Sep 08 2005
Ed Morrissey has more on this topic here, where it is clear the Red Cross and the Salvation Army had the ability to avoid death at the Superdome and the Governor of Louisiana balked – for ridiculous reasons. As we said before, it is not the plan was for a passing hurricane, it is because the plans were not adapted to the news the levees had breeched that codemns the responses of state and local officials. In this case Governor Blanco’s inability to adjust to the changing situation killed people.
For an excellent review of what went wrong and where you must check out this post by Hog On Ice.
I posted yesterday on the near criminality of actions, or lack of actions, by Nagin and Blanco to mobilize the city buses to evacuate the Superdome and Convention Center immediately after it was learned a levee had broken. While mobilizing the buses could have been difficult – since there were no actions taken to get drivers to the buses, etc – it would have alleviated the problem immensely if the 50,000 or so people were moved out of the flooded areas. Even a partial reduction of the people stranded, getting the elderly and infirm out first, would have meant a huge difference.
But today we find this was only one criminal blunder by Blanco and Nagin that lead to these deaths [warning: graphic image], and many others.
Major Garrett of FoxNews reported that Governor Blanco withheld food and water deliveries by the Red Cross to the Superdome prior to the storm. And it his hard to believe some medical provision could not be delivered in tandem with all these critical supplies. Powerline has a good round up of links to video and transcripts here. Some excerpts of note:
MG: Well, the Red Cross, Hugh, had pre-positioned a literal vanguard of trucks with water, food, blankets and hygiene items. They’re not really big into medical response items, but those are the three biggies that we saw people at the New Orleans Superdome, and the convention center, needing most accutely. And all of us in America, I think, reasonably asked ourselves, geez. You know, I watch hurricanes all the time. And I see correspondents standing among rubble and refugees and evacuaees. But I always either see that Red Cross or Salvation Army truck nearby. Why don’t I see that?
HH: And the answer is?
MG: The answer is the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security, that is the state agency responsible for that state’s homeland security, told the Red Cross explicitly, you cannot come.
HH: Now Major Garrett, on what day did they block the delivery? Do you know specifically?
MG: I am told by the Red Cross, immediately after the storm passed.
HH: Okay, so that would be on Monday afternoon.
The rumor is that Blanco’s rationale for holding back life critical supplies was she did not want to attract people to these locations and have trouble getting them to return home if Katrina passed by without much damage. As lame, short sighted and cold hearted as that logic may be, the real crime – as with Nagin’s fleet of buses – was her decision not to change direction after it was learned the levee broke. At that point in time, the red cross trucks should have been sent in immediately. Possibly returning with people filling up the spaces where the supplies had been.
It was a death sentence for those two poor souls in the picture linked above that these supplies did not move out. It took 24-36 hours for the flood waters to crest. There was plenty of time for supplies staged and loaded to get there and pull out those people who could not survive prolonged exposure to the elements.
This explains the shrill and over the top comments by Pelosi and Dean: they need to divert attention from the democrat leadership of New Orleans and Louisiana and how they failed the people left to take on Katrina as she made landfall, and had to live through her wake of destruction.
Unfortunately, these two ‘leaders’ made terrible, short sighted decisions that cost a lot of people their lives.
Here is Ed Morrissey’s comments on the same story.
Full transcript of Garrett and Hewitt discussion here at Flopping Aces
Why did the local officials become robber barons shunning evacuees? If true, Michelle Malkin has a link to a terrible story of bare survival here. And if true, why didn’t Mayor Nagin start moving those buses out, and Governor Blanco allow Red Cross supplies in, within hours of the first levee breach???
Now, I find this story inconsistent in many areas, and unbelievable in others. So forgive me if I see an urban legend in the making. But the point of the story is valid. If Blanco had allowed supplies in the desire to help each other verses hoard would have been what we saw on the news every day.
More here at Redstate.