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Okay, wise guy, what would YOU have done?

A lot of people (Paul's latest sparring partner included) have been slamming FEMA's performance in the wake of hurricane Katrina. It's true that a lot of people have suffered -- and died -- in the aftermath. But was FEMA really inept?

The agency handled disasters in much the same timeliness as Katrina last year, and it was regarded as excellent performance. In fact, last summer they helped Florida deal with no less than four hurricanes. With no change in personnel at the top, now it's being criticized. What has changed since then?

1) The sheer magnitude of the destruction -- Katrina did far more damage than the other storms.

2) The utter incompetence of the state and local officials -- nearly every disaster plan has a section that says "FEMA and other federal resources will be available within 72 to 96 hours; until that time, it is the responsibility of local and state agencies to manage the crisis."

3) The patience and comprehension of the American people has been eroded by the instant-gratification mentality, combined with the 24-hour news cycle and competitiveness of the 24-hour news channels.

4) The Left's determined focus to blame everything they can on Bush, to find the dark cloud attached to every silver lining and attempt to attach it to him.

In all the howling about Bush in the wake of Katrina, one thing I have noticed is not a single coherent, substantive suggestion about what might have been done has emerged.

1) Override Governor Blanco? Little matter of the law and the Constitution. The President can only supplant the authority of a Mayor and Governor if he invokes the Insurrection Act, and that is a HUGE gun -- as in "use this only in the direst of circumstances, or expect to be impeached -- and even then, expect it."

2) Get the rescue efforts there faster? Not possible. The hurricane wiped out roads, rails, bridges, docks, and airports. Supplies are HEAVY and BULKY, and I've read a few pieces by actual military logistics experts who actually do that sort of thing for a living. They say that the response time was actually exceptionally good.

3) Pre-position rescue personnel and supplies: WHERE? You send that stuff into a disaster area before it becomes a disaster, and you risk it being destroyed by the disaster. And that point all you've achieved is creating more victims and throwing away a big chunk of critical supplies. You assemble them OUTSIDE the disaster area, then send them in once it's passed -- which is exactly what happened.

4) Spend more money on flood-prevention programs? They did. But a few facts that don't often get discussed when the focus is "blame Bush!" For one, that money is disbursed by the government, but actually spent by state and local officials -- who put it into improving the locks system (which was actually seeing DECREASING traffic, not increasing), casinos, and other pork-barrel projects, not the levees. For another, the levees that failed were the ones that had been "upgraded;" the "unimproved" ones held just fine. For a third, the levees were designed to withstand a Force 3 storm when they were first built decades ago; Katrina was a strong Force 4 when she hit. Improving them to withstand a hurricane as strong as Katrina is a project that will take years and years just to STUDY and DEVELOP.

5) Improve the evacuation plans? That's the responsibility of the state and local officials. Last year, with Ivan, they had a "dress rehearsal" for a big storm -- and everyone knew it, and called the plans "a complete failure." In that year, what did they do to improve them? Not a damned thing.

Yeah, the top guys at FEMA might be hacks. They might even have screwed up a few things. But all federal agencies learn to "work around" the political appointees at the very top and still do their jobs -- and FEMA is no exception, as shown last summer.

And should "Brownie" be fired? For padding his resume', yeah, I think he should. And if the guy who recommended him wasn't already out of government service, I'd say fire that guy, too.

But it is, has been, and always will be the duties of the local and state officials to be the first responders to disasters, and to hold the line as best they can until the federal government can marshal its resources to back them up -- and even today, in the best possible circumstances, that can take up to three or four days.

That's just the way it is, just the way it has to be, under the Constitution, and just the way it ought to be.


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Comments (105)

JT,For another vie... (Below threshold)

JT,

For another view check out the view from Jeb Bush The Florida Gov. that know a little bit about hurricances.

He is defending FEMA.

"The agency handled disaste... (Below threshold)

"The agency handled disasters in much the same timeliness as Katrina last year, and it was regarded as excellent performance. In fact, last summer they helped Florida deal with no less than four hurricanes. With no change in personnel at the top, now it's being criticized. What has changed since then?"

The point, however, is that a response to something as catastrophic as Katrina shouldn't be similar to responses to the much less catastrophic hurricanes in Florida last year. There needs to be a massive response to a major disaster. It's like saying "well, the government the same to a 5.5 earthquake in So Cal and an 8.8 earthquake in San Francisco...what's wrong with that?"

There's ample evidence that FEMA treated Katrina like just another hurricane, and not like "the Big One". See this Washington Post article...one clear example here is that Alabama got five times as much water for distribution for Louisiana.

FEMA's response to Katrina shouldn't have been similar to past hurricanes...they should have prepared for a major catastrophe. And they didn't do this well.

Llama School:How e... (Below threshold)
Radical Centrist:

Llama School:

How exactly should FEMA have known that Katrina
would be the 'Big One'?

One caveat, Jay:I'... (Below threshold)

One caveat, Jay:

I've read (I can't remember where; sorry) that a Category 4 hurricane would cause the leevees to overflow, not cause breaches in them. Sort of like pouring eight ounces of coffee into a six ounce cup. The breaches should never have occurred.

I see that response in Miss... (Below threshold)

I see that response in Mississippi isn't criticized, nor in Alabama, but is only criticized when looking at New Orleans (not even elsewhere in Louisiana!).

Oh yea, it must be because of racism, not because those were the only "state and local" officials who were completely incompetent.

The Katrina response should... (Below threshold)
Toby928:

The Katrina response should be comparead to the aftermath of Camille in 1969. I didn't live on the Gulf Coast and that time and would be interested in any first hand accounts of the recovery from that storm.

Tob

"1) Override Governor Blanc... (Below threshold)
chevy1569:

"1) Override Governor Blanco? Little matter of the law and the Constitution..."

You know, it makes me proud to live in a country where even the President is obligated to live by the law of the land... even if it means idiots like Blanco are allowed to screw up. I guess Bush doesn't get to be as much of a cowboy as people think.

By the predictions from peo... (Below threshold)

By the predictions from people like Max Mayfield and others...any slow-moving Cat 3 or higher hurricane headed towards N.O. would be BIG trouble. And the response was less than adequate. A brief excerpt from the WaPo article linked above...more in the article:

"By Friday, FEMA's emergency headquarters for Katrina was already running; technically, the agency was at level one, its highest level of alert.

But as the headquarters staff came in, there was a strange sense of inaction, as if "nobody's turning the key to start the engine," said one team leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. For his group, Friday was a day to sit around wondering, "Why aren't we treating this as a bigger emergency? Why aren't we doing anything?"

"Why aren't we treating... (Below threshold)

"Why aren't we treating this as a bigger emergency? Why aren't we doing anything?"

Because Governor Blanco is stalling us.

Llama School, what could th... (Below threshold)

Llama School, what could they have done ahead of time? You're talking about a group that already had the red cross in Baton Rouge waiting for the go-ahead from The Louisiana State Department of [State] Homeland Security (of the state, as if I didn't emphasize it enough) to go into New Orleans by Monday. Before the Hurricaine, it is NOT up to FEMA to do evacuation. FEMA is an organization that is set up to act AFTERWARDS, in the recovery effort. Evacuation is really for the local areas to deal with, since they are the ones who are most affected, and are the ones who BEST know the logistical problems they might encounter.

