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The real scale of the Bush administration's failure in responding to Hurricane Katrina can be summed up in those figures. Yesterday Cyclone Phailin made landfall on the east coast of India with wind strengths of 125 m.p.h. - the same as Katrina - yet the preparations and evacuations organized by the Indian government meant it led to the deaths of 18 people. Wikipedia states the number of deaths resulting from Katrina was 1836.

In the Indian states of Orissa and Andra Pradesh up to a million people were evacuated by the government agency organizing transport for predominantly poor villagers. Others took refuge in special storm shelters or schools away from the danger zone where they were able to get hot food. The result was devastration of the homes of some of the poorest on the planet and the local infrastructure BUT:

despite the destruction, there's a feeling of relief that the loss of life has been lower than had been feared. Many people said the government's urgency in getting people into shelters ahead of the storm had made the difference.
In contrast, the New Orleans evacuation plan basically meant that the poor in the city had to "depend on the kindness of strangers" to transport them away from the city. A report from the National Academy of Engineering makes it clear:
The most serious questions, however, relate to the city’s poor populations. Local governments have been blamed for poor planning and not providing adequate transportation to shelters of last resort. For example, it was widely known that some 112,000 people did not have access to personal vehicles at the time of the storm (Russell, 2005). Given these numbers and the limited capability of moving this enormous number of people quickly, public officials have long advocated “neighbor helping neighbor” policies, urging low-mobility individuals to arrange for transportation with friends, family, neighbors, and church members. Local plans also included using Regional Transit Authority buses to carry people to the Superdome from 12 locations around the city (Russell, 2005).

A major failure of the plans for evacuating the low-mobility population was the lack of communication. Evacuation plans can only be effective if people are aware of them, and evacuation orders can only be heeded if they are received in time

Heck of a job?

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Comment Preferences

  •  But Bush had important things on his mind (20+ / 0-)

    like McCain's birthday celebration.

    Wanting to own a gun is an immediate indicator that you should be the last person to have one.

    by pollbuster on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 04:58:18 PM PDT

  •  Speaking from New Orleans, this is just wrong. (30+ / 0-)

    It kind of bugs me when people try to re-write history.  You can put a lot of blame on Bush for the slow aftermath.  (And it was equal-opportunity bad reaction -- it was the worst in St. Bernard Parish, which was overwhelmingly white and Republican.)  

    In contrast, the New Orleans evacuation plan basically meant that the poor in the city had to "depend on the kindness of strangers" to transport them away from the city. A report from the National Academy of Engineering makes it clear:
    But the EVACUATION was not the responsibility of the federal government.  That's just wrong.  The federal government is NEVER responsible for evacuation plans before a storm hits.  I've been through hurricanes here all my life, I've evacuated for several, but the evacuation plans are never the responsibility of the federal government.  

    The EVACUATION failures lay solidly at the feet of Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco -- mostly Mayor Nagin, frankly.  Not the federal government.  Saying that the evacuation was the failure of the federal government shows me that you know nothing about what we in New Orleans went through.  And I frankly am put off by people who know nothing about the Army Corps of Engineers failure (what the rest of the country calls "Katrina") pretending like they do.  

    If you want to fault the federal government for the response, I'm with you.  The response AFTERWARD was a failure of Governor Blanco and the Bush administration (Mayor Nagin could not do much by that point -- except for his wholly inappropriate comments and demeanor at times).  

    •  This is true. (8+ / 0-)

      I would fault the Fed Govt for not doing enough to push the state and local govts. to advance prep. That is their responsibility, maybe not legally but ethically and morally.

      My in laws are all from Louisiana, my sister in law lives and lived at the time in lower 9th. She got out and went to Lake Charles to meet everyone else and then came to stay with us in Texas.

      It was a harrowing time, only to be followed up by Rita, which seriously damaged LC.

      Uncle in law was a Calcaseau Parish detective. He and his command all went to NOLA to assist. They left after the shootings on the bridge, left because it was criminal. Got death threats by mail and intimidating calls letting them know they were no longer "welcome" in the Easy.

      Someone had delivered black umbrellas tot he wedding party the next year with a threatening note.

      What a mess. And NOLA is not the same.  

      •  Well, what happened in 2008, for Gustav? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bastrop, worldlotus, VClib

        We had a far more orderly, far more effective evacuation.  The federal government did nothing differently in the lead up.  Instead, it was a better job by state and local government, who are responsible for that.  

