Cynthia's Interests

The world as it unfolds - told from an African American woman's perspective...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Who Is To Blame For This Fiasco?

The big question I have is why didn't Mayor Nagin evacuate the poor?

The City of New Orleans has a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, why wasn't it implemented? Especially since Katrina was expected to hit land as a Category 5. According to this article, had it not been for a puff of dry air that came out of the Midwest, weakening the hurricane to a 4 just before it reached land and pushing it slightly to the east (an act of God I would say) off its original trajectory to New Orleans, the damage would have been extensive. For this reason, I think Mayor Nagin should be held accountable for not evacuating those who were too poor to leave.

According to the NBC news today, there were enough school buses to evacuated at least 13,000 people and 200 of those buses were left in the path of Katrina. We all know that Bush said the whole region affected would be eligible for disaster relief before the storm even hit the gulf coast, therefore we can't use the argument that Nagin didn't have the resources. So again I must ask, why were these people left to die? The monies would have been reimbursed.

Even though Katrina was downgraded to a 4, New Orleans would have still been devastated. Neither the levees nor the Superdome could withstand the force of a storm the size of Katrina. Before, the trajectory shifted to the east by that act of God from the Midwest, New Orleans instead of the Gulf Coast of Mississippi would have been submerged underwater because of the 28 - 30ft storm surged from Katrina, which would have killed most, if not all the people left in the city. In that case, Mayor Nagin would have been completely responsible and that would have been the end of the story. We would have watched in horror, as the superdome would have been a floating morgue (so to speak) and everyone remained would have perished. Since the severity of the storm was known in ample time to evacuate everyone, you really have to wonder why anyone was left behind to die.

If I hadn't found this site about FEMA devising an evacuation plan in 2004 for New Orleans, which also states they had intentions on leaving New Orleans' poor behind too, I would have said Mayor Nagin dropped the ball by himself. However, if you couple Mayor Nagin's and FEMA's actions with the ineptitude and slow response of the Bush Administration after the storm, then it becomes clearer to many that the poor were intentionally left to die. There is no way that America is this unprepared to handle a disaster of any kind.

Excerpt from FEMA's evacuation exercise...

During the five-day exercise, FEMA envisioned that the fictitious category 3 "Hurricane Pam" slammed into New Orleans, deluging the area in enough water to top the levees and flood the city. Groups representing approximately 50 government agencies worked out action plans in July 2004 to deal with search and rescue, establishing shelters, debris clean-up, pumping water out of the city and even getting schools back up and running after the storm.

Though officials involved in the scenario acknowledged that tens of thousands of residents would be without the means to evacuate New Orleans in the absence of government help, the Hurricane Pam scenario teams did not determine strategies for evacuating people ahead of time. Instead, officials predicted that only one-third of the city’s residents would make it out in time and designed their response plan around that assumption.

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