1: people tend to forget the massive evacuation that WAS undertaken...it was very successful (think of the massive population of the entire region that is now alive)

2: The region was already declared "States of Emergency" BEFORE the Hurricane actually hit

3: The eye of the storm never hit New Orleans, so New Orleans was thought to have "dodged the bullet". Which doesn't make sense as to why THE LSDHS would refuse the red cross access. If they affected area wasn't flooded, why did they still hold them back?

4: The levees that broke were "upgraded" and "maintained". What level of maintenance could have prevented it? Judging by how federal money gets to local officials, and considering the timeline for that to happen, in order for an upgrade to levees, the feds must disperse money at least ten years in advance (it seems).

I'd say more but I'm sick of it.
Sorry

My main beef with th... (Below threshold)
jc:


My main beef with the President and FEMA was style, not substance. They did everything they could do in terms of substance, but things like not knowing what all the cable news channels were reporting or playing the guitar gave the appearance of obdurance. That's certainly a forgivable offense, and substance is what's important, right?

In terms of the levee breach I think the president was right that nobody expected it to breach (see fatman's comment), Fox News showed some big barge or something that came loose and hit it like a sledge hammer.

ok fine:<a href="htt... (Below threshold)

ok fine:
First Responders Urged Not To Respond To Hurricane Impact Areas Unless Dispatched By State, Local Authorities

What does this tell us? It tells us that apparently if State and Local Authorities were the ones dispatching aid and rescue, that they were failing miserably.

"FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident."

Quoting the press release I just posted, again proving that FEMA doesn't do evacuations. They do recovery and response AFTER disasters. To attempt to respond before hand would have been suicide (put response vehicles in the affected areas would place it in the path of the storm).

It also tells us that Henry... (Below threshold)

It also tells us that Henry's search engine works much better than Llamaschool's which only seems to find anti-Bush news. Llamaschool must be using Goregle.

Goregle!hah! that'... (Below threshold)

Goregle!

hah! that's a good one.

As a retired st... (Below threshold)
rayabacus:
As a retired structural engineer who has done exhaustive work on bulk liquids retention structures, including dams, dykes and levees; also having audited engineering schematics on the New Orleans levees in the 1994-1996 era, rest assured that federal officials were properly concerned about that situation. The problem was that they were the only ones. We bucked and kicked local officials for years throughout the entire project. The municipality demanded the money, and received millions, but repeatedly, they had more pressing uses for expenditures. The optimal, shear-sloped design for the levee reinforcement was approved in 1995. I tell you truly that in my 40-year career as an engineer, the local authorities in our New Orleans levee project take the prize in the area of callous disregard and their bungling remains notorious to this day. Truly, it was scandalous. Consequently, I find it hard to cast a major portion of blame for this disaster on any other entity than the local representatives of those unfortunate people in New Orleans. The truth is, at least the last three mayors of New Orleans are grossly negligent and in dereliction of duty in regards to repeatedly skimming federal funds allocated for their levee fortification. Allan McIsaac

This is an e-mail to the Corner. I think we will see more of this type of thing in the days ahead. I don't think the NOLA & LA are going to be able to hide the bad spending decisions, pork politics of the state, mismanagement of levee funds and even the corrupt government of the city and state.

Some of these have been documented already. Look for more as the press starts to do some forensic work.

nearly every disaster pl... (Below threshold)

nearly every disaster plan has a section that says "FEMA and other federal resources will be available within 72 to 96 hours;

What about this one?
DHS MASTER PLAN à http://www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/NRP_FullText.pdf
The NRP establishes policies, procedures, and
mechanisms for proactive Federal response to
catastrophic events. A catastrophic event is any natural or manmade incident, including terrorism, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy, national morale, and/or government functions. A catastrophic event could result in sustained national impacts over a prolonged period of time; almost immediately exceeds resources normally available to State, local, tribal, and
private-sector authorities in the impacted area
; and
significantly interrupts governmental operations and
emergency services to such an extent that national
security could be threatened. All catastrophic events are
Incidents of National Significance.


Guiding Principles for Proactive Federal Response

Guiding principles for proactive Federal response
include the following:
- The primary mission is to save lives; protect critical infrastructure, property, and the environment;
contain the event; and preserve national security.
- Standard procedures regarding requests for assistance may be expedited or, under extreme circumstances, suspended in the immediate aftermath of an event of catastrophic magnitude.

How exactly should FEMA ... (Below threshold)

How exactly should FEMA have known that Katrina
would be the 'Big One'?

Posted by: Radical Centrist

LMFAO!!!!!!!

Urgent Weather Message from NWS New Orleans

WWUS74 KLIX 281550 NPWLIX URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA

1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005

DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED

3: The eye of the storm ... (Below threshold)

3: The eye of the storm never hit New Orleans, so New Orleans was thought to have "dodged the bullet"

Only by WorldNut readers:

N'Orleans dodges bullet
Storm downgraded to Category 2, flooding traps residents on roofs
Posted: August 29, 2005
12:10 p.m. Eastern
© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46025

Bush strongly encouraged an... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Bush strongly encouraged an evacuation of New Orleans before Katrina hit. When I repeatedly see photos of large numbers of "local" buses sitting under water there is no debate, despite all the screaming from the Dems, that on the spot resources were not used for the evacuation of those who needed a way out. When the mayor (and I don't care if he/she is black, white or striped) of New Orleans is doing as much griping on TV about his helplessness from the local Hyatt Hotel (where by the way he is dry and has access to food) as his sodden constituency then I begin to think there is a real lack of innovative leadership in that city. Say what you want to about Bush and FEMA, but at this point it is impossible to deny that good local leadership can truly be very, very important.

2) Get the rescue effort... (Below threshold)

2) Get the rescue efforts there faster? Not possible.

3 kids from Duke managed to get there faster.

3 Duke students tell of 'disgraceful' scene

By Ray Gronberg : The Herald-Sun
[email protected]
Sep 4, 2005 : 9:36 pm ET
http://www.herald-sun.com/durham/4-643298.html
DURHAM -- A trio of Duke University sophomores say they drove to New Orleans late last week, posed as journalists to slip inside the hurricane-soaked city twice, and evacuated seven people who weren't receiving help from authorities.
The group, led by South Carolina native Sonny Byrd, say they also managed to drive all the way to the New Orleans Convention Center, where they encountered scenes early Saturday evening that they say were disgraceful.
"We found it absolutely incredible that the authorities had no way to get there for four or five days, that they didn't go in and help these people, and we made it in a two-wheel-drive Hyundai," said Hans Buder, who made the trip with his roommate Byrd and another student, David Hankla.

3) Pre-position rescue p... (Below threshold)

3) Pre-position rescue personnel and supplies: WHERE?

Ft. Polk, LA, just one of MANY places.

When I repeatedly see ph... (Below threshold)

When I repeatedly see photos of large numbers of "local" buses sitting under water there is no debate, despite all the screaming from the Dems, that on the spot resources were not used for the evacuation of those who needed a way out.