        •  I'm not arguing with you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          worldlotus, sawgrass727

          I agree. I don't know. After Katrina it seems everyone was a little more tuned in to the reality I guess. I'm no expert, I observe from afar and through my family.

          Nagin was at fault for that deal. Everyone knew that. He didn't want to take responsibility for any of his actions or inaction.

        •  maybe the Feds step in when the local (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LilithGardener, myboo, mrkvica

          efforts are failing/not enough? Maybe the Feds and State under them are monitoring if Locals have it handle and their job is to step in when they do not?

          So many live in greater NYC that Sandy effected so many millions. I remember Obama's approach, in word and deed, was "what do you need?". It felt palpable that he was monitoring the situation, he and of course FEMA, to seemingly makes sure things were happening. I can't say for sure how on top of Bloomberg and Christie's evac orders the Feds were, but they might have been in the loop advising.

          Id like to think if locals fail to evacuate tens or hundreds of thousands non-mobile civilians, the State and Feds would step in, and that they see that as part of their responsibility.
          We know in the case of Katrina that no one stepped in to fill the vacuum left by the city's apparent negligence.

          Can't be sure.

          You probably know this, but the storm itself didn't kill most of those people. It was the Surge overwhelming the levies in the 24 hrs immediately after the storm. And that was a Federal project,iirc, that never got taken care of.
          Feds new the levies would be breached in such a storm (there was a study/report beforehand). Did FEMA get involved in insisting on evacuation knowing that? What about right after the storm?
          I don't know, myself.

          •  NYC's success derived from more than a decade (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sawgrass727

            of planning, and bipartisan cooperation between city/state governments.

            A few highlights.

            They had been aware for a few decades (from a US military study) that because of the shape of the coast line and the tidal straight that connects Long Island Sound to NY Harbor that a Cat 2 storm could totally flood lower Manhattan.

            They had just updated the flood zone maps just 2 or 3 years before, and they were updated (IIRC) right before Irene.

            Hurricane Irene turned out to serve as a practice run for the "never been done before" orderly shut-down of mass transit, closure of bridges and tunnels, and an effective "shelter in place" strategy for any business that planned to remain open the 12-18 hours before the storm. And remember that 4 of NYC's 5 boroughs are on Islands so once transit shuts down people are stuck.

            That had a HUGE impact in lowering the number of people who were stranded somewhere and needing immediate evacuation.

            NYPD - for all its faults (and there are serious faults) knows how to predict/prevent/deal with riots. E.g. after the Rodney King verdict NYC troubles were pretty localized and there was no large scale rioting.

            All of those factors, and others, contributed to the low loss of life in Hurricane Sandy.

            "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

            by LilithGardener on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 08:06:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Point taken (10+ / 0-)

      However the Indian states also have prime responsibility for the evacuation. In addition, the central government had supplies and personnel on standby. This from the Times of India (1 lakh = 100,000)

      Evacuations play a key part in disaster mitigation. Unlike 1999 when the super cyclone caught the victims as well as government authorities by surprise, around 5.25 lakh evacuations were already complete by the first half of Saturday.

      The cyclone shelters have been built under the Centre and NDMA's National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project, a World Bank-assisted initiative. These two-storeyed structures can withstand windspeed up to 300 km per hour and moderate earthquakes.

      The massive evacuation authorities may not have been possible but for the relentless efforts of the local administration. A local official said when some of the villagers refused to leave their houses, the authorities even went to the extent of threatening them with detention and arrest, ensuring immediate compliance.

      The creation of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in 2006 ensured that there were around 2,300 personnel, especially trained in disaster mitigation and response, available for deployment, along with equipment like inflatable boads, lifebuoys and power saws.

      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...

      We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 05:27:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, here's the difference (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        We also evacuated for Hurricane Gustav, in August of 2008, and that was BY FAR a better evacuation.  Did Bush suddenly get better?  Of course not.  It was a better job by state and local government.

    •  But yet, India, made up of many states (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, Dianna, lady blair, old possum, mrkvica

      Managed things very well, given the circumstances.

      Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

      by Bollox Ref on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 05:34:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And we had a far, far, far better evacuation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        in August of 2008, with Hurricane Gustav.  Did Bush suddenly get better?  

        (Hint:  no.  it was a better job by state and local government.  Which anyone who went through it could see.)  

        •  No, my point is that Federal India (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dianna, poco, mrkvica

          Got stuff done when it counted........... to save the lives of its citizens.  Despite the per capita income difference, etc.

          Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

          by Bollox Ref on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 05:51:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have no idea who is responsible for ordering (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            evacuations in India.  In this country, it's not the federal government.  It's illegitimate to say, because the national government is responsible for evacuations in India, then the national government is responsible for evacuations in the United States.  That' is simply not true.  

    •  It is even more complex than that (4+ / 0-)

      Another factor people don't understand is that there are very few routes out of New Orleans, all but one of which go over very long bridges, and all the previous contraflow evacuations had been clusterfucks whcih had trapped people for tens of hours on those crossings.  Many people who had the means to get out chose not to because their history was that their property had never flooded and the evacuation was likely to be much more dangerous than staying.

      I actually consider it a miracle, one I had trouble believing for years afterward, that the death toll from Katrina wasn't in the mid 5 figures.  The casualty figure from Katrina was not a failure on anybody's part.  It was miraculously low.  While there is plenty of blame to go around for the fact that the levees failed and the way the aftermath was handled, I doubt Superman himself could have done a better job getting as many people out of the way as possible considering the resources and routes which were available.

      And congratulations are in order for the Indian people for performing their own version of this miracle.  As we did they will find that the hard part is just starting as the storm leaves and they start to pick up the pieces.

      •  Also Katrina misbehaved (0+ / 0-)

        It took a surprise turn and N.O. had less time to evacuate. Katrina was supposed hit Florida where it would have petered out. Instead it dipped around into the gulf where it picked up steam.

        Still very impressive for India.

    •  the Feds could have pre-positioned (8+ / 0-)

      and hardened a lot of locations.

      Federalized the national guard, put them up to speed.

      Had the corps of engineers harden the canals, or block the entrances.

      but the bush administration was clown show all the way down.

      it's only a pity they fired rumsfeld after the election.

      if they had let him hold on another 6 weeks he could have been the longest serviing secdef.

      and the worst.

    •  Unbelievable. (5+ / 0-)

      "And it was equal-opportunity bad reaction -- it was the worst in St. Bernard Parish, which was overwhelmingly white and Republican.)"  

      Tell me, was the Superdome full of white Republicans? No, it was not. Was New Orleans emptied of a huge proportion of its white Republican population, many of them never to find a way to return to their home city? No it was not. It was emptied of its black population. Were white Republicans shot on the bridge? No, they were not. Were the people who lived in the 9th Ward, which is partially in St. Bernard parish, white Republicans? No, they were not. Were most of the people who died White Republicans? No they were not, 51% of those who died in Katrina were people of color. White Republicans were not the people who suffered the most as a result of Katrina.

      Talk about rewriting history.

      http://new.dhh.louisiana.gov/...  

       

      "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

      by rubyr on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 06:30:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um, read your own link. And I was here. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wreck Smurfy, northsylvania, VClib

        First, your link says that the demographic that suffered most was the elderly, just as I said.  And it said that 50% of the people who died were African American.  In 2005, New Orleans was 60% African American.  So, if you look at numbers, African Americans did not die disproportionately with their population in the city.  

        As for the area that was hit the worst, that was St. Bernard parish.  No question.  See here and here.  And here's a report of the Canadian Mounties reaching St. Bernard before the feds did.  It was even reported on DKos.  or read this book.  St. Bernard was 90% white before Katrina, and about as conservative as you can get.

        This sentence tells me you have no idea what you are talking about:

        Were the people who lived in the 9th Ward, which is partially in St. Bernard parish, white Republicans?
        Um, do you know why the Ninth Ward is called the Ninth Ward?  Because it's the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, which is in Orleans Parish.  The dividing line is at Jackson Barracks.  

        The Superdome was on TV because it was downtown where the tv cameras were.  St. Bernard Parish was not.  Lakeview was not.  Gentilly was not.   I know people who died in all those areas.  My parents had a friend who died in Gentilly.  As I said elsewhere, my friend found her mother's body in the attic two weeks after the ACOE disaster.  And you might want to look up what Jimmy Pitre had to deal with in St. Bernard.

        People of all races died in the ACOE disaster. I certainly don't mean to suggest that African Americans did not suffer.  But it's just as wrong to suggest that the disaster was focused only on the African American Community, because that is just not true.  That ignores St. Bernard Parish, Lakeview, and Gentilly.

    •  For Hurricane Sandy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      old possum

      The flood zone maps, the planning years in advance, the orderly shut down of mass transit, the evacuations, storm shelters, and orderly shut down of NY harbor are sharp contrasts to New Orleans, and that was all NYC planning and execution.

