Sunday, September 04, 2005
Katrina and New Orleans
I got put onto the Interdictor blog by a link from slashdot. This guy is with a hosting company that has basically refused to allow the circumstances to stop them - apparently their disaster recovery plans are much more comprehensive than any I have ever prepared!
Of course, it is the human side of it that has the most impact. From yesterday:
Three days ago, police and national guard troops told citizens to head toward the Crescent City Connection Bridge to await transportation out of the area. The citizens trekked over to the Convention Center and waited for the buses which they were told would take them to Houston or Alabama or somewhere else, out of this area.
It's been 3 days, and the buses have yet to appear.
Although obviously he has no exact count, he estimates more than 10,000 people are packed into and around and outside the convention center still waiting for the buses. They had no food, no water, and no medicine for the last three days, until today, when the National Guard drove over the bridge above them, and tossed out supplies over the side crashing down to the ground below. Much of the supplies were destroyed from the drop. Many people tried to catch the supplies to protect them before they hit the ground. Some offered to walk all the way around up the bridge and bring the supplies down, but any attempt to approach the police or national guard resulted in weapons being aimed at them.
There are many infants and elderly people among them, as well as many people who were injured jumping out of windows to escape flood water and the like -- all of them in dire straights.
Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint. Hour after hour they watch buses pass by filled with people from other areas. Tensions are very high, and there has been at least one murder and several fights. 8 or 9 dead people have been stored in a freezer in the area, and 2 of these dead people are kids.
The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.
The buses never stop.
Before the supplies were pitched off the bridge today, people had to break into buildings in the area to try to find food and water for their families. There was not enough. This spurred many families to break into cars to try to escape the city. There was no police response to the auto thefts until the mob reached the rich area -- Saulet Condos -- once they tried to get cars from there... well then the whole swat teams began showing up with rifles pointed. Snipers got on the roof and told people to get back.
He reports that the conditions are horrendous. Heat, mosquitoes and utter misery. The smell, he says, is "horrific."
He says it's the slowest mandatory evacuation ever, and he wants to know why they were told to go to the Convention Center area in the first place; furthermore, he reports that many of them with cell phones have contacts willing to come rescue them, but people are not being allowed through to pick them up.
Addendum: Bigfoot just called to report that "they" (the authorities) are cleaning up the dead bodies at the Convention Center right now.
And from today:
The city is starting to feel more secure now. Much larger military and Homeland Security presence and many fewer civilians left. Of course with this added security comes additional dangers like hyper-suspicious, armed authorities. If you watch the cam or walk the streets, you see that almost every civilian is approached, evaluated for threat potential, then either patted down or left alone. The disconcerting thing is that these authorities always have their guns at the ready and look like they're enjoying intimidating the people. Two of us have already had guns aimed at us by police -- Brian by the Federal Cops guarding the Boggs Federal building while we were waiting for the resupply, and me when we were delivering the router to City Hall.
Don't get me wrong, some guys are more professional than others. You can tell the ones who took the job because they wanted to bullies and who took the job to protect and serve. That's one thing a catastrophic situation does -- it sifts people's true personalities out.
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