Sign in to follow this  
Tom Allensworth

How is it that we failed New Orleans?

Recommended Posts

That is a question that has been on my mind since Wednesday of last week. How is it that we failed New Orleans? We...the United States of America. And it was tonight, that I heard the most logical explanation, and it came from all people...from Donald Rumsfield.Mr. Rumsfield was being interviewed by a rather conservative columnist (who I watch...there. I'm conservative too!) This columnist, knowing the heat the Bush administration is taking, tried to get Mr. Rumsfield to agree that local government, first response, initial crisis management all belonged to the locals, not the feds. He asked these questions of Rummy, and paused expecting a "...darn right, no way is the federal government equipped to handle first response, yada yada yada..."What he got was this: "...well that would be the model. The current federal crisis response model accepts the fact that first response, coordination and control, law enforcement, etc would be local first, state second, and feds bringing up the rear. But the reality is, in a crisis this big, your first responders; your fireman, your police, your doctors, your public officials...all those who are the designated first responders ARE VICTIMS. They are completely knocked down, dazed, confuse, wiped out as the next guy."And this explanation made clear many things for me, and completely explained how so many people had their heads up their collective butts. Nobody really expected this. It

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

The state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans failed misserably.They had a disaster prevention and recovery plan which included scenarios of the kind they're facing now but those were not put into operation.They failed to force the evacuation of the city before things got out of hand, despite them having the means to do so available (dozens of city busses are parked within walking distance of the superdome for example, those busses have seating space for some 9000 people on each trip and could easily have made 2 trips before the roads became obstructed).They failed to make sure their emergency services had equipment and manpower out of harm's way to provide immediate relief as soon as possible afterwards.They failed to provide food and sanitation for the people they put up in the superdome, despite them knowing full well that they had to have at least a 72 hour supply for those people as that's the minimum time stated in all FEMA emergency response plans (which they were well aware of) as the minimum time needed to get federal forces on the ground (in fact the first federal forces arrived within 12 hours, before the locals had even started to do anything).In the US system the federal government cannot do anything large scale without requests and approval from the states involved, why then did it take days for Louisiana to request such aid?Ships and other military forces were waiting to move in but couldn't.No, this is no federal failure at all. It's a massive failure of the local emergency response system brought about by inept and corrupt local politicians who failed deliberately to put those plans into action because it might make them look bad if they were seen as overreacting.If you look at Mississipi, which was far harder hit than was Louisiana, there are hardly any problems there, certainly nothing on the scale of what's going on in New Orleans.But Mississipi DID evacuate orderly and timely, they DID send in the national guard and they DID stock up on emergency supplies.They're not sending their entire police force on a 2 week vacation to Las Vegas either in the midst of the worst emergency they ever had to deal with (which is precisely what the mayor of New Orleans is doing right now...).Mississipi saw worse destruction than did Lousiana, yet there there is no looting, there are no gangs of thugs shooting at rescue helicopters and army patrols, there are no thousands of bodies floating in the rivers.They were prepared and did what was needed, and now are working to assess the damage and start the cleanup instead of having to rely on massive federal and foreign aid to even get their own population fed and clothed.Also remember that after Frances hit, the federal government was attacked for responding too quickly, yet when they now respond even faster they're told they weren't fast enough...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeroen...I cannot disagree with a thing you wrote. I think your statements are 100% factual, and as time passes and investigations happen, will become part of the accepted evidence.The only purpose of my comment was to muse on how "we", as in the collective we, as in local/state/federal/media; in effect our entire nation watched a slowly unfolding train wreck happen before our very eyes and operated completely in "business as usual" mode.In my mind, in the after action analysis, that has to be part of the root cause too.Cheers,bt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,Go read the Research I did, and you will understand what went wrong and why.I wrote a highly detailed piece that was put out to many and is being used on radio, and multiple cable news shows. Dobbs, O'Reilly, Hume, Rush.I wrote it on Sunday, and was about the first to talk about it.Here it is:09/04/2005 3:48:32 PM PDT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that there were many reasons for the sorry response level initially. I think that we will find out that initially the local leaders did what they always do, look at the financial impact of activating everything prior to the hurricane and decided not to do it because historically things seem to not be as bad as some people predict. It costs a fortune to ready and deploy such a huge amount of assets and if they are wrong and don't need them they get bashed by the press and other politians over wasted money. The biggest reason I think that things broke down is the fact that in the morning after New Orleans still stood and was not flooded. Remember the press and everyone was gushing about how lucky we were, I'll bet that as soon as the press was going on about that the leaders were busy standing down some assets or sending them to areas that were hit harder. It wasn't until later that we found out that the levies broke and the city was going to flood, it was probably a worst case scenerio since I am sure that some people tried to go back to their homes and everyone thought that the city was going to be fine. I also think that the break down was on the local level, it really seems as if the local officials did not request the federal aid in a timely manner. There are documents that list all of the steos that should be taken in such events and it seems to me that they were not followed or they were followed much later than they should have been. On the up side,if there is one in all of this, I think that we will reevalute the procedures for things like this and hopefully improve them so as to avoid what happened here. There is one thing that really bothers me though, and that is when people make strong statements based in ignorance, I keep seeing people on TV complaining that they watched choppers fly over head but they would not stop and rescue them. Many of them then blame the President or claim it is some sort of racism as the reason that they were not picked up right away. In rescue operations, especially ones as large as this you have to give priority to those who are in the most danger first and then work back to those who are in safer areas. I understand that people may panic and they think that their situation is far worse than others but they have to realize that there are a finite amount of assets to rescue people, things have to be done in an orderly fashion. I was not there so I do not know for sure but I would certainly hope that the recuers followed the usual procedures. I just hate to see these fine people put down by people who have no idea what they are talking about, most of these rescuers take it personal and are devestated if they can not save every single person. Well that is my two cents,Philip Olsonhttp://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/supporter.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ALL levels of government failed. It's that simple. Pick it all apart, and it becomes most obvious. Don