      It meant that when hospitals lost their emergency generators they could be evacuated.

      There are many differences, I know. And I'm not implying the LA people are inferior in anyway. NYC's plans worked as well as they did in part because there was bipartisan preparation by pols who knew their diverse population pretty well.

      There were/are plenty of screw ups too, but not the severe loss of life.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 07:54:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  NYC is a very different place (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener

        They are not nearly as plantation minded. They actually work together to get things done, while in the South many of the whites don't want to work with the blacks to get things done.



        Women create the entire labor force.
        ---------------------------------------------
        Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

        by splashy on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 08:47:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Federal government should be, though (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrkvica

      Considering how badly many states and mayors do in these situations.



      Women create the entire labor force.
      ---------------------------------------------
      Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 08:41:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ah... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      old possum

      Our very own boarderline troll.  Defending Dubya.  They asked for federal help.  Of the governor the said, "She's a Dem, Fuck her."

      25 recs - well your trolling is getting better.

      “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck

      by RichM on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 08:47:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Uh, take a deep breath, my friend. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrkvica

      The diary did not specifically say that the failed evacuation was the federal government's fault.  It only refers to "the Bush administration's failure in responding to Hurricane Katrina" -- which we can all agree was a real and egregious failure.  As for precisely who is at fault for what aspect of that failure -- well, there is plenty of fault to go around!  The point of the diary is merely what it says: that India did a far better job protecting its people than the United States did.  I would LOVE to see you dispute that.

      So what makes you SO eager to defend the possibly-indirectly-impugned honor of the Bush administration?

  •  What a wonderful thing. Blessed be the (8+ / 0-)

    people of India as they work to put their lives back together.

    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 05:01:27 PM PDT

  •  The Cult of the Individual can't stand against (10+ / 0-)

    the power of Nature. Only people working together as Societies can save lives in times of crisis.

    The Cuban system has faults. (What system of government doesn't?) But despite being hit by hurricanes regularly, there are very few deaths because of mandatory evacuations to well-built shelters.

    In the face of the power of Nature, would you rather live in Cuba or in Haiti?

    The great news (all things considered) out of India this weekend has been absolutely inspiring.

    -8.38, -7.74 My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. - Jack Layton

    by Wreck Smurfy on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 05:08:20 PM PDT

  •  This kind of difference is worth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dianna, poco

    all the attention you shine onto it.

    All we have in the way of a justification for our relatively shoddy performance is this:

    "Ah, the storm just inconvenienced poor, brown people in Louisiana. What do they matter?"

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 05:15:53 PM PDT

    •  This is again misleading (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluemeanies, worldlotus, Hirodog, VClib
      "Ah, the storm just inconvenienced poor, brown people in Louisiana. What do they matter?"
      The demographic who disproportionately died in the Army Corps of Engineers disaster were the elderly.

      About half of those who died were African American.  But New Orleans itself was about 60% African American prior to Katrina.  And Katrina affected neighborhoods differently.  The area that was affected the worst -- even worse than the lower Ninth Ward -- was St. Bernard Parish, which was something like 90% white, and very blue-collar middle class, when the ACOE failure happened.  The other neighborhoods affected the worst were the Ninth Ward (primarily African American and lower income); Lakeview (overwhelmingly white and upper middle class with lots of young professionals); Gentilly (racially mixed, solidly middle class) and even sections of Old Metairie (overwhelmingly white and Republican, and probably the richest neighborhood in the Greater New Orleans area).  Bush's biggest, richest supporter in the greater New Orleans area lived on Northline in Old Metairie and his home flooded.  

      It really bugs me when people repeat the stereotypical falsehoods about Katrina.  It was a failure of the Army Corps of Engineers, primarily, and then a failure of government at all levels, as I said above -- but it was NOT a "poor brown people" disaster.   It was an "all people, all income levels" disaster.

      •  Well, you have one view of what (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus, myboo

        happened, being that you were right there, while I was thousands of miles away; point taken.

        I'll tell you what has helped to form my own views of Katrina. I live in a large metropolitan area, generally thought of as very "liberal." And I saw some of the most horrendously stomach-turning, racist commentary on the aftermath of Katrina in the local media. You could not believe it. I thought, "If it's that bad right here, what must it be in the rest of the country? Who's forming the narrative about Katrina in the public mind? In the minds of officials making the decisions in the wake of the disaster?"

