Hurricane Katrina

Re : Hurricane Katrina

Postby missgamecock » Mon Sep 05, 2005 05:47 pm

I know where I work at the emergency preparedness branch DOES watch cnn and the weather channel. I work for a federal agency. They post weather updates via email as well. When there is a storm coming, especially a hurricane (even though I am in NY) they start preparing a list of people to deploy down to the region. This goes for flooding, ice storms, and snow storms. Even if we are not the region being affected, they still send people from every district to help. (The reason is that it is easier to send a few people from each district than to send an entire district). We also get satellite feeds as well. I know because I write and negotiate the contracts for the services. They also use the weather information to help with project management. If you are out dredging a harbor, you need to make sure the equipment is out of there before a bad storm. While they don't sit around and watch tv all day, there is a tv constantly on in that office tuned into cnn or the weather channel. The command staff also has a tv on with cnn and the weather channel as well.

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Re : Hurricane Katrina

Postby deerhart » Mon Sep 05, 2005 07:46 pm

I dunno, at the point that the Govoner and the mayor were ordering mandatory evacuations they should ahve also been providing MEANS to accomplish those evacuations instead of leaving it up to every man for themselves.
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Re : Hurricane Katrina

Postby mamc2003 » Mon Sep 05, 2005 08:51 pm

Sabrina, thanks for sharing that. I had no idea.

Erin, you are exactly right. They should not have left it up to everyone to find a way out of town. The gov't knew that 26% of NO's population was under the poverty line. All those buses that were down there after the storm picking people up should have been there before the storm helping get people out. But, that was also the reason they opened up the Superdome. They knew the SD could withstand winds up to 200mph(I think) and I don't think they really thought that the levees were going to break and NO was going to flood. But, you're right, it's not very often(in fact I don't think ever before) has NO been faced with a Cat 5 hurricane. They should have taken it more seriously than they did and helped get people out.
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Re : Hurricane Katrina

Postby missgamecock » Mon Sep 05, 2005 09:02 pm

No problem Mandy. Just knew that we always have it on. That's how we found out about 9/11. I happened to be in that office discussing a contract with the admin person and we both watched the second plane fly into the tower. That was a mess that day. Whole base was on lock down, no one in or out the entire day. Also I know when we were stationed overseas at SHAPE, Belgium - NATO base all of the unit commanders had tvs in their offices and they were all tuned to cnn. The base commander (Gen. Clark - yep the same one that ran for president) had several tvs in his office tuned into several different channels. One of my best friends worked for him and the General would get quite upset if the cable wasn't working.

I don't know who should have provided the buses,but when you have a newcaster telling you to get the he!! out of town (exact words that I heard on tv), someone in that city or state should have been calling and saying get our citizens out even if it took getting the LA National Guard activated to do it.
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Re : Hurricane Katrina

Postby cara » Tue Sep 06, 2005 09:34 am

OK...here's my rant....I am from New Orleans, have many family members with no homes to go home to whenever the city does get up and running. I also have a degree in Emergency Management and worked for the State OEP for almost 2 years and now I do private consulting on the matter at hand. Needless to say, this has hit home very hard.

There were a LOT of problems with the response, I understand that. But any other figure in office could not have made any decisions any better than the Governor did. I am not her biggest fan in the world but I honestly do not believe that anyone else could have saved those people. You have to remember that the individual Parishes have to let the State in first, before the Feds can come in as well. New Orleans is VERY infamous in this state as a "We can do it ourselves" jurisdiction. You also have to remember that the people who wanted to be saved had thugs shooting at helicopters, ruining their chances of being brought to safety. I know this state and the officials in it personally. This was their biggest nightmare come true. They knew it was coming and warned people about it at the start of EVERY SINGLE hurricane season. If people didn't watch the news or read the newspaper (b/c there was a week long article about what would happen if a storm of this caliber hit the area) then that was their own fault. That may sound harsh but it is true. Everyone in NO knows about "The Big One". They just never thought it would ever come. Well, after years of near misses, this one hit it. It wasn't even a direct hit either.

As for the Guard, someone asked why they weren't mobilized faster. Well, here you go...half of our Guard is in IRAQ. We literally have about 5,000 soldiers in Iraq. My husband's unit was activated LAST SATURDAY. The Guard was in place to do things that they usually do...sandbags, cots, ice, water, water buffalos, MREs, etc... We just needed more people.

As for having means to evacuate everyone in a city of 1.3 million people, I would LOVE to see a similar jurisdiction's plan for that. No one has a plan to evacuate poor people. That's just the truth. Buses were sent around the city to pick up people who wanted to ride it out in the Superdome. You also have to understand our traffic infrastructure. There are only a few ways out of the city. At 40 mph winds, all law enforcement, fire, EMS, etc are pulled off of the streets for safety reasons. That can be hours before the storm hits. What good what it be to pick up a busload of people only to have it overturn in high winds?

