadequate service to the people who voted for you and trusted you!!![/b]

Having gone thru 3 hurricanes last year in Fl I know what it is like to have to “get ready” and “evacuate”.Luckly we had little damage to our house and belongings. I also know how much it is now costing us in raised insurance rates and local goverment budget cuts to cover the cost of the storms. I still see the blue tarp covered roofs even after 1 year :!: I think that the blame starts with the local goverments and then on up. It is up to the local area goverments to follow their disaster plans then for FEMA to step in after and help. That is why LOCAL areas have disaster plans b/c every area is different in their needs, as much as the MAYOR of New Orlean’s blasted everyone it was his downfall in following the local disaster plans that put so many citizens at risk in the first place. All day the Suday before it hit our news here was showing what could happen with a storm of that size going into New Orleans so I am sure it was no suprise to that area when it did happen. Why when the routes were accessiable were the hospitals, nursing homes and jails not evacuated?

Thanks for agreeing with me on the blame starting with the local city government. Saw the Mayor on Oprah today and all he did was blame the Federal Govt. for not sending help immediately - and she agreed with him, too!!

I also live in Central Fla. and went through the three hurricanes last year, the eye of the last one going right over my town. We were prepared for all three long before they hit!

I’m having a really tough time believing that this country could respond in a timely manner to a terrorist attack, when American citizens in our own country were left in such deplorable conditions for so many days. How secure are we to feel about this “War on Terror” when at this moment people are dying of hurricane related conditions right here in the Grand Ole US of A? I have always had my doubts about this administrations motives and concerns, and unfortunately I feel my doubts have been substanciated. If this catastrophe had affected an oil bearing region, I doubt relief would have been so delayed. The almighty dollar is what this county now stands for as far as our leaders are concerned, and dammed are those who don’t have an economic value. We will continue to ban together as human beings with conscience and heart, because this tragedy affects all of us that care to open our hearts and do what we can to help our own. White House, Government or not, the human element will care for each other. That’s what being an American means. God Bless and keep these victims from further harm, and let us as human beings, and Americans, reach out to those that are so desperately in need.

I am very disapointed in the way the emergency efforts were handled. Not just disapointed, downright @!#$*. What was the local, state and federal goverments thinking by waiting. What could have possibly been the advantage of saying ‘lets just see what happens!’ I know that I am not on that side of the fence or anything. But I was in hurricane Hugo and I just gave up and moved after about months of fighting. I hope and pray that the survivors of this disaster get the help that they need as soon as possible. If they don’t I would think it would be time for a reevaluation of the aid structure on all levels.

I think that someone should have known this would happen and should have been prepared. It could have been avoided . There was know reason for theses people to have to go though this. I mean we can take care of other Countrys why can’t we take care of your own? I just doesn’t make any sense. :?: :evil:

All that I have to say is shame on ALL levels of government for neither proactive nor reactive to what has happened. I am currently on travel in Toulouse, France and even people here are outraged at the fact that the “most powerful country” in the world had such a delayed response in helping her own people on her own soil.

While we are powerless to determine and define path of a hurricane, we are NOT powerless to help our own people before, during or after it comes. We, not only as Americans, but as human beings should have done more sooner than we did.

I am from the Houston area, and before I left town, I went to the Astrodome with as much canned food, water, baby food and formula, tylenol, ect. as I could afford and handed it out to the people MYSELF! Most assuredly, the same people (not refugees) will still be in my hometown when I return, and I plan on doing the same thing again. I am fortunate enough that even when Allison hit the Texas Gulf Coast, I was not displaced, nor did I incurr any property damage. These people were not so fortunate. And then, their own government ignores them.

SHAME ON ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT!!! I know that they did not allow the hurricane to hit, but they have allowed a lax response to their own suffering people.

And don’t get me started on the comment that Mrs. Bush made about them already being “underprigileged” and this not really being any different [sic]

I tend to agree with some of the previous postings on this matter. It seems like there were problems with follow thru on the local level for evacuation plans that were written and in place. FEMA is not a first response agency. We are drawing together as a nation to help those who lost everything thru monetary donations, tangible goods, and opening our communities to displaced families. I think the problems of the levees possible breaking should have been dealt with years ago, but due to the high financial cost, it was ignored. Perhaps we as a nation can learn something from this?

Sorry, Mary37, but are you not aware that this was a NATURAL DISASTER? True, had the criminally incompentant, guilty MAYOR reacted in time, and put those busses to use on SUNDAY a lot of lives would have been saved, but the damage would not have been prevented. That is the cause of 40 years of pocket-lining by corrupt DEMOCRAT politicians in New Orleans and the Capitol in Baton Rouge. Man could not prevent the physical forces that resulted in property damage any more than he could cause the Global Warming. We are entering about the 100th cycle of Global Warming (there was a notable one in the 1300s that allowed Western Europe to emerge from a frozen wasteland and become semi-civilized) and naturally with it comes changes in the weather patterns. Don’t blame the Federal Government. They had nothing to do with it. I know you are aching to lay this at the feet of the President, but he has shown he is the “Teflon Prez” before and will again. So stop quoting total phonies like Opra and supporting idiot politicians as Mayor Naise(?).

Mark II

Hey, JudieZ, I have friends who also lived in last year’s Hurricane Alley. They were required to evacuate LONG before the storms hit. It could have been done in New Orleans – maybe not ALL could have gotten out but at least the non-criminal element could have been removed. My friends have since moved to a new home.

As to your observations on the corrupt, incompetant MAYOR of New Orleans, they’re right on. Considering that he and Opra are of the same political persuasion, it’s not supprising she agreed with him. They both HATE George W. Bush, they are both “soft” on Terrorists, which makes me wonder if the Mayor arranged this as a test to see what his al-Qaeda friends could expect when they next hit this country.

Mark II

Having just returned from helping prepare and serve meals to well over 675 people and trying to help care for over 165 children who were displaced due to Hurricane Katrina, this is a subject very close to me. Talking to some of the people at the shelter is one of the most heart breaking things I have ever done. One was a four year old little boy who said his house was broken. He said “It broke when the tornado (hurricane) blew off the roof and all our stuff flew away. And my daddy is in heaven with my teddy bear”.

Pointing fingers is not the answer. We need to handle the problems associated with all the displaced Americans (not refugees). They are tired, hungry, dazed, confused and homeless. They are asking who is to blame. They are asking what am I going to do? Where am I going to go? How can I find out if my mother, father, brother (etc) is alive and where they are? How will I support my family? Are there any jobs here?

Is Mayor Nagin to blame for the New Orleans fiasco? YES Is Govenor Blanco to blame? YOU BETCHA. Is the federal government to blame for waiting so long to act? OF COURSE! New Orleans was not the only area affected although they suffered the worst outcome after Katrina left when the levees broke. No one in their wildest dreams could have predicted the devastation that occured along the Gulf Coast but we were warned that it would be catastrophic. Those with the means evacuated and most of them are homeless. But what needs to be addressed is how to feed, clothe, get medical attention and house everyone in need. There will be plenty of time for figuring out later what went wrong and try to correct it so it doesn’t happen again, but we have people who need our help now. If we just sit back and have that "somebody ought help those people"attitude SHAME ON US. It makes us no better and certainly just as bad as the powers that should have been taking care of this. We are the SOMEBODIES of the world and, as such, need to step up to the plate and pitch in with all our might. Supplies are in demand but cash is in even shorter supply.

The effect of this natural disaster will be felt long after the memories begin to fade and I, for one, want to know that I contributed to the solution and not the problem.