        I remember this character David Duke, I think. Or was it Charles Murray? One of these racist bigots with a huge public following and a veneer of "legitimacy," pontificated for our enlightenment on how "lazy" the white clean-up volunteers found the black flood victims, who "slept half the day" while "others cleaned up for them." Stuff like this, again, represents only the tip of the ice berg in the public sensibility. People who say this out loud are only giving voice to what countless others think, and influencing public opinion, at the same time.

        No, no matter what your first-hand perceptions, I'm uncomfortable saying racism didn't play a large part in our abysmal response to the hurricane.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 06:09:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That only shows you how warped the coverage was (4+ / 0-)

          And we knew it at the time, frankly.  That was partly because the news cameras were all downtown, filming at the Convention Center, for example.  There was no attention paid to St. Bernard Parish, which is a suburb (Parishes are our counties).  In St. Bernard an area of about 60,000 -- virtually all white and blue collar -- only five structures survived the ACOE flood.  And the Parish officials were rescued five days later by the Canadian Mounties.  

          Lakeview was also hit every bit as hard as the Lower Ninth Ward -- it was the site of that big levee breach that you saw on the TV.  But there were no TV cameras catching those who remained there.  There were no TV cameras when my friend came back to her mother's house in Lakeview two weeks later when the water went down and found her mother's body in the attic.

          There were no TV cameras in Gentilly, where a racially mixed, middle class neighborhood was destroyed, and, again, many elderly died in their attics.  

          Saying that the information comes from OTHER uninformed people, and I'm just repeating what they said, just compounds the problem.  

          Certainly those in the Lower Ninth Ward suffered.  But to characterize it as a "brown people's" disaster, as the comment did, is offensive to the half of the people who died who WEREN'T "brown people."  It was an "all of us" disaster.  The federal government did not do any better for the people in St. Bernard Parish or Lakeview or Gentilly than they did for the people in the Lower Ninth Ward.  

      •  Two things (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlueMississippi, Dianna, mrkvica

        You have made the point that it was the failure of the Army Corps of Engineers in providing adequate protection and investment in the levees. However that in itself rather makes my point that it was preparedness for disasters that made the difference. In this case for proper levees read well designed storm shelters put in place.

        The thing about the elderly is that they, like the poor, depended on the organizing of transport to take them away from the danger areas. Again, that is the area in which the Indians excelled in this cyclone. They did not depend on hundreds of thousands of private cars to effect the evacuation (and cross their fingers that the car owners would not load up with their valuable but would offer lifts to neighbors without their own suitable transport).

        We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 06:21:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Again, so wrong. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          worldlotus, Hirodog, VClib
          You have made the point that it was the failure of the Army Corps of Engineers in providing adequate protection and investment in the levees.
          First, it was a failure of the ACOE in the design of the levees beginning in 1965, in becoming AWARE of the flaws in the levee, and in failing to tell us that the levees would not do what they had promised us, since 1965, that the levees would do.  If you want to talk about The ACOE disaster, I suggest you start by reading the facts (pdf here).
          In this case for proper levees read well designed storm shelters put in place.
          Seriously?  Where the hell do you think these "storm shelters: were supposed to be?  This is ridiculous.  When the 17th Street Canal levee broke in the East Side, and when the Industrial Canal levee broke, if there had been "storm shelters" in the city, people in them would have drowned.
          The thing about the elderly is that they, like the poor, depended on the organizing of transport to take them away from the danger areas

          Spoken like someone who didn't know any of these "elderly."  They didn't depend on the "organizing of transport."  Most of them (like my friend's mother) did not WANT to leave.  That is for two reasons:  (1) we had no idea that the levees were as faulty as they were, since the ACOE had been lying to us since 1965 (see pdf above); and (2) the evacuation for Hurricane Ivan in 2004 was so inept that it took some people between 12 and 20 hours to get to Baton Rouge (90 minutes away). That's partly because there are only like three ways out of the city.   Many people at the time of Katrina thought it was more "dangerous" for the elderly to be sitting in a car stuck on a highway for 20 hours than to stay put.  Remember, only certain areas of the city flooded in Betsy in 1965, and that's the Hurricane that prompted the ACOE to design and build the levee system.  

          Frankly, when Katrina got to the city, it was within the parameters that the levees system was (according to what we had been told) supposed to be able to handle.  The breaches in the levees were because the engineering of the I-Walls was faulty, among other things.  Read that PDF.  At worse, people expected a foot or two of water and being without power.  They did not expect water to the ceilings, forcing them to climb into attics and die there while the water took days or weeks to come down.  