AH, the bus meme never dies in BushWorld.
The part-time drivers for the buses weren't available.

4) Spend more money on f... (Below threshold)

4) Spend more money on flood-prevention programs? They did.

No they didn't. The ACE requests for levee maintanence were seriously cut by this criminal administration:

5) Improve the evacuatio... (Below threshold)

5) Improve the evacuation plans? That's the responsibility of the state and local officials.

WRONG AGAIN -

Under FEMA's direction, federal and state officials began working on the $1 million Hurricane Pam project in July 2004, when 270 experts gathered in Baton Rouge, La., for an eight-day simulation. The so-called "tabletop" exercise focused planners on a mock hurricane that produced more than 20 inches of rain and 14 tornadoes. The drill included computer graphic simulations projected on large screens of the hurricane slamming directly into New Orleans.
"We designed this to be a worst-case but plausible storm," said Madhu Beriwal, chief executive of Innovative Emergency Management Inc. of Baton Rouge, hired by FEMA to conduct the exercise.
The experts completed their first draft report in December 2004.
The report was designed to be the first step toward producing a comprehensive hurricane response plan, jointly approved and implemented by federal, state and city officials. But a lack of funding prohibited planners from quickly following up on the 2004 simulation.
"Money was not available to do the follow-up," Brown said.


Hurricane simulation predicted 61,290 dead
By RON FOURNIER and TED BRIDIS
Associated Press Writers
Sep 9, 2:08 PM EDT

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/K/KATRINA_WHAT_PLANNERS_FEARED?SITE=AZTUS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2005-09-09-14-08-42

Steve J:You keep p... (Below threshold)

Steve J:

You keep putting the whole FEMA response in the light of "well, they should have done something more," and never actually manage to tell us what "more" could have been under the US Constitution.

The whole "when the locals get overwhelmed" point is off in a very silly direction. What really happens (and has been planned to happen for a couple of decades now) is that, when the local authorities have a job that's too big, THEY HAVE TO ASK FOR ACTUAL HELP, and they have to say what that help should be.

In this case, all that the Governor of Louisiana had to do was ask, specifically, for a whole stinking LOT of National Guard and Red Cross and Salvation Army and all of the other groups to come in. The technique for doing this is called "faxing and making phone calls from a prearranged list that they have on hand."

She did what's technically called "diddly squat."

In reality, the Governor sat around and had consultations with her legal staff about how much power she'd be giving up if the Feds came in, and how many people were going to have to die so she could force them out of New Orleans. She ACTIVELY ORDERED her state police and National Guard troops to keep assistance organizations out of the city, as witnessed by the Red Cross and Salvation Army (they were ready to go in less than two days after the storm).

As far as supplies and help goes, there was a HUGE amount of the stuff being moved to where it would do some good. Missisippi and Alabama got help less than 24 hours into the disaster. Parts of the Gulf coast got power before the unflooded parts of New Orleans. The Red Cross had kitchens set up in Mississippi on Tuesday after the storm. Federal money was being shuffled into the region before the storm actually hit.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of NO and the Governor of LA are trying, desperately, to get people to leave the city, when many of them are in clean, unflooded neighborhoods with working water systems (and only need power to get things going again).

I'm starting to wonder about the long-term motives of Blanco and Nagin. Who benefits from a completely empty city that doesn't need to be completely empty?

"AH, the bus meme never die... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:

"AH, the bus meme never dies in BushWorld.
The part-time drivers for the buses weren't available."

Wow... So that's supposed to let the locals off the hook just like that??? The NO hurricane evacuation plan called for the city's RTA to provide the needed personnel for a mandatory evacuation. The Ivan "live" exercise identified the need, but nothing was done about it. It would be nice if you exhibited that level of "understanding" towards FEMA.

You keep putting the who... (Below threshold)

You keep putting the whole FEMA response in the light of "well, they should have done something more," and never actually manage to tell us what "more" could have been under the US Constitution.

Quit hiding behind the Constitution to defend the criminal Bush.

SteveJ:"3 kids fro... (Below threshold)

SteveJ:

"3 kids from Duke managed to get there faster."

Yeah, in one vehicle, two days after the Feds and other assistance showed up, and three days after the roads were cleared for them. It still took them the best part of two days to get into New Orleans.

The money quote about the Superdome: "The evacuation was basically complete by the time they arrived," which is what we've been telling you for a few days.

The other thing you don't mention is that the soldiers and cops keeping people out of New Orleans are under the control of - once again - Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin.

when the local authoriti... (Below threshold)

when the local authorities have a job that's too big, THEY HAVE TO ASK FOR ACTUAL HELP

Here's another FREE CLUE to one who has been severely damaged by the "welfare state" -

Sunday, August 28th
State of Louisiana Emergency Disaster Aid Request:
http://gov.louisiana.gov/Disaster%20Relief%20Request.pdf

"I have determined that this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective responses will be beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments.."

It still took them the b... (Below threshold)

It still took them the best part of two days to get into New Orleans.

Funny, they said 20 minutes.

"Quit hiding behind the Con... (Below threshold)

"Quit hiding behind the Constitution to defend the criminal Bush."

...and, of course, if the Feds had done as you're now demanding, you'd be screaming about the dictator criminal Bush.

The NO hurricane evacuat... (Below threshold)

The NO hurricane evacuation plan called for the city's RTA to provide the needed personnel for a mandatory evacuation.

There is no such plan. The funding was cut so it was never made.

...and, of course, if th... (Below threshold)

...and, of course, if the Feds had done as you're now demanding, you'd be screaming about the dictator criminal Bush.

Posted by: cirby

And don't try to read minds, either.

Toby,I was in the Ai... (Below threshold)
Lew Clark:

Toby,
I was in the Air Force stationed in Georgia with a mobile communications unit when Camille hit. I did
Tech School" at Biloxi, so was more than ready to go in. We landed a C130 at Gulfport Naval Reserve Base in less than 24 hours after storm hit. One of the quirks of Camille was, total devestation some places, but not others. The runway at Gulfport was open. When we got there, Southeastern Bell had beaten us to the punch and had communications up. We volunteered for search and rescue.
What amazed me, was that local police and Missippi Natioal Guard were there in force. The job was monumental, but no caos. The locals were cooperative and doing all they could. That is much like what happened in that area this time.
That is what puts Katrina and New Orleans in such contrast. The problem was as much locals, residents and govt doing nothing but sit and whine for the feds to come take care of them.
Thr residents of Miss/Alabama gulf survived and rebuilt after Camille and will after Katrina, because thet are self-sufficient survivors. The 'sheep" in New Orleans were slaughtered by Katrina and will be 'slaughtered" by the next one unless they break from the "victim" mind set and develop a "survivor" mindset.

to hold the line as best... (Below threshold)

to hold the line as best they can until the federal government can marshal its resources to back them up -- and even today, in the best possible circumstances, that can take up to three or four days.

