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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Wasted Buses [Politics]

This photo shows a yard full of school buses in New Orleans, neatly parked in rows, partly submerged.

Courtesy of Yahoo!

This text is from the City of New Orleans own web page, from the "Comprehensive Plans: Hurricanes" section.

The City of New Orleans will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas. Those evacuated will be directed to temporary sheltering and feeding facilities as needed. When specific routes of progress are required, evacuees will be directed to those routes. Special arrangements will be made to evacuate persons unable to transport themselves or who require specific life saving assistance. Additional personnel will be recruited to assist in evacuation procedures as needed.

Slow developing weather conditions (primarily hurricane) will create increased readiness culminating in an evacuation order 24 hours (12 daylight hours) prior to predicted landfall. Disabled vehicles and debris will be removed from highways so as not to impede evacuation. In local evacuations involving more than fifty (50) families (i.e. 50 single dwelling units), staging areas may be established at the closest available public area outside the threatened area. Upon arrival at the staging area, evacuees will be directed to the appropriate shelter facility. Evacuees will be encouraged to stay with friends or relatives in non-threatened areas whenever possible. Security measures will be employed to protect the evacuated area(s) in accordance with established procedures and situations.

The use of travel-trailers, campers, motorcycles, bicycles, etc., during the evacuation will be allowed so long as the situation permits it. Public information broadcasts will include any prohibitions on their use. Transportation will be provided to those persons requiring public transportation from the area. (See Special Needs Transportation, ESF-1). An orderly return to the evacuated areas will be provided after the Mayor determines the threat to be terminated. Transportation back to the evacuated area after threat termination will be provided as available.
The mayor of New Orleans is ranting that George Bush, FEMA, and the military didn't do enough. But according to his own plan, New Orleans officials were supposed to arrange for emergency transportation for "special needs" persons--such as hospital patients, the mentally ill, and the elderly.

Why are those school buses parked in the city bus yard? Why weren't they used before Katrina hit to get the poor and the sick out of New Orleans?

FEMA may have reacted slowly. But the first line of defense for the people of New Orleans was the city government, and it wasn't ready or wasn't able to meet the challenge.

(HT: JunkYardBlog)


Ray said...

Amen Brother!
Lots of money for sports arenas but none for emergency transportation and stockpiles of food, water and medicine.

DT said...

I just posted something similar over on Carpundit but figured I'd share. I'm really amazed at how right leaning people are all blaming the mayor and all left leaning people are blaming Bush. When it seems there were a lot of "perfect storm" conditions that led to most of this and I don't mean the weather.

New Orleans' “incompetent” mayor doesn't explain Biloxi and the entire Miss coast being ignored either. But blame the mayor of new Orleans for everything that happened. My stunning example was if it was possible for Harry Connick Jr. to fly in and for all these reporters to drive in the day after, how was it impossible to get troops there? The reality is it wasn’t hard. They weren’t told. They either weren’t told by FEMA (my guess) or the President (probably assuming the govt was doing its job). It is that simple. The Gen. in charge of NE command or whatever said they were mobilized and in place before the storm. But no one is explaining what took them 3 days to get there? I’m talking Tuesday when we all saw the flooding and convention center (oh all of us but the FEMA director) why weren’t they moving into the city? Even with all those roads blocked reporters made it. The airport was accessible. And that’s just new Orleans. Mississippi certainly was reachable. It must kill some right wingers to have Scarborough ripping into the govt. He brought his wife’s friggin’ church group to help out from Pensacola Fl (I believe there are some military bases near there too). Guess what? They were the first relief anyone had seen in that area of miss. And that was Thursday (I think, could’ve been wed).

The only organization that did its job to perfection was the coast guard. Amen for their choppers. In the end if FEMA or whoever was in charge had just sat in front of CNN and NBC all day instead of “doing their job” they would have figured it all out faster than they did.

This picture is propaganda plain and simple. Just as there is lots of propaganda on the other side of things anti-bush. You can’t refute the picture of Bush at a Jamboree on Tuesday as being dumb if not negligent. Busses sitting in a parking lot being spun as evidence is another matter. Remember, lots of these people couldn’t get out in 36 hours due to either refusal or old age etc. Maybe they couldn’t mobilize all these busses with certified drivers in 36 hours. The point is we don’t know. I’m sure we’ll find out. And when we do I think we’ll hear a lot more stories like the fully functional hospital near the devastation in Miss that was never contacted by FEMA and didn’t know what to do or where to go to help anyone.

New Orleans is poor. The sports teams or taxes usually pay for stadiums and the Dome is about 40 years old and obviously not holding up too well. I don’t know who paid for the basketball stadium. And lets thank all those sports teams in other towns that built impromptu mass shelters before blaming pro sports for societal ills.