          And, of course, Mayor Nagin famously had zillions of school buses available for evacuations and did not use them.  (There were pictures of them flooded in place.)

          And of course there was the nursing home in St. Bernard where many of the elderly died.  The owners chose not to evacuate because their patients were sick and bed-ridden, and they were concerned that the evacuation itself would kill them.  

          The reasons why the elderly did not evacuate in Katrina are varied and complicated.  

      •  Two things (0+ / 0-)

        You have made the point that it was the failure of the Army Corps of Engineers in providing adequate protection and investment in the levees. However that in itself rather makes my point that it was preparedness for disasters that made the difference. In this case for proper levees read well designed storm shelters put in place.

        The thing about the elderly is that they, like the poor, depended on the organizing of transport to take them away from the danger areas. Again, that is the area in which the Indians excelled in this cyclone. They did not depend on hundreds of thousands of private cars to effect the evacuation (and cross their fingers that the car owners would not load up with their valuable but would offer lifts to neighbors without their own suitable transport).

        We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 06:21:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  the bush people were 100X less capable then 3rd (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dianna, worldlotus, myboo

    worlders.

    Wow.

  •  As an Indian American... it shames me... (10+ / 0-)

    that we have this amazing comparison!
    Our daughter is now a medical student at Tulane in NOLA, so we have a personal connection to this beautiful city with such a rich history!

    I also come from the state of West Bengal, which is right next to Odisha, the state in eastern India that bore the brunt of this Typhoon. In 1999 a similar calamity claimed many lives.

    So India has come a long way from then to plan and evacuate people in the path.

    However, it is not clear if Bushies were in power (as some of the states still have similar minded governance), whether they would care enough to take care of all. The reluctance for some of these Congresscritters to help in the wake of Hurricane Sandy is a clear example of the their perniciousness still prevalent!

    What a shame! The bigger shame is so many people vote against their own self-interests. At lease in India, even the vastly illiterate populace know where their interests lie!

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. Voltaire

    by Suvro on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 05:49:32 PM PDT

  •  Benghazi 4 dead; 13 Benghazis Happened Under Bush (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hirodog, mrkvica
    Jan. 22, 2002: Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami Attacks Indian U.S. Consulate

    June 14, 2002: Suicide Car-Bomb Outside U.S. Consulate in Karachi

    Oct. 12, 2002: String Of Bali Bombings Included U.S. Consulate

    Feb. 28, 2003: Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, Attacked For the Second Time in One Year

    May 12, 2003: 36 People Including 9 Americans Die After Terrorists Storm U.S. Compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    July 30, 2004: Islamist Attacks U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

    Dec. 6, 2004: Five Staff and Four Security Guards Die in U.S. consulate attack in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

    March 2, 2006: Third Attack on Karachi U.S. Consulate Killed U.S. Diplomat

    Sept. 12, 2006: Four Gunmen Stormed the U.S. compound in Damascus, Syria

    Jan. 12, 2007: Greek Terrorists Fired a Rocket-Propelled Grenade at the U.S. Embassy

    March 18, 2008: A Mortar is Fired at the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen

    July 9, 2008: Three Turkish Policemen were Killed When Gunman Fired on the U.S. Consulate Istanbul, Turkey

    Sept. 17, 2008: 16 People Including 2 Americans Die in an Orchestrated Attack on the U.S. Embassy Sana’a, Yemen

    2,750 people died on 9/11.

    Bush ignored 6 warnings of an impending terrorist attack

    The New York Times reported the White House was given a series of briefings between May and August 2001 from the CIA about an Al Qaeda attack, but failed to take any significant action.

    The briefings included information from a number of sources about an attack with explosives and involving numerous casualties.

    The Daily Mail reported that by May 1, the CIA told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation, and on June 22, the daily brief reported that Al Qaeda strikes could be “imminent.”

    But Bush continually dismissed them, and questioned the reliability of the reports and the thoroughness of the briefings.

    The repeated warnings came before the famous top secret briefing, which has previously been made public, given to Bush on August 6, titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US."

    Casualties of the Iraq War

  •  The story is not Bush vs India... (0+ / 0-)

    Both countries suffered huge losses in the past and learned from their mistakes.

    Bush got the bad end of the stick on that one, Obama's gotten a few shit hands too...a lot of it comes with the gig.

