Tomorrow, I leave for Florida with Rachel to spend a vacation in Disney World. It feels very weird thinking that I am headed to the â€˜happiest place on earthâ€™ while knowing the devastation in New Orleans. The descriptions coming from inside the area are hellish at best. One man who is in charge of OC4 internet crisis control has become one of the most well known informants since he has been able to sustain an internet connection. Known as the Interdictor, the stories on his blog about the crime, the spread of corpses, and the rampant neglect by the National Guard are numbing, as if the articles on CNN and Reuters were not enough.
My friend, Molly, contacted me today and asked if I wanted to go help with the relief crews. I have to admit, Iâ€™ve thought about it more than once. While I continue to think about it, however, I am doing what those in the relief crews ask: donating money. If you feel so inclined, please help by making a donation to the Red Cross or other relief organization.
These donations are an incredible asset as our current administration continues to struggle with helping those in New Orleans. Normally, under these circumstances, I would leave all finger pointing behind. Bush, however, brought it upon himself in a speech that just makes my blood seethe. On ABC (via the BBC), Bush said:
I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did appreciate a serious storm but these levees got breached and as a result much of New Orleans is flooded and now we’re having to deal with it and will.
Itâ€™s one thing to stay quiet and another to lie in the face of so many deaths! But, I guess Bush has a track record of it.
In 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country.
In 2004, National Geographic did an entire article on what would happen in a hurricane disaster in New Orleans. The detail is prophetically chilling.
Scientists around the world have been declaring New Orleansâ€™ environmental damage a huge problem for years.
Even worse, the money set aside to prevent this problem back in 1995 was funneled out of the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (SELA) beginning in 2003 in order to go towards the war in Iraq, the one we knowingly entered under false assumptions.
If that was not enough, Scott McClellan had the gall in a press conference today to state that those who have not received food, water, and medicine have ways to get it. Anyone watching CNN knows there are thousands of people stuck in New Orleans, told not to leave their houses so that they do not get mugged or raped, who are getting no help. He also refused to give answers to tough questions about white house budget cuts to SELA and other organizations.
Let us continue to keep those in New Orleans in our prayers and support them through our aid. When everyone has been taken care of, let us remember to return and focus on how this could have been better prevented so we do not repeat the mistakes of our predecessors.
Update (09/02/2005): Hunter wrote a moving article today called ‘Left Behind‘ about the situation in New Orleans. Apparently, the thousands told to go to the the Convention Center still have not received adequate aid with the young and elderly now dying of dehydration. Also, here is another 2004 article about why FEMA is unable to cope with this natural disaster due to cuts by the Bush administration.