New Orleans: day 5
7:03 A.M. - [Jefferson Parish emergency management director Walter] Maestri: We had a plan and we followed it (on storm coverage). Mayor Nagin and those in Jefferson believed that within 48 hours food, water and security would be here. It didn't happen.
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.
Angry crowds chanted cries for help, and some among them rushed chaotically at helicopters bringing in food. . . "We're just a bunch of rats," said Earle Young, 31, a cook who stood waiting in a throng of perhaps 10,000 outside the Superdome, waiting in the blazing sun for buses to take them away from the city. "That's how they've been treating us.". . .
Col. Terry Ebbert, director of homeland security for New Orleans, concurred and he was particularly pungent in his criticism. Asserting that the whole recovery operation had been "carried on the backs of the little guys for four goddamn days," he said that "the rest of the goddamn nation can't get us any resources for security."
So: A crony with no relevant experience was installed as head of FEMA. Mitigation budgets for New Orleans were slashed even though it was known to be one of the top three risks in the country. FEMA was deliberately downsized as part of the Bush administration's conservative agenda to reduce the role of government. After DHS was created, FEMA's preparation and planning functions were taken away.
A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered a restroom. Blood stained the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers....
"We pee on the floor. We are like animals," said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. In her right hand she carried a half-full bottle of formula provided by rescuers. Baby supplies are running low; one mother said she was given two diapers and told to scrape them off when they got dirty and use them again.
There are four levels of hell inside the refugee city of the Superdome, home to about 15,000 people since Sunday. On the artificial-turf field and in the lower-level seats where Montrel sat sweltering with her family, a form of civilization had taken hold -- smelly, messy, dark and dank, but with a structure....
The bathrooms, clogged and overflowing since Monday, announced the second level of hell, the walkway ringing the entrance level. In the men's, the urinal troughs were overflowing. In the women's, the bowls were to the brim. A slime of excrement and urine made the walkway slick....
Within the skyboxes, on the third level of hell, life was dark 24 hours a day, a place for abandonment and coupling. Also up there was "a sort of speakeasy," said Michael Childs, who had some beer in an empty Dannon water bottle....
On the fourth level, the darkest and highest of all, the lurkers lived, scary in the shadows. The fourth level, people explained, was for the gangsters and the druggies. The rumors sprang from there: Two girls had been raped; one girl had been raped and one killed. Someone was abducting newborns. A man had jumped from there and died. A murder had occurred.
This is the situation. Please Help!!!!
My dad a surgeon and chief medical officer for the hospital. We just got called at 1:30 am this morning that things are deteriorating there.
THEY NEED HELP!!
600 People in hospital
13 patients on gurneys
Staff is dehydrating
FEMA is DIVERTING support being sent in by UHS (owners of hospital) away from the hospital
Temperature 110 degrees with humidity
NO fuel left to operate the hospital tower
NO communication with National Guard to coordinate evacuation of patients
Having to feed 500+ non-patient refugees--they are very close to rioting for the balance of food water and supplies
NO power, NO communication
Everything is manual--no xray--running out of supplies
Patients are on the 2nd floor and 3rd floor--having to carry patients up the stairs and the helicopters don't come back
Without power, the ventilator dependant patients are being manually bagged in 1 hour shifts by staff
Refusing to take gurney patients
FEMA is commandeering all supplies and all private efforts to get supplies including fuel, food, water
Governor is misrepresenting what is going on
Snakes in hospital
Rashes on staff from water
Losing nurses as a result of dehydration
Need FEMA to land on roof and prove what they are saying is correct
No security--uprising for food, water and supplies
Governor did not allow for the evacuation of the hospitals and now won't help
The National Public Radio news anchor was so excited I thought she'd piss on herself: the President of the United had flown his plane down to 1700 feet to get a better look at the flood damage! And there was a photo of our Commander-in-Chief taken looking out the window. He looked very serious and concerned.
That was yesterday. Today he played golf. No kidding.
I'm sure the people of New Orleans would have liked to show their appreciation for the official Presidential photo-strafing, but their surface-to-air missiles were wet.