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw somewhere that a NOAA reporting bouy some 240 miles south reported 68 foot waves before it was destroyed. I saw that New Orleans got federal aid to rebuild the levee but didn't use the money to rebuild the levee (which seems to be a common occurance in here in the US. Spokane took federal funds ment for home development for the poor and instead took it an loaned it to a wealthy family to build a parking garage which has created some disaster for the city's financial situation.)So I completely agree. The Federal Government and other states can not legally send troops without written permission to do so or it's considered an act of war. You have to realize the US is best viewed as 50 countries united under one flag, kind of like what the EU is becoming.----------------------------------------------------------------John MorganReal World: KGEG, UND Aerospace Spokane Satillite, Private ASEL 141.2 hrs, 314 landings, 46 inst. apprs.Virtual: MSFS 2004"There is a feeling about an airport that no other piece of ground can have. No matter what the name of the country on whose land it lies, an airport is a place you can see and touch that leads to a reality that can only be thought and felt." - The Bridge Across Forever: A Love Story by Richard Bach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>ALL levels of government failed. It's that simple. Pick it>all apart, and it becomes most obvious. >>DonI have to disagree here Don.Not all failed as you state.The National Hurricane Center did an Outstanding job of forecasting this storm once it entered the Gulf. It gave appropriate warnings well ahead of when the storm hit, and I believe you have to look at what the Catalysts were for what went wrong when.Once the NHC warned the Local & State officials, it is up to those same Officials to implement whatever plan they have in place.In order for a State of Emergency or Major Disaster to be declared by the Federal Government or President, a Pre-Requisite is that the States Emergency Plan is Implemented. That was not done according to my research.The Failure, if any, of the Federal Government is prefaced by the fact that it was told the States Emergency Plan was implemented by the State, when in fact the State Lied to the Federal Government.You have to have a basic Understanding of the Stafford Laws and the Louisiana Emergency Plan, as well as its supplements to comprehend what I am saying. I suggest you follow my link and read what I have written.If the plan was followed, many lives would not have been lost, IMHO.Regards,Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pres. Bush offered Gov. Blanco advanced federal aid in the form of C-5's with tons of supplies, reserve troops to prevent lawlessnes, etc. three days before the storm hit and Gov. Blanco rejected the help saying she had all the resources necessary to cope.New Orleans' demographics show that it is essentially a welfare society. 50% + of the citizens of New Orleans are on gov't support such as welfare, disability, ADF,etc. How does a person who owns no property and does not earn their own living rely on self preservation when a disaster occurs? They don't. They don't know how. When the storm hit the state released all state and local jail inmates to the streets. Together they and the state dependants angry that they were not being taken care of resorted to violence and looting in an effort to draw attention to themselves and get the needed support.The governor did not activate state resources such as the Natl Guard until 96 hours after the storm had passed.FEMA begged the governor and the mayor of New Orleans to allow them to start distribution of aid but were, and still are being told that they are not needed.The Louisiana Dept Wildlife had 200 game rangers with boats and survival supplies at their hdqrtrs for 48 hours before they were told there was nothing for them to do and told to go home or get out of the city.The fiasco in New Orleans is directly the result of incompetent, inexperienced local and state officials flailing and failing in their duty as elected.The Feds tried, are still trying, and will eventually be held responsible for the whole mess. It is, after all, a Democratically controlled state and has been for over 60 years. You'd think in that long a time, with their claims of superior methods, Louisiana would be a utopia. Ehhhhhh! Wrong answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too funny....Type in Google or Yahoo:"Louisiana Emergency Plan" in quotes, and my Article comes up Number One in both.....What a Hoot.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good part of that reason is because you have an idiot for president too focused on his self image,war on terror and a complete and utter failing in Iraq.And you'll never know how New Orleans was failed because he's decided (once he's finished his and his admins photo opportunites) to head the investigation into the very topic of this thread himself. Now that's the kind of reaction one would expect from the Mugabe's in this world not the actions of a US President.And can anyone please tell me why during a time of Natural Disaster Bush can't take open questions from the Press. Other then when Bush can reply with well rehearsed answers. I'm sure even the most loyal Republicans are getting tired of his "I understand,how hard it is"The guy continues to make himself and the US the worlds international best selling joke. And after New Orleans he's even helped to make the US look like a third world country.Troop

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this