I MISS CLINTON -

In an unusual act that may now become standard operating procedure, President Clinton pre-emptively declared federal emergencies in several states even before the hurricane touched the continental U.S. With FEMA's encouragement,Southern states issued mandatory evacuation orders to nearly three million residents of coastal areas.

http://www.jimbovard.com/American%20Spectator%20Nov%201999%20FEMA%20Fiasco%20Hurricane%20Floyd.htm
President Clinton issued preemptive disaster declarations for Florida and Georgia.
The early declaration "enables state and local governments to get equipment and other things ... in place to begin recovery efforts at the earliest possible moment," White House spokesman Barry Toiv said in Washington.Clinton will skip a planned golfing excursion in Hawaii and return directly to Washington to monitor federal efforts to deal with Hurricane Floyd, the White House said.http://www.cnn.com/WEATHER/9909/14/floyd.07/#0

MONDAY - BUSH IN PHOENIX
TUESDAY - BUSH IN SAN DIEGO
WEDNESDAY - LEAVES FOR DC FROM "THE RANCH"

"What about this one? DHS M... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:

"What about this one? DHS MASTER PLAN"

Well, 50 state and local agencies worked with FEMA during the 2004 "Hurricane Pam" exercise. The fictional "Pam" presented a scenario very similar to Katrina. The state, local, and pricate agencies were informed they would be the first responders and should be equipt to handle things for 3-5 days post-hurricane. After such time FEMA would be in a position to take over for the long haul. That plans appears to have been put into motion in efforts like the Red Cross' attempt to set up humanitarian aid centers in NO, before they were waved off by the state over concerns that it would hinder the evacuation.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/09/02/hurricane.drill/index.html

We landed a C130 at Gulf... (Below threshold)

We landed a C130 at Gulfport Naval Reserve Base in less than 24 hours after storm hit.

Think a little harder about what this means.

Steve J... please for the l... (Below threshold)
cro:

Steve J... please for the love of god learn a little HTML so that you can post in a more coherent manner. Six posts to answer everybody is ridiculous.. to your points:

"School bus meme -> No drivers available - SO?"
So? How does that excuse that clusterfuck? Why weren't the drivers alerted sooner? You can talk cicrles all you want but that picture in a nutshell explains why the near-hysterical attempts of the left to blame Bush for Katrina will fail. The American people are not stupid... they realize that Bush doesn't control the fucking yellow-peril school bus system. If those bus's are sitting flooded...it's the result of local inaction NOT Federal inaction.

"ACE requests->low funding"
That's what happens in organizations... you ask, they evaluate...you may or may not get you $. In this case RECORD funding levels were approved. Were they as high as what was asked for? no...but they were higher than all previous approvals. the locals spent the money as they saw fit...apparently on the wrong stuff. Bush is not responsible for what the locals fail to do.

"Supplies->preposition at Ft. Polk"
JFC....do you even KNOW where Ft. Polk is? Go do yourself a favor and run mapquest...tell me what major interstate runs through Polk. Dumbass, Baton Rouge is closer to NO than Polk.

"3 Duke students"
Yeah...it takes the same logistical arrangements to get three kids in a Hyundai with a case of Corona to New Orleans as it does to move a National Guard company across the parking lot.... Have you ever even put on a fucking uniform? I doubt it because you appear to be clueless about anything that even concrens the military in even the most peripheral manner.

"to all other useless comments you've posted in the meantime..."
Prove it.

I hope Steve J is being a t... (Below threshold)
Lew Clark:

I hope Steve J is being a typical troll and spouting drivel for effect. If he is serious, his Mom needs to get him professional help and not let him wonder around by himself.

GIZMO -What... (Below threshold)

GIZMO -


What didn't you get about the Aug. 28th letter?

It still took them the b... (Below threshold)

It still took them the best part of two days to get into New Orleans.

SteveJ:
"Funny, they said 20 minutes."

They left at 6 PM Thursday and got into New Orleans late Saturday. That ain't 20 minutes. They had to go several hundred miles out of their way to get to New Orleans from Biloxi, a trip that normally takes about an hour and a half.

They claimed "it would take you no more than 20 minutes to drive in with a bus and get these people out," but that's just to get from the edges of New Orleans to the edges of Baton Rouge, which has been completely full of refugees since before the storm even hit. This is also completely disregarding things like fuel for the buses, where to get the buses, and where to put people once they get out, all of which had to be arranged at the last minute by the Feds because Louisiana didn't bother with it.

You also have to have buses, which were, well, you don't want to hear it, but we know where a lot of buses were until some unnamed Mayor forgot to move them six feet higher on the flood plain. Bus drivers are easy to get. Offer them a hundred buck a day bonus on their regular pay and you'd have plenty, just from the local labor pool.


In this case RECORD fund... (Below threshold)

In this case RECORD funding levels were approved.

Despite Warnings, Washington Failed to Fund Levee Projects

By Richard A. Serrano and Nicole Gaouette
LA Times Staff Writers
Sun Sep 4, 7:55 AM ET
http://news.yahoo.com/s/latimests/20050904/ts_latimes/despitewarningswashingtonfailedtofundleveeprojects

Many federal, state and local flood improvement officials kept asking for more dollars for more ambitious protection projects. But the White House kept scaling down those requests. And each time, although congressional leaders were more generous with funding than the White House, the House and Senate never got anywhere near to approving the amounts that experts had said was needed.
What happened this year was typical: Local levee and flood prevention officials, along with Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), asked for $78 million in project funds. President Bush offered them less than half that — $30 million. Congress ended up authorizing $36.5 million.
Since Bush took office in 2001, local experts and Landrieu have asked for just short of $500 million. Altogether, Bush in his yearly budgets asked for $166 million, and Congress approved about $250 million.These budget decisions reflect a reality in Washington: to act with an eye toward short-term political rewards instead of making long-term investments to deal with problems.
The Army Corps of Engineers did spend $430 million to renovate pumping stations and shore up the levees. But experts said the project fell behind schedule after funding was reduced in 2003 and 2004.

Quit hiding behind the C... (Below threshold)

Quit hiding behind the Constitution to defend the criminal Bush.

Ya know, you read something like this and you think, "What a stupid, stupid thing to say. I have to respond to that, I have to whip out my Constitution, my copy of verious legislation passed over the passed 200 years and put this sucker down where they belong."

Then you read it again. And you scratch your head. And you realize that there's no reason to keep playing cards with someone that only has a pile of 'Rules for Poker!' cards in front of them and just keeps slamming them down on the table saying, "Gin! Bush did it!"

Then you ease out of the room, trying not to make eye contact, muttering, "Hide behind the Constitution?"

They left at 6 PM Thursd... (Below threshold)

They left at 6 PM Thursday and got into New Orleans late Saturday. That ain't 20 minutes.

They wrote that it took 20 minutes to get from the outskirts of NO to the SuperDome.

BTW, do you know WHERE Duke is?

"There is no such plan. The... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:

"There is no such plan. The funding was cut so it was never made."

Here's the "no such plan" from the City of New Orlean's own web site: http://www.cityofno.com/portal.aspx?portal=46&tabid=26

Bus drivers are easy to ... (Below threshold)

Bus drivers are easy to get. Offer them a hundred buck a day bonus on their regular pay and you'd have plenty, just from the local labor pool.

LMFAO - how can you possibly believe that?