I know that there were a lot of mistakes made. I am not taking up for people but there is a limit on what people can do in a situation like this. It is unique from any other city making evacuations or being flooded. If it hadn't been for other Parishes coming in and other jurisdictions from other states, they'd still be shooting each other down there. Hopefully this was a powerful lesson learned. New Orleanians have a notorious mindset of staying when storms approach.

As for me, personally, we have finally found apartments and housing for all but my mom. She'll be staying with me for a little bit. My dad is still working in Jefferson Parish. He's doing ok and was able to get to their house yesterday. A lot of my friends lived in Lakeview, which was an area that was hard hit and they have lost their homes.

We are stressed to the breaking point. I get to see my husband about 30 minutes a day. He works in the office that is being blasted by everyone. I know that he is doing the best he can do, but being a worker bee, he doesn't make decisions.

I guess just keep that in mind...This is the field I work in, my husband works for the State, and many of my friends are public officials that make decisions. It's hard being on both sides of the spectrum. It's a no win situation for the officials here. You can't make calls when the hurricane is more than 3 days out. It's still pretty outside, there's the chance it may not come there...for example, the first forecast had it hitting Destin FL. What if the State chartered 100 buses, picked everyone in the city up, took them somewhere and the storm hit FL? Then they would be criticized for wasting MILLIONS and for jumping the gun. People become complacent and wouldn't leave the next time. It's a very difficult position to hold.
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Re : Hurricane Katrina

Postby jenandtheboys » Tue Sep 06, 2005 10:35 am

Cara,
THanks so much for your post, although we are sorry to see you having to deal with such a horrible situation. I thank you, though, because I feel like you are someone who is able to speak so knowledgeably about the situation because you're there and know it from both sides, as you said.

It's been so easy for everyone to criticize and point fingers, and I include myself in that group because I've done it, and yet there are underlying reasons that made the evacuation, etc more difficult as you explained. So, I greatly appreciate hearing it from your perspective as we all try so hard to "wrap our minds" around this devastating event and begin to understand what actually happened and is still happening.

Best of luck for you and all of your friends and family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. [:)]
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Re : Hurricane Katrina

Postby youtan » Tue Sep 06, 2005 11:36 am

I remember after 9/11 we lit candles in our windows for what seemed like weeks. We drove our cars with lights on, we had flags everywhere. The nation was in a state of shock and mourning. It was unique in that we were attacked - but those thousands that died last week and are dying now - where are we now? What are we doing now to honor those that have died, those that have lost everything? Its been a week - and what have we done? Money is one thing - mourning is another...
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Re : Hurricane Katrina

Postby mamc2003 » Tue Sep 06, 2005 09:39 pm

(((Hugs))) to you Cara. I know you've been through a lot this past week and am so glad that your family found somewhere to stay. How long will it be before they can start rebuilding their houses? I bet it's nice having your mom around.

Like I said in my previous post, I don't know enough about gov't and politics to lay blame. I just hate that people had to suffer the way they did. It felt like NO was a million miles away instead of just a short drive. I realize after reading your post that there really is no way to evacuate everyone out of NO, but I wish there was a way it could have been done. And yes, NO has been faced with hurricanes before and even though they knew the Big One could happen, I don't think they ever thought it would. On the news tonight, it was showing footage of people that still didn't want to leave town, even though there is no power and no fresh water.

And I agree with Jennifer, it's great hearing your perspective on how everybody is working to get this situation improved. Thanks.

Does anyone know why people are mad at Geraldo? I just heard the tail end of his commentary and he was saying something about the NY Times. What was that all about?
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Re : Hurricane Katrina

Postby youtan » Wed Sep 07, 2005 10:12 am

Thinking about you and your family today Cara. Sending thoughts and prayers your way.
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Re : Hurricane Katrina

Postby cara » Thu Sep 08, 2005 10:53 am

Hey all-

Just a quick update: All is well here. My mom will probably be living with me for a while. Her house is fine but the Parish is not letting people back in for 3 weeks starting today at 6 pm. Then when they do finally let people in, there is no business there so she'll stay here and work until the office is up and running. My dad is still working in Jefferson Parish. We don't know when he'll get a day off to come up and see us.

Mike is still working his long shifts and I haven't seen him for more than 30 minutes. He gets a day off on Sunday.

Grant is doing fine. Confused, but fine. He's been waking up in the middle of the night for the past few days but he usually goes back to sleep.

The rest of the family is ok. Cramped living quarters but it's better than a shelter or nothing at all.

It's still stressful. People just want to go home and they can't.

Traffic is a nightmare. It usually takes me about 20 minutes to pick up Grant and come home from work. Past few days it's been over an hour.

So we're all ok...Baby #2 is put off indefinitely though so I'm bummed out about that too....
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