I have not posted about the horrific events in New Orleans because I simply do not know what to say. I still don't.
My wife, a friend of hers, and I had dinner last night (after I got out of class) with some folks who were escapees of NO they had run into at a restaurant. Frankly, they were some of the really lucky ones - and their story was devastating.
But the main thing I'm feeling right now is anger. The federal emergancy response to what may be the biggest disaster in the United States in the last 50 years has been a catastrophic failure. And I'm outraged.
I am absolutely shocked by the lack of response/preperation for this. Granted, this is one of - if not the - biggest disaster in our nation in 50+ years. Having said that, it's stunning to me that they cannot get water to people. It's stunning to me that they cannot get medicine - or evacuate hospitals - or get police power in to control the crowds. The lack of response is stunning. Where is the military to help in crowd control, protection, and search and rescue? Where are the helicopters dropping bottled water at the convention center and superdome? Where are the big military vehicles hauling people out? There is a quote in that MSNBC article that was used over at CNN.com too - 'we are out here like pure animals.' It's true. People are dying all the place and no one seems able to help. There are so many people working as hard as they have ever worked to rescue people, get them help, or get them out. I'm not meaning to be critical of those efforts. But the organization and management of it has seemed atrocious. FEMA and mostly the department of homeland security are just looking amateur.
And related to the response management - today is worse in NO than yesterday. Thusday was worse than Wednesday. Wednesday was worse than Tuesday. Tuesday was severely worse than Monday. The situation in the city, and for the people still in there, is deteriorating every hour. At what point do they turn the corner? When was the last time that 72/96 hours after a horrific disaster the situation was dramatically worse than the moments after? In this day and age I would never have dreamed this could be the result.
This has been a catastrophic failure and people are going to have to take responsibility. As soon as the emergency situations are passed, Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff has to go. In addition, even though FEMA now reports to the Office of Homeland Security - director of FEMA Michael Brown has to go. Period. Last night the incompetant Brown went on CNN and said (a) things are going relatively well; and (b) the victims bear responsibility for their situation. Both outright lies. This guy should be fired today, forget waiting.
Where are the troops? Where are the supplies? Where are the helicopters? Where are the military trucks? Where is the bottled water? Where are the MREs?
The mayor of NO in an interview last night said, "They don't have a clue what's going on down there,...Excuse my French — everybody in America — but I am pissed."
I completely agree with him.