    Tweetivism -- Tweet all members of the Senate on twitter at once, with one easy form. Push HCR, thats the current topic!

    by no puma on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 06:20:25 PM PDT

    •  I, many of us, think Bush and "Brownie" around (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hirodog, myboo, Dianna, mrkvica

      Katrina was more than "a bad end of the stick".
      The Feds did not get in there to help for many days.

      My cousin, appalled by the desperation on TV and more of a man of action than we knew, rented a long trailer filled it with water blankets flashlights fuel food and drove down the day the levies broke. He was just a business owner who had, with some friends, enough cash to do this.

      When he got there a few days later (coming from MA), there was no relief, no government presence that he could see. People--almost EVERYONE--were crying with gratitude when they got the things they were handing out. Sheer misery, sickness, and he saw some dead bodies. He saw someone die right in front of him (dehydration vs shock?).

      He was really upset he had not come down with more.

      Ironically and oddly, another cousin of mine (other side of family), as the head of the national guard for my state was the first guard unit into the city. He spoke of the same, he could not believe Americans were left in that state for many days.

      The Feds do have a responsibility when city and state governments fail to help their people. Bush did not speak of or go to Katrina for many days. He said "heck of a job" Brownie and he thought this incompetent figure head (political appointment of someone with NO background what so ever) had actually done something.

      No, Bush Administration's handling of Katrina was more than the bad end of the stick.

      1836 died. Americans don't remember this. They died because they were mostly poor and could not heed an evacuation order even if they'd wanted to. They had no cars.

  •  federalism played a huge role (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk

    Our disaster preparedness and response system was developed around the fundamental federalist principles on which the nation was founded.

    Evacuations are the responsibility of the local government, and the state government. I don't believe that the federal government could even issue an evacuation order with any force of law.

    I'm not familiar with the Indian system of governance, but if the national government was primarily responsible for the preparations, particularly evacuations, that to my mind is the principle cause for fewer deaths, not Bush's incompetence.

    The nightmare that transpired in the days and weeks after the storm (and continue to this day for so many Gulf Coasters) can be put on Bush, but it's misleading to make this direct comparison without considering the difference in systems of government and what that allowed the leaders to do.

    •  India is made up of many states.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrkvica

      The Indian polity responded.

      Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

      by Bollox Ref on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 06:51:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  federalism doesn't mean "has states" (0+ / 0-)

        it means that states have responsibility and control for things like this, and the federal government can't intervene without being asked. Certainly there are questions about who in LA asked for what in DC when, but regardless, as I said, federalism played a huge role.

    •  Fed can oversee, make sure inadequacies are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrkvica

      dealt with, lend their expertise before and after disaster hits, I am pretty sure.

      With Sandy, they did not know if the direct hit would be NYC or Boston, originally. I'm in MA on E coast and our (wonderful) Governor appeared from the MEMA bunker many times with state AND FEMA (federal) representatives to talk about what was being done to prepare.

      We are a small state with a competent governor. But I would hope that a well-run FEMA would show up on every Governor's doorstep to advise. I think they normally do. I am inclined to think they did not to this in NOLA before during after Katrina. The press coverage did not show FEMA being there until many days had passed. Seems like they just left them alone.

  •  23 dead now; 110 dead in central India stampede... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    schumann, Samer, mrkvica

    ...unrelated to the storm.

    The Navratra festivities ended in tragedy when 110 pilgrims including women and children were killed and more than 100 injured in a stampede on a bridge leading to the historic Ratangarh temple in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh on Sunday.
    This shows what an amazing achievement the Phailin response has been (plus, it hit the least-populated stretch of India's east coast).

    The problem with the Indian government is that when all the world's eyes are on it, it knows to deliver and care for its citizens - but on a day to day basis, neglect and even callousness towards the common citizen are the norm.

    Meanwhile, the problem with wingnut governance (such as practiced by the US GOP and the Israeli center-right) is that it is always neglectful, callous and corrupt in its attitude to the common citizen. It cares little whether anyone is looking or not - as long as it can spin its base come election time.

  •  And the unsinkable Titanic did not have (0+ / 0-)

    enough lifeboats for everyone on board. Too unsightly.
    Is it that the rich and the governing classes have NOT learned their lesson, or that they still just don't give a fuck about anyone but their privileged selves.

    GO INDIA!

    Now if India can put a stop to raping women in broad daylight on buses, I'll be really impressed. I mean, does anyone else see the disconnect here?

  •  Bravo for India! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dianna, mrkvica

    Simply put, they did a great job.

    So many Americans would stick their noses up at this notion, but clearly from comparison with the equally-dangerous storm Katrina, we have something to learn from India.

