Has anyone else been shocked by the utter incompetence demonstrated by authorities in the aftermath of Katrina?
The Interdictor Blog
Three days ago, police and national guard troops told citizens to head toward the Crescent City Connection Bridge to await transportation out of the area. The citizens trekked over to the Convention Center and waited for the buses which they were told would take them to Houston or Alabama or somewhere else, out of this area.
It's been 3 days, and the buses have yet to appear.
Although obviously he has no exact count, he estimates more than 10,000 people are packed into and around and outside the convention center still waiting for the buses. They had no food, no water, and no medicine for the last three days, until today, when the National Guard drove over the bridge above them, and tossed out supplies over the side crashing down to the ground below. Much of the supplies were destroyed from the drop. Many people tried to catch the supplies to protect them before they hit the ground. Some offered to walk all the way around up the bridge and bring the supplies down, but any attempt to approach the police or national guard resulted in weapons being aimed at them.
There are many infants and elderly people among them, as well as many people who were injured jumping out of windows to escape flood water and the like -- all of them in dire straights.
Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint. Hour after hour they watch buses pass by filled with people from other areas. Tensions are very high, and there has been at least one murder and several fights. 8 or 9 dead people have been stored in a freezer in the area, and 2 of these dead people are kids.
The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.
The buses never stop.
Before the supplies were pitched off the bridge today, people had to break into buildings in the area to try to find food and water for their families. There was not enough. This spurred many families to break into cars to try to escape the city. There was no police response to the auto thefts until the mob reached the rich area -- Saulet Condos -- once they tried to get cars from there... well then the whole swat teams began showing up with rifles pointed. Snipers got on the roof and told people to get back.
He reports that the conditions are horrendous. Heat, mosquitoes and utter misery. The smell, he says, is "horrific."
He says it's the slowest mandatory evacuation ever, and he wants to know why they were told to go to the Convention Center area in the first place; furthermore, he reports that many of them with cell phones have contacts willing to come rescue them, but people are not being allowed through to pick them up.
"About 100 people have died at the Chalmette Slip after being pulled off their rooftops, waiting to be ferried up the river to the West Bank and bused out of the flood ravaged area, U.S. Rep. Charles Melancon, D-Napoleonville, said Thursday.
"About 1,500 people were at the slip on Thursday afternoon, where critical supplies like food and water are scarce, he said. Melancon expressed serious frustration with the slow pace of getting these items to the people waiting to finish their journey to safety.
Doctors, patients and staff are stranded at Baptist Hospital (extended campus of Memorial Hospital). My brother, Dr. Bryant King, is stranded there and has been sending occassional text messages to let us know the situation.
Yesterday, he explained that management at the hospital decided to selectively withhold food and water from patients. Doctors are being forced to decide who gets to live and who will starve to death. The hospital is surrounded by 8 ft of flood water; there is no more electricity, food or water. Windows are broken out and people are starving.
There has been very little press about this hosptial, but conditions are deplorable and they need to be evacuated. My brother asked that we please get them out of there. Please let the press know that Baptist Hospital (2700 Napolean Blv) is BEGGING FOR HELP!!!
I just received a phone call from my sister about Methodist Hospital, she has just informed me that FEMA is not helping them at all. They are out of water, food, and diesel fuel for the generator. If we don't get media attention I am afraid that something horrible will happen to my parents and everyone at the hospital.
There are 700 people in the 3rd floor lobby, about 50 or staff, and around 50-60 patients (a few have been evacuated but the rest died). They did have helicopters evacuating patients, but now they are refusing (by the way the helicopters were being paid for by the hospital parent company UHC).
The fact that people are dying en-mass of thirst, diabetic shock(due to lack of food and/or insulin) and lack of medicines in 21st century America is extraordinary. Heads should roll and governments fall with incompetence of this magnitude.Quote:
1300 Still Trapped at University Hospital
Latest text message from inside the hospital: ''Water dropping. Gunshots. Not safe.''
Through text messages and intermittent cell phone calls I have learned that 1300 patients and staff remain trapped mere blocks from the SuperDome at the University Hospital on Gravier Street. My girlfriend of 15 years is a 3rd OB/GYN resident there.
No power, food or water for 48+ hours.
Many dead are reported in the hospital.
No helipad exists.
No word from the outside world on a rescue or a plan.
The stench is said to be unbearable.
Some authorities have tried to blame their pathetic response on violence. Maybe they should call in the MSF, UN or ICRC, all of which run hospitals, refugee camps and disaster relief in far more dangerous locations around the world. Of course, if they had done their job effectively, the level of violence would be much reduced.
They just announced, on the scanner, that University Hospital has been evacuated. Better late than never.