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Is the Relief Effort Failing?

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posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 08:33 AM
I find this editorial disturbing…. I could possibly understand why there has not been a mass mobilization in NO. But how do you explain Biloxi?


Biloxi Newspaper Rips Relief Effort, Begs for Help

By Greg Mitchell

Published: August 31, 2005 10:15 PM ET
NEW YORK The Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., in an editorial today, criticized the relief effort in its ravaged area so far, and told officials and the nation-at-large: "South Mississippi needs your help."

It angrily revealed: "While the flow of information is frustratingly difficult, our reporters have yet to find evidence of a coordinated approach to relieve pain and hunger or to secure property and maintain order. People are hurting and people are being vandalized.

"Yet where is the National Guard, why hasn't every able-bodied member of the armed forces in South Mississippi been pressed into service?"

Pointedly, it declared that earlier today, "reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics."

It added: "We need the president to back up his declaration of a disaster with a declaration of every man and woman under his command will do whatever is necessary to deal with that disaster."

The newspaper has managed to publish two print editions this week as well as keep its Web site updated.

Here is the text of the editorial.


The coastal communities of South Mississippi are desperately in need of an unprecedented relief effort.
We understand that New Orleans also was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but surely this nation has the resources to rescue both that metropolitan and ours.

Whatever plans that were in place to deal with such a natural disaster have proven inadequate. Perhaps destruction on this scale could not have been adequately prepared for.

But now that it has taken place, no effort should be spared to mitigate the hurricane's impact.

The essentials -- ice, gasoline, medicine -- simply are not getting here fast enough.

We are not calling on the nation and the state to make life more comfortable in South Mississippi, we are calling on the nation and the state to make life here possible.

We would bolster our argument with the number of Katrina casualties confirmed thus far, but if there is such a confirmed number, no one is releasing it to the public. This lack of faith in the publics' ability to handle the truth is not sparing anyone's feelings, it is instead fueling terrifying rumors.

While the flow of information is frustratingly difficult, our reporters have yet to find evidence of a coordinated approach to relieve pain and hunger or to secure property and maintain order.

People are hurting and people are being vandalized.

Yet where is the National Guard, why hasn't every able-bodied member of the armed forces in South Mississippi been pressed into service?

On Wednesday reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics.

Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!

When asked why these young men were not being used to help in the recovery effort, our reporters were told that it would be pointless to send military personnel down to the beach to pick up debris.

Litter is the least of our problems. We need the president to back up his declaration of a disaster with a declaration of every man and woman under his command will do whatever is necessary to deal with that disaster.

We need the governor to provide whatever assistance is at his command.

We certainly need our own county and city officials to come together and identify the most pressing needs of their constituents and then allocate resources to meet those needs. We appreciate the stress that theses elected and appointed officials have been under since the weekend but they must do a better job restoring public confidence in their ability to meet this challenge.

I also saw this article earlier….


Superdome Evacuation Halted Amid Gunfire

NEW ORLEANS - The evacuation of the Superdome was suspended Thursday after shots were fired at a military helicopter, an ambulance official overseeing the operation said. No immediate injuries were reported.

"We have suspended operations until they gain control of the Superdome," said Richard Zeuschlag, head of Acadian Ambulance, which was handling the evacuation of sick and injured people from the Superdome.

He said that military would not fly out of the Superdome either because of the gunfire and that the National Guard told him that it was sending 100 military police officers to gain control.

"That's not enough," Zeuschlag. "We need a thousand."

He said that shots were fired at a military helicopter over the Superdome before daybreak.

He also said that during the night, when a medical evacuation helicopter tried to land at a hospital in the outlying town of Kenner, the pilot reported that 100 people were on the landing pad, and some of them had guns.

"He was frightened and would not land," Zeuschlag.

He said medics were calling him and crying for help because they were so scared of people with guns at the Superdome.

If the Dome houses more than thirty thousand people, why would anyone assume 100 military officers would be enough?

I also keep hearing from various reporters on CNN, FOX and MSNBC that while they have heard of large scale national guard placements, they have yet to see or determine where these are being placed.

Is it possible that we are being “told” of such deployments, but in fact (for whatever reason) no such placements are occurring at the scale implied by the government?

I find it impossible to believe that we could not within 36 hrs deploy thousands of military/guard personnel.

Food for thought….

[edit on 1-9-2005 by loam]

[edit on 1-9-2005 by ZeddicusZulZorander]

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 08:43 AM
I also just read this....

Troops, Police Deployed to Stop Looting

NEW ORLEANS - National Guard troops in armored vehicles poured into New Orleans Thursday to curb the growing lawlessness as Mississippi's governor vowed to deal with looters in the neighboring state as "ruthlessly as we can get our hands on them."

About 10,000 National Guard troops from around the country were ordered to shore up security, rescue and relief operations along the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast.

"The truth is, a terrible tragedy like this brings out the best in most people, brings out the worst in some people," said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on NBC's "Today" show. "We're trying to deal with looters as ruthlessly as we can get our hands on them."

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin also ordered virtually the entire police force to abandon search-and-rescue efforts and stop thieves who were becoming increasingly hostile...

Tr oops, Police Deployed to Stop Looting

My question is how could the scale of these deployments be confirmed?

Moreover, NO's Mayor has directed ALL personnel to focus on looters rather than rescue efforts? This is the most sickening political decision yet during this disaster....Property is now the focus over lives.....

[edit on 1-9-2005 by loam]

[edit on 9-