And I actually watched that Oil Storm or whatever it was a couple months back and it seems everyone knew this could happen. That was the weird thing.

The blame game goes so fast stuff gets said that doesn’t always hold up. This will be written about for years to come. I’m guessing there will be plenty of blame to go around.

Oh and I almost forgot, in all my years growing up in Florida and living through Andrew and all the ones before and after never, NEVER, was the mayor of Miami, Homestead etc in front of the camera. It was the Governor (most of the time) and President taking charge.

The Auto Prophet said...

I am not saying that FEMA worked perfectly--probably, it did not.

But, due to Posse Comatatus, the Feds can't just march in and take over--they need to be asked. And there are reports that the mayor and governor resisted federal intervention, so they could retain control. They also didn't declare martial law very quickly, either.

The first line of defense is the local government. You don't order an evacuation, and not have a plan to get the sick, elderly, and otherwise non-mobile people out. They didn't even follow their own plan--and then they go on TV and yell "Where's Bush? Where's FEMA?" to cover up their own incompetence.

Some 300 NOPD officers deserted. Some of them were caught looting.

There will be lots of blame to go around, there is no doubt.

DT said...

I do not remember anyone saying the mayor refused help. I must've missed that in 7 days of continuous coverage. He was screaming for help every time I saw him.

I do believe it is the governor's responsibility to ask for federal aid/assistance always. not a mayors. but then what kind of federal govt sits there and waits? And if all the military is saying we were in place waiting for orders who ordered them into place to begin with before katrina hit? hmmm the military doesn't do squat without orders.

As for evacuating everyone in 36 hours I don't know. Has anyone ever evacuated that many people in the US ever? Doesn't matter how its written or planned when real life hits you things change, people are still refusing to leave. How many days did it take to evacuate the superdome after the fact when help had finally arrived?? 2? That's less than 36 hours.

But everyone seems very happy to say oh its LA's own fault don't bitch about it. oh well. And does that mean Miss's governor didn't ask for help? They'll be the noose in all this. Because they were accessible from all accounts and got no help either.

As for the cops I think that it sucks that the image everyone is projecting is of two looters while hundreds of other officers did do their jobs with no support, no communication, no supplies etc. 2 officers committed suicide and hundreds had to resign so they could go find their families (they didn't dessert neccessarily). That is the SPIN! I watch the news and don't get how one person comes to one conclusion and someone else has a completely different one. One person says they desserted instead of when the Chief said they had to resign due to stress/family missing etc.

I think it is easy to sit in Boston, Detroit or Chicago and say this or that but we weren't there in water watching eveyrthing sink not knowing where family was, alive or dead or when help was coming. I still dont' understand how a city doesn't have battery operated emergency radios for communication though. that's old school. I think there was a lot wrong with the city's prep but no one expected what happened in totality and the ones that could see it from afar were the state and fed govt not the local ones. These guys couldn't even talk back and forth and they were supposed to organize massive rescues?

I'm frustrated in all of this but I don't like blame going to people that were stuck in the muck so to speak. That's what makes me mad. They have to live in this and survive why shouldn't they be getting help? Instead we're blaming them for not doing everything right during the worst storm in modern US history.

Look, even if 99% (a logistical possibility? doubtful) of people were evacuated there would still be 90,000 sq miles of destruction that we're left with. The size of England. This is massive. Even as bad as Andrew was it wasnt like this. So yes I kind of wonder why red flags didn't go up faster with FEMA to do the job the dept is actually designed for when they see this on TV! They're there to help when a local govt can't do it on their own. Who cares why that local govt can't is my point. Do you blame the folks in Mississippi for not having a large enough police or emergency force? Then why didn't they get help?

Anonymous said...

The reality is that while yes there is much blame shifting going on. It is disgraceful to see those busses that tax dollars paid for just sitting ruined. The Mayor is to blame for those busses not being used to help the evacuations. The fact that so many officer's deserted is embarrassing.

How many NYPD and NYFD officer's deserted or resigned in the wake of 9/11? It is in the moment of crisis that these men and women are needed.

Again, this is the mayor's responsibility - it is a city issue - the use of those busses and behavior of the NOPD.

He should stop complaining and start taking some responsibility.

DT said...

BTW they evacuated 80% of the city beforehand. I don't know if that's "good" or not but thats still a lot of people.

btw no one answered the question about mississippi and if they "deserve" no support for 4 days too because of the new orleans mayor.

Anonymous said...

You changed the subject. The original post was specifically about New Orleans.