Posted by Former New Orleans resident,
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2007 at 8:17 am
Here we go with Katrina again.
1900-Galveston-8,000 died from a hurricane. Don't know population then, but even now it is only about 50,000.
Now- New Orleans, a city of 1.5 million...1.2 million evacuated as told to do. 300,000 did not. Mayor did not allow empty buses to go into town and pick up people who had chosen to stay. Governor did not allow prep of dome to bring people to before the storm. State refusal of offered fed aid prior to storm.
Within 2 hours of landfall, helicopter relief was in the air. Within 3 days, ( 2 days of levee break) 100,000 rescue workers were working to save the ones who did not evacuate as told to do.
Total death count- 1,800...tragic and horribly sad, but a death rate of .006% of those who remained after being told to leave, or .0012% of total population. Compared to all prior death rates..astonishing.
What is even more astonishing is most of the deaths resulted from the breaking of the levy, which was well known to need repair, and well known to have had funds "melt away" that had been given by the feds for its repair,..and the people of New Orleans were ignoring these warnings by people running for govt even 30 years ago when I lived there, preferring to vote in govt officials who promised give-aways instead of repair.
I continue to fail to understand the criticism. I am, instead, completely amazed that in spite of so many who failed to leave, and in spite of a massive failure of city and state govt to either force evacuations or prepare for disaster, so many of us responded to help at the Fed and private level. I see our response as a testament to the greatness of our kind spirit. Did you notice how much help we got from around the world?
We, as Americans, have always been prepared to care for ourselves in disasters, not expecting "Mom and Dad" in the form of government to rescue us right away, understanding that, in the end, we are responsible for ourselves first and foremost, and for our neighbors as we are able. We have always known to flee in the event of an oncoming catastrophe, and then return and re-build, if we decide it was a fluke of nature. We, until this century, have NOT re-built along flood areas!
We now have 160,000,000 people living on the coasts in USA..only 20 years ago it was 120,000,000. When is this silliness going to stop? Every flood will bring more and more deaths. Whose job is it to prevent stupidity? The FEDS??? I don't think so.
Even when I moved here 30 years ago, I read that I shouldn't expect help after an earthquake from just our STATE for 3 days, let alone the Feds. I am white..I didn't see this as racism, just reality. I have a week's worth of food, water, medecines, clothes and shelter in storage for an emergency.
110 billion in fed aid ( our taxes) so far to Mississippi and Louisiana- Miss is re-built, New Orleans is still complaining that it can't finish, and playing "race". McDonalds is offering over $10/hour around New Orleans, in an area where this is a decent wage for unskilled labor, more than welfare, and still can't find workers, so imagine the rest of the area trying to get employees for construction and for re-building businesses. What is wrong with the area that people won't work?
Yet Mississippi is done. All the schools, towns and houses are re-built.
At some point we have to recognize that there is a level of self-responsiblity that is necessary for survival and recovery. No amount of fed money and help can change that.