Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fletch Katrina 5th Anniversary

I notice that the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is being marked in America. Obama visited New Orleans today, which bore the brunt of the hurricane back in 2005. I notice, in the comments that he made, that he apologized for the (Bush) Government's slow reaction in helping the survivors at that time.
"It was a natural disaster but also a man-made catastrophe, a shameful breakdown in government that left countless men and women and children abandoned and alone," Mr Obama said in a speech at Xavier University.
 But was help really that slow? Not according to a special report put together back in 2006 called, "Katrina: Debunking the Myths" by Popular Mechanics, whose "editors and reporters spent more than four months interviewing officials, scientists, first responders and victims."
As far as the slow response, the article reports -
MYTH: "The aftermath of Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history."--Aaron Broussard, president, Jefferson Parish, La., Meet the Press, NBC, Sept. 4, 2005
REALITY: Bumbling by top disaster-management officials fueled a perception of general inaction, one that was compounded by impassioned news anchors. In fact, the response to Hurricane Katrina was by far the largest--and fastest-rescue effort in U.S. history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall.
Dozens of National Guard and Coast Guard helicopters flew rescue operations that first day--some just 2 hours after Katrina hit the coast. Hoistless Army helicopters improvised rescues, carefully hovering on rooftops to pick up survivors. On the ground, "guardsmen had to chop their way through, moving trees and recreating roadways," says Jack Harrison of the National Guard. By the end of the week, 50,000 National Guard troops in the Gulf Coast region had saved 17,000 people; 4000 Coast Guard personnel saved more than 33,000.
These units had help from local, state and national responders, including five helicopters from the Navy ship Bataan and choppers from the Air Force and police. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries dispatched 250 agents in boats. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state police and sheriffs' departments launched rescue flotillas. By Wednesday morning, volunteers and national teams joined the effort, including eight units from California's Swift Water Rescue. By Sept. 8, the waterborne operation had rescued 20,000.
While the press focused on FEMA's shortcomings, this broad array of local, state and national responders pulled off an extraordinary success--especially given the huge area devastated by the storm. Computer simulations of a Katrina-strength hurricane had estimated a worst-case-scenario death toll of more than 60,000 people in Louisiana. The actual number was 1077 in that state.
So, does Obama actually know this? Or does it just help him to keep repeating the same old line that the Bush Administration was bad, bad, bad.

2 comment(s):

KG said...

I'd like to think that our own Civil Defence could respond half as effectively in the event of a large natural disaster.
But I don't.

scrubone said...

Personally, I found the idea that Bush had "done nothing" jaw dropping.

Because I remember watching Bush telling people *before* the disaster to get out, and thinking why he was doing that. It's the job of local governors to run disaster response in their state unless they ask for federal assistance.

But the fact is, there is not a single disaster when the response has been satisfactory to all affected. Katrina was one of the biggest of all time, and it is simply unrealistic to expect a perfect response. What really happened is that the usual problems (in disaster response) got picked up by the media and used to beat up on the already-hated president Bush.

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