    THe housing stock in India particularly in rural places is much more...flimsy...than in the US. It is much easier flushed  away by water, or blown away by wind. Collapsed buildings on people must be a much bigger problem in all sorts of disasters.

    So though someone could argue that NELO had particular issue with the levies, probably there just weren't adequate levies in many places in India that were hit, and housing less apt to stand up to wind and water as well.

    So, in face of those circumstances, they wisely got their people out. And we did not.

    1836. I intend to remember that number. RIP

  •  What an absurd comparision (0+ / 0-)

    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

    by Pi Li on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 07:44:35 PM PDT

  •  re 18 causualties (0+ / 0-)

    A couple of points:
    - the Indian govt has had a reasonably good record in terms of
    utilizing resources to avoid mass casualties,
    - these resources typically tend to be the Indian Army who do an excellent job as they seem to be doing right now.

    (Not sure how to equate the Indian army with the US: its like the real US army, not the National Guard.)

    Except for the  deaths of 18 of our fellow human beings, so far it looks like the Indian govt has  done a reasonable job so far.

    Let stay tuned and see how things play out, but I am VERY thankful that the toll is as low ( the families of those 18 casualties notwithstanding)  as it is right now.

    Ripon

  •  10,000+ dead in the same region in 1999 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paxpdx, mrkvica

    From the BBC story...

    The cyclone wrecked many coastal homes, uprooted trees and blocked roads in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states.

    Eighteen people have been killed. All but one of the deaths were in Orissa, a senior state official told the BBC.

    "We have been able to [keep] the death toll to a bare minimum," Marri Shashidhar Reddy of the national disaster management authority told reporters in Delhi.

    In 1999 a cyclone killed more than 10,000 people in Orissa.

    But the authorities said they were better prepared this time.

    Obviously, that past experience woke them up.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by richardak on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 08:13:50 PM PDT

    •  Yes - thanks for mentioning this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      richardak

      I was just scrolling through comments to see if anyone had noted this very important detail. The Phailin to Katrina comparison doesn't quite hold water (no pun intended) because of the losses - and the lessons - of 1999.

      "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

      by paxpdx on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 09:42:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As an American raised during the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    myboo, mrkvica

    era of "We Can Do It" and "Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You" as a little kid, Katrina--even more than the war in Iraq--made clear to me that something in the US had shifted.

    Yeah, I saw the news of the fall of Saigon, the botched overseas interventions, but this...this on US soil. Incompetence. Indifference. Bungling beyond belief. Everything turned.

  •  Yes and today 89 ppl died in India (0+ / 0-)

    Because of a stampede at one of their temples.
    Hundreds were injured. Almost all of the dead were women and children. Their bodies were just left lying there for the families to come retrieve.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    NEW DELHI -- NEW DELHI (AP) — A stampede by masses of Hindu worshippers crossing a bridge to a temple in central India left at least 89 people dead Sunday, police said.
    The article continues to point out that some 500,000 people had gone to the temple.

    Tragedies happen. I'm not excusing Brownie and Bush. The evacuation, however, was not their responsibility and they did not have as much warning as India had. Also, it wasn't the hurricane itself that caused all the damage, it was that the levies busted. We can blame the Army Corp of Engineers for that. Realistically speaking though, you build a city at Sea Level and the only thing keeping it from flooding is a bunch of levies. It was just a matter of time.

  •  rove/cheney wanted it that way because they (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    myboo, mrkvica

    knew their RW radio advantage allowed them to sell it any way they wanted. once it happened they waited unsuccessfully for 5 days for black on white violence they could use in elections for years. the excuse for not sending helicopters with water and medical to the superdome was that (black) gangs were shooting at the helicopters.

    re transportation, limbaugh explained everyone had the opportunity to a good job and and SUV to evacuate in time.

    and payoff-  doin a heck of a good job brownie ended up with a talk show on one of the loudest radio stations in the country

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 10:12:52 PM PDT

  •  Mr. Go (0+ / 0-)

    MRGO - Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. This is a shipping channel that allows freighters to sail up the Miss. River all the way to New Orleans. What this channel did was allow the storm surge to work its way through the delta all the way to New Orleans. Remember, the levees didn't break until the storm had already passed. Without Mr Go, the river delta would have absorbed the storm surge.

    The Katrina deaths were mostly caused by flooding rather than exposure or flying debris.


    i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

    by bobinson on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 10:34:47 PM PDT

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