GIZMO-THAT plan is... (Below threshold)

GIZMO-

THAT plan is from 2000 and contra to the PigBoy, does not call for using buses to remove people from NO. The buses are to be used to move them to shelters in NO.

Try reading instead of listening to whores for Bush.

I hope Steve J is being ... (Below threshold)

I hope Steve J is being a typical troll and spouting drivel for effect.

I provide links, you provide excuses for death.

GIZMO -<br ... (Below threshold)

GIZMO -


What didn't you get about the Aug. 28th letter?

gizmo, what he doesn't want you to read is the rest of the Aug 28th letter, what comes after this ominous sounding introduction, where we find that Blanco is asking for 1) money, and 2) help with debris removal after the storm.

"What didn't you get about ... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:

"What didn't you get about the Aug. 28th letter?"

The part explaining why this differentiates from past formal requests for FEMA assistance in times of disasters. FEMA just doesn't "show up". Requesting federal disaster assistance doesn't mean that you are abducating your state and local roles in a disaster response.

I figure you've done the ma... (Below threshold)
cro:

I figure you've done the mapquest by now...care to respond to staging material at Polk?

Ever been a transit officer for a company road march? (And yes I know where Duke is)...and since you've never actually served, I'll tell you it's much simpler to travel 3000 miles with 3 kids than to road march 100 miles with a company's assets.

Nothing from your quote about the funding negates my statement... RECORD funding, just less than asked for. I realize for a spoiled child such as yourself, you may never have been told "No"...but those of us that actually have careers, business' etc, we often learn to make do with less than what is desired.

As for moving the people of NO to shelters via Bus...they (the locals) apparently failed in that too....

The American people are ... (Below threshold)

The American people are not stupid

Well, they are waking up. Bush's support is around 40% now.

Thanks for the personal acc... (Below threshold)
Toby928:

Thanks for the personal account Lew. From what you've seen, do you think this storm was as damaging as Camille? Like I said, I didn't live on the GC then but I remember the destruction and death as staggering. I've been tempted to think that the news out of Mississippi this time have been better than expected but it could just be that the full magnitude of the damage there has not yet been established.

Tob

"THAT plan is from 2000 and... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:

"THAT plan is from 2000 and contra to the PigBoy, does not call for using buses to remove people from NO. The buses are to be used to move them to shelters in NO."

Really? Can you point me to where it says that when such buses are used in a mandatory "Get The Hell Out of Dodge" evacuation they are only to be used for inter-city transportation?

Sorry, but that was the plan they had in effect at the time.

I've been tempted to thi... (Below threshold)

I've been tempted to think that the news out of Mississippi this time have been better than expected but it could just be that the full magnitude of the damage there has not yet been established.

Try www.wdsu.com

Can you point me to wher... (Below threshold)

Can you point me to where it says that when such buses are used in a mandatory "Get The Hell Out of Dodge" evacuation they are only to be used for inter-city transportation?

Sure -

http://www.cityofno.com/portal.aspx?portal=46&tabid=26
ANNEX I: HURRICANES
Approximately 100,000 Citizens of New Orleans do not have means of personal transportation. Shelter assessment is an ongoing project of the Office of Emergency Preparedness through the Shelter Coordinator.

The following schools have been inspected and approved as Hurricane Evacuation Shelters for the City of New Orleans:
Laurel Elementary School
Walter S. Cohen High School
Medard Nelson Elementary School
Sarah T. Reed High School
Southern University Multi Purpose Center
Southern University New Science Building
O. Perry Walker High School
Albert Wicker Elementary School

gizmo, what he doesn't w... (Below threshold)

gizmo, what he doesn't want you to read is the rest of the Aug 28th letter, what comes after this ominous sounding introduction, where we find that Blanco is asking for 1) money, and 2) help with debris removal after the storm.

I also didn't write about Blanco trying to call Bush and being forced to leave a phone message with a flunkie. The flunkie did return her call after a couple of hours.


Thanks for the link Steve J... (Below threshold)
Toby928:

Thanks for the link Steve J. Biloxi and Gulfport seem to have taken a pounding. Is it worse than Camille though? I've been unable to find a current casualty count for this area. Two dead in Mobile and none that I am aware of 'east of the bay' means that those areas hardest hit by Ivan and Dennis were spared this time and for that I'm thankful.

Tob

SteveJ, thanks for the poll... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

SteveJ, thanks for the poll results on Bush. It's really gonna have a major impact on his run for the presidency in 2008.

I figure you've done the... (Below threshold)

I figure you've done the mapquest by now...care to respond to staging material at Polk?

Two Helos guys saved about 100 people in NO. They were stationed in Pensacola.

Now, what state is Pensacola in?

SteveJ, thanks for the p... (Below threshold)

SteveJ, thanks for the poll results on Bush. It's really gonna have a major impact on his run for the presidency in 2008.

Posted by: DaveD

It's going to have a major impact in 2006.

Bush, during an inspection tour of the devastated region last Friday, praised Brown, telling him, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

Thanks for the link Stev... (Below threshold)

Thanks for the link Steve J. Biloxi and Gulfport seem to have taken a pounding. Is it worse than Camille though?

Dunno. I'm pretty busy keeping track of this criminal administration. I think NOAA has a historical section on hurricanes, maybe you could try that.

I said "only" to be used...... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:

I said "only" to be used....

The non-existent plan also details several different types of "hurricane evacuations". Are you suggesting the course of action should be the same regardless of the threat such as one mainly of wind damage vs. one with a strong likelihood of making the city part of the GoMex?

Also, I don't see the Superdome on that list. Do you?

Thanks for the link Stev... (Below threshold)

Thanks for the link Steve J. Biloxi and Gulfport seem to have taken a pounding.

Yes. It is very sad to see almost nothing standing. I recall one woman saying she used to live 2 blocks from the ocean and now she lives just 1 block.

I did see a pic of a mass being held outside because the church had been destroyed, so there is still hope.

Also, I don't see the Su... (Below threshold)

Also, I don't see the Superdome on that list. Do you?

Posted by: Gizmo

Correct. They were planning for a CAT 3 back in 2000. The listed shelters could not withstand a CAT 4 but the SuperDome could.

"It's going to have a major... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:

"It's going to have a major impact in 2006."

Really? His numbers were about this low once before... After the Iraqi prisoner scandal. And six months later he was re-elected. A year is a lifetime in politics. The Dems ain't going want to look at this too closely either if you want to look at voting records related to the restructing of FEMA, vetting FEMA officials when they ran the Senate, etc.

Jay,StevJ seems to... (Below threshold)
rayabacus:

Jay,

StevJ seems to like to use your bandwidth to post obsolete, already shot down links with timelines that have been killed already. Perhaps you should consider asking him to actually read the Kelly article, the logistics necessary to move large convoys of relief, the prestaging of relief, the actual relief provided from day one.

StevJ thinks that we ought to just throw out the Constitution when it becomes inconvenient to obey the law. Yet he wants to conflate the NRP, Stafford Act, Title 10 and the Constitution when, in fact he knows nothing of the law.

So, he links to all kinds of irrelevent shit, clogs up the debate and becomes an expert on the law because........he stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night!

Either he should become educated with what happened and when or start his own blog and waste his own bandwidth.

Just a suggestion.

Does Steve J. Remind anyone... (Below threshold)

Does Steve J. Remind anyone of Joser?

A year is a lifetime in ... (Below threshold)

A year is a lifetime in politics.

Quotes live forever. Here's just one of HUNDREDS:


“Terri Schiavo is not brain-dead; she talks and she laughs, and she expresses happiness and discomfort. … It won’t take a miracle to help Terri Schiavo; it will only take the medical care and therapy that all patients deserve.” TOM DELAY, http://majorityleader.gov/News.asp?FormMode=Detail&ID=411

if you want to look at v... (Below threshold)

if you want to look at voting records related to the restructing of FEMA, vetting FEMA officials when they ran the Senate, etc.

You get partial credit on this one. Lieberman (D- MBNA) chaired the committee that approved "Brownie."

Me: Bus drivers are ... (Below threshold)

Me:
Bus drivers are easy to get. Offer them a hundred buck a day bonus on their regular pay and you'd have plenty, just from the local labor pool.

SteveJ:
"LMFAO - how can you possibly believe that?"

From my friends who are making serious money to drive things into and out of the area right now. I ran into one guy at the store, who was loading up with snacks before he left for Biloxi with a truck full of generators and parts. He's making about half again as much as he does in his regular driving job.

In other places (the hurricane areas in Florida, for example), they usually use regular school bus drivers and only pay them straight time or overtime (as necessary). This has worked fine for years, and the only time I've heard someone claim that it wasn't possible was when Nagin bleated it out (and idiots echoed it like it was gospel).

Using school buses and drivers was in the New Orleans and Louisiana emergency plans.


And six months later he ... (Below threshold)

And six months later he was re-elected.

By the lowest margin EVER for a sitting President.

EVER.

BTW, seen all that "political capital" around lately?

From my friends who are ... (Below threshold)

From my friends who are making serious money to drive things into and out of the area right now.

Do they work for KBR?

President Clinton issued pr... (Below threshold)
DaveK:

President Clinton issued preemptive disaster declarations for Florida and Georgia.
The early declaration "enables state and local governments to get equipment and other things ... in place to begin recovery efforts at the earliest possible moment," oh look it says state and local governments to get equipment in place. not FEMA. Oh look President Bush declares a state of emergency in Louisiana under the authority of the Stafford Act Saturday, August 27. SO how was this different? hmm could be the local and state desided NOT to get there vehicles ready. could it be that in the previous storms under clinton they had more warning on the power of the storms. Could it be that They didn't expect the levee walls to break.


Could it be that They di... (Below threshold)

Could it be that They didn't expect the levee walls to break.

No. This was another Bush lie.

CNN.com noted that "officials have warned for years that a Category 4 [hurricane] could cause the levees to fail." The CNN.com article added that in an August 31 interview on CNN's Larry King Live, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael Brown said, "That Category 4 hurricane caused the same kind of damage that we anticipated. So we planned for it two years ago. Last year, we exercised it. And unfortunately this year, we're implementing it."

Henry,Responding t... (Below threshold)

Henry,

Responding to your points:

1: people tend to forget the massive evacuation that WAS undertaken...it was very successful (think of the massive population of the entire region that is now alive)

I agree...the state and local government did a good job with this...FEMA was uninvolved in the evacuation (which they should be...is anyone arguing that FEMA should have been involved in the evacuation?).

3: The eye of the storm never hit New Orleans, so New Orleans was thought to have "dodged the bullet". Which doesn't make sense as to why THE LSDHS would refuse the red cross access. If they affected area wasn't flooded, why did they still hold them back?

Actually, the worst-case scenario would be if the eye of the storm tracked slightly east of New Orleans (b/c of the storm surge from Lake Ponchartrain). And this is what happened. No dodge.

As for the Red Cross, the state denied the Red Cross access on Thursday, three days after the hurricane hit. And the Red Cross agreed with the decision of the LSDHS.

4: The levees that broke were "upgraded" and "maintained". What level of maintenance could have prevented it? Judging by how federal money gets to local officials, and considering the timeline for that to happen, in order for an upgrade to levees, the feds must disperse money at least ten years in advance (it seems).

Even though funding for levee maintenance was cut by the Bush administration, even Clinton or higher levels of funding likely wouldn't have solved that problem. The levee break can't be pinned on the Bush administration.

The main point is that FEMA's response wasn't quick enough to many places, and it wasn't big enough for the size of the catastrophe. Here's an example from the
WWL-TV blog
of slow response:

3:14 P.M. (Friday) - St. Bernard Parish officials say that FEMA has not called them yet...five days after the storm.

President Clinton issued... (Below threshold)
DaveK:

President Clinton issued preemptive disaster declarations for Florida and Georgia.
The early declaration "enables state and local governments to get equipment and other things ... in place to begin recovery efforts at the earliest possible moment,"
oh look it says state and local governments to get equipment in place. not FEMA. Oh look President Bush declares a state of emergency in Louisiana under the authority of the Stafford Act Saturday, August 27. SO how was this different? hmm could be the local and state desided NOT to get there vehicles ready instead they called FEMA to do it for them and FEMA sent as many as they couldget ahold of in the time they could. Could it be that in the previous storms under Clinton they had more warning on the power of the storms. Could it be that They didn't expect the levee walls to break.


which they should be...i... (Below threshold)

which they should be...is anyone arguing that FEMA should have been involved in the evacuation?).

I am.

(Context restored for the d... (Below threshold)

(Context restored for the dim)

It still took them the best part of two days to get into New Orleans.

Funny, they said 20 minutes.

They left at 6 PM Thursday and got into New Orleans late Saturday. That ain't 20 minutes.

SteveJ:
They wrote that it took 20 minutes to get from the outskirts of NO to the SuperDome.

So you're backtracking now and pretending that since they managed to get from the outskirts of town, that's the same as "getting there" when they started off several hundred miles away...

BTW, do you know WHERE Duke is?

Yes, it's about the same distance that most of the relief supplies and National Guardsmen had to come from, even with prepositioning (keeping in mind that a huge part of the US was still feeling the effects of the storm during the first two days). Of course, the Duke students didn't have to waste a day or so clearing roads, or hauling in hundreds of thousands of tons of supplies, or organizing anything, so they had an advantage.

..so when they got into New Orleans, on Saturday after the storm, it was about three days after the first (Federally funded and organized) bus evacuations, along the same route that the Feds had cleared and inspected (bridges wash out during big storms), about a day after the Superdome was cleared of evacuees (who were in several major refugee centers across Texas and Louisiana by teh time the Duke kids arrived), and about the time the Convention Center was being cleared.

The Duke kids are like someone watghing someone else shop, prepare, and serve a huge banquet, and trying to pretend how easy it was because they showed up and handed someone a basket of dinner rolls...

As for the Red Cross, th... (Below threshold)

As for the Red Cross, the state denied the Red Cross access on Thursday,

It isn't clear that it was the state.

Homeland Security won't let Red Cross deliver food
Saturday, September 03, 2005

By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05246/565143.stm

As the National Guard delivered food to the New Orleans convention center yesterday, American Red Cross officials said that federal emergency management authorities would not allow them to do the same.

I had an e-mail exchange with this reporter and she double-checked with the Red Cross. She stands by her story.

More here:
http://radamisto.blogspot.com/2005/09/another-blame-locals-meme-debunked.html

From my friends who are mak... (Below threshold)

From my friends who are making serious money to drive things into and out of the area right now.

SteveJ:
Do they work for KBR?

The one guy is driving stuff in for Shaw. That's run by the guy who's the chariman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, so I can see where you'd be concerned about graft.

Hopefully, KBR and Halliburton will get more of the contracts, so the amount actually used for reconstruction will be higher (as opposed to what's been the norm in Louisiana for decades).

FEMA sent as many as the... (Below threshold)

FEMA sent as many as they couldget ahold of in the time they could.

"Brownie" didn't start sending anyone until Tuesday and then it was only evaluation teams.

Hopefully, KBR and Halli... (Below threshold)

Hopefully, KBR and Halliburton will get more of the contracts

LOL - are you a troll?

KBR spent millions getting $82,100 worth of LPG into IraqBy DAVID IVANOVICH
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/business/3085603
WASHINGTON - Iraq needed fuel. Halliburton Co. was ordered to get it there - quick. So the Houston-based contractor charged the Pentagon $27.5 million to ship $82,100 worth of cooking and heating fuel."It is illogical that it would cost $27,514,833 to deliver $82,100 in LPG fuel," officials from the Defense Contract Audit Agency noted in the report.

THIS JUST IN -"BRO... (Below threshold)

THIS JUST IN -

"BROWNIE" HAS RESIGNED!!!!!!!!!

SteveJ:I had an e... (Below threshold)

SteveJ:
I had an e-mail exchange with this reporter and she double-checked with the Red Cross. She stands by her story.

Well, she's stupid and incompetent, then, because the Red Cross and the Salvation Army say otherwise.

It's just a careless and dim reporter who heard "DHS" and thought that the was the Federal DHS, and not the Louisiana DHS (a completely separate agancy).

American Red Cross offi... (Below threshold)
DaveK:

American Red Cross officials said that federal emergency management authorities would not allow them to do the same. and this has been covered in several several other posts http://www.redcross.org/faq/0,1096,0_682_4524,00.html
Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

Llama School:Th... (Below threshold)

Llama School:

The levee break can't be pinned on the Bush administration.

Thanks for at least admitting that, now please get the word out to the rest of the left. They can't seem to think straight.

CIRBY -GO TO THE L... (Below threshold)

CIRBY -

GO TO THE LINK I GAVE YOU AND READ

DAVEK -I also read... (Below threshold)

DAVEK -

I also read that FAQ. That's why I wrote "It isn't clear."

Yeah, it was the Department... (Below threshold)

Yeah, it was the Department of Homeland Security. The LOUISIANA Depsrtment of Homeland Security. That selective search engine sure does seem to work in your favor.

News articles published on September 11 by the Knight Ridder news service and the Palm Beach Daily News reported as fact that Louisiana state officials, including Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, blocked the American Red Cross from bringing relief to survivors of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

The Palm Beach Daily News reported: "The workers were told they would not be allowed to set up aid stations because the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security wanted people to leave the battered city, and officials feared that feeding and aid stations would discourage them from leaving."

In the Sept. 1 portion of a Katrina timeline (registration required) titled "Lessons from the Tragedy," Knight Ridder reported:

At times, state officials also seemed to stand in the way of relief measures. ... The Red Cross begged to be allowed to distribute aid at the convention center, but was apparently blocked by Louisiana officials. National director Marty Evans made a personal plea to Blanco, the governor. But state officials said to wait for better conditions.

http://mediamatters.org/items/200509120001

Steve J. Getting your sourc... (Below threshold)

Steve J. Getting your sources from a reporter is using heresay.

Get your sources from the origin, red cross had stated that it was the STATE homeland security department.

Look at DaveK's comment a few above mine.
He links to it.

BULLWINKLE- That m... (Below threshold)

BULLWINKLE-

That may be correct.

It is correct, I used the M... (Below threshold)

It is correct, I used the Media Matters link because they are about far left as it gets. I figured even you would have a hard time disputing it. If you were to try looking for the truth rather than trying to support your opinion you might be shocked at what you find.

"That may, be correc... (Below threshold)
Cro:

"That may, be correct?"... I think what you meant was it IS correct. Still waiting to hear about your thoughts on prepositioning....and I don't mean helo's, dumbass...by that token we need not pre-position ANYTHING, because we can fly it in. I'm talking about food, water, clothing etc...the same things you meant until you realized that Ft. Polk is out in the sticks.

What a maroon! heh

Erm, you forgot about the C... (Below threshold)

Erm, you forgot about the Coast Guard Helicoptors working around the clock to rescue people

oh wait they are military so they don't count.

Bullshit.

Well Jay, I remember you co... (Below threshold)

Well Jay, I remember you complaining about Paul's posts garnering tons more comments than yours.

Looks like you hit the big one. (Most likely due to Steve J. He seems to comment 5 times in a single sitting for each post.)

It's true that it was Louis... (Below threshold)

It's true that it was Louisiana State DHS. But to be clear, the Red Cross
agreed with the Louisiana DHS decision
.

"Mayeaux, appearing at the news conference with Howell, said he had asked the Red Cross to wait 24 hours for conditions to be "set" for the operation.

"To set up a feeding station to feed a large number of people, you need space. You need to escort the personnel into position. ... And we asked Mr. Howell, and he concurred, to wait 24 hours to go to set that in," Mayeaux said."

Llama School, so then the R... (Below threshold)

Llama School, so then the Red Cross also accepts partial blame to what happened as well. Just stop pinning it on FEMA and Bush.

"THAT plan is from 2000 and... (Below threshold)
Eric:

"THAT plan is from 2000 and contra to the PigBoy, does not call for using buses to remove people from NO. The buses are to be used to move them to shelters in NO."

Steve J. maybe you should read the plan...

PART 2: EVACUATION

I. GENERAL

The safe evacuation of threatened populations when endangered by a major catastrophic event is one of the principle reasons for developing a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. The thorough identification of at-risk populations, transportation and sheltering resources, evacuation routes and potential bottlenecks and choke points, and the establishment of the management team that will coordinate not only the evacuation but which will monitor and direct the sheltering and return of affected populations, are the primary tasks of evacuation planning. Due to the geography of New Orleans and the varying scales of potential disasters and their resulting emergency evacuations, different plans are in place for small-scale evacuations and for citywide relocations of whole populations.

Authority to issue evacuations of elements of the population is vested in the Mayor. By Executive Order, the chief elected official, the Mayor of the City of New Orleans, has the authority to order the evacuation of residents threatened by an approaching hurricane.

Evacuation procedures for special needs persons with either physical or mental handicaps, including registration of disabled persons, is covered in the SOP for Evacuation of Special Needs Persons.

Major population relocations resulting from an approaching hurricane or similar anticipated disaster, caused the City of New Orleans Office of Emergency Preparedness to develop a specific Hurricane Emergency Evacuation Standard Operating Procedures, which are appended to the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.

The SOP is developed to provide for an orderly and coordinated evacuation intended to minimize the hazardous effects of flooding, wind, and rain on the residents and visitors in New Orleans. The SOP provides for the evacuation of the public from danger areas and the designations of shelters for evacuees.

II. CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS

The Hurricane Emergency Evacuation Standard Operating Procedure is designed to deal with all case scenarios of an evacuation in response to the approach of a major hurricane towards New Orleans. It is designed to deal with the anticipation of a direct hit from a major hurricane. This includes identifying the city's present population, its projected population, identification of at-risk populations (those living outside levee protection or in storm-surge areas, floodplains, mobile homes, etc.), in order to understand the evacuation requirements. It includes identifying the transportation network, especially the carrying-capacity of proposed evacuation routes and existing or potential traffic bottlenecks or blockages, caused either by traffic congestion or natural occurrences such as rising waters. Identification of sheltering resources and the establishment of shelters and the training of shelter staff is important, as is the provision for food and other necessities to the sheltered. This preparation function is the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Preparedness.

Conduct of an actual evacuation will be the responsibility of the Mayor of New Orleans in coordination with the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, and the OEP Shelter Coordinator.

The SOP, in unison with other elements of the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, is designed for use in all hazard situations, including citywide evacuations in response to hurricane situations and addresses three elements of emergency response: warning, evacuation, and sheltering.

1. Warning: Formulates a comprehensive system for public information, early recognition of impending storms, and dissemination of emergency warning.

2. Evacuation: Formulates an effective procedure for orderly evacuation of residents and visitors within available warning time.

3. Sheltering: Formulates a comprehensive system of accessible shelters of adequate size.

The SOP is limited as it is not designed to address the protection of personal and real property, yet is developed to cover the total New Orleans geographic area. The timely issuance of evacuation orders critically impacts upon the successful evacuation of all citizens from high-risk areas. In determining the proper time to issue evacuation orders, there is no substitute for human judgement based upon all known circumstances surrounding local conditions and storm characteristics.

Information received from the National Hurricane Center concerning the storm's tract will allow the focusing on either a landfall, paralleling or exiting storm scenario. Information involving local conditions such as pre-hurricane rainfall, tide schedules, and the amount of pre-storm publicity, must be taken into account, as are the various known circumstances that are explained in the information summary portion of the Hurricane Evacuation Plan, in determining when an evacuation order should be issued. Any assumption regarding where and how the storm will likely make landfall involves clear and constant communication with the National Hurricane Center, the local office of the National Weather Service, State OEP and various local agencies that are monitoring either the storm's progress or other elements of the city's preparedness to weather the storm's passage.

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 entire context of this section of the plan concerns what to do in the event of a Cat 3 hurricane and the need to evacuate the entire city.

The reposnsibility for evacuating the city falls on the mayor.

* The plan says that 72 hrs is needed to completely evac the city. That wasn't done.

* The plan calls for the use of public transportation to evacuate the needy and indigent. That wasn't done. You may be closing your eyes about the buses, but they exist. Are you saying that before the hurricane they couldn't get 500 people to drive those buses? That includes the bus drivers themselves, national guard, police, city workers or volunteers?

* The plan calls for setting up temporary shelters supplied with food, water and other necessities including security for the evacuees. This wasn't done, see SuperDome.

The responsibility for evacuating the city fell to the mayor. He did not follow his own plan. You can blame FEMA all you want but the simple undeniable fact is that if the mayor had used the 500 buses that were less than two miles from the SuperDome he could have avoided the whole SuperDome crisis all together.

Steve J. "3 kids from Duke... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Steve J. "3 kids from Duke managed to get there faster."

Maybe you should read the things you link to.

"The evacuation was basically complete by the time they arrived, at about 6:30 or 6:45 p.m. What the trio saw there horrified them.

"The only way I can describe this, it was the epicenter," Buder said. "Inside there were National Guard running around, there was feces, people had urinated, soiled the carpet. There were dead bodies. The smell will never leave me."

It sounds to me that they didn't get there faster. It sounds to me that they got there after the fact. Furthermore, they talk about dodging fallen trees and powerlines to get there and having to take detours as they were "turned away by police and National Guard." Is it possible they were turned away because the route was dangerous?

These guys weren't pathfinders. They didn't get into the city before the rest of the relief effort. They didn't have to move tons of supplies and equipment over washed out roads and bridges or clear downed trees and power lines.

What they did was great and highly commendable.

But what you did was to mislead people about it. You either didn't read the article or you lied.

You need to remember tha if... (Below threshold)

You need to remember tha if Mayor Nagin had done his job and issued a real evacuation order instead of a suggestion there wouldn't have been all those people left to begin with and if Governor Blanco had done hers by putting enough National Guard in NO security wouldn't have been an issue for the Red Cross, they agreed to wait because security wasn't guaranteed. The Red Cross was there, ready to go, New Orleans, the state of Louisiana and it's incompetent officials weren't.

Don't forget about the <a h... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Don't forget about the 7 tractor trailers of food and water that FEMA pre-positioned at the SuperDome BEFORE the hurricane. No one seems to know what happened to them.

At the Superdome, city officials reckoned that 9,000 people had arrived by evening to ride out the storm. FEMA had sent seven trailers full of food and water -- enough, it estimated, to supply two days of food for as many as 22,000 people and three days of water for 30,000. Ebbert said he knew conditions in the Superdome would be "horrible," but Hurricane Pam had predicted a massive federal response within two days, and Ebbert said the city's plan was to "hang in there for 48 hours and wait for the cavalry."


Eric, thanks for looking at... (Below threshold)

Eric, thanks for looking at the New Orleans evacuation plan, I only saw the Louisiana Emergency Operations Plan and commented on it, I should take a look @ the New Orleans' one.

I just finished watching Ha... (Below threshold)
Eric:

I just finished watching Hardball. The whole show was about what went wrong. At the top of the show Chris Mathews describes how it was a failure at all levels of government and that the show would look at all of the failures from Fed, State and Local. What a crock. He spent the entire show talking about the Fed.

The first segment focused only on the Fed and how they didn't follow through on the Hurricane Pam war game. Etc.

The second segment promised to detail the failures of the state and local officials. But it quickly boiled down to bashing the Fed again.

They even had a former Clinton era FEMA official say that using the busing the people out of the SuperDome wouldn't have solved anything. The real problem was that FEMA didn't respond fast enough to the problem of all the people at the SuperDome.

Right after that Olberman came on and bashed on Brown. He then went on to bash Brown's replacement because as Olberman snidely says he was the guy who suggested people get duct tape. Never mind that the duct tape was one small part of the overall message they were trying to convey. Namely, have a household emergency kit, including food and water.

I was disappointed the Navy... (Below threshold)

I was disappointed the Navy didn't leave port in Virgina until Wednesday after the storm. Sure, they couldn't be in the Gulf, but you'd think they could be off the coast of Miami, waiting to see how the storm played out, still far enough away to keep themselves out of harms way.

Other than that, I have to ask why did the other states fair better than LA? Has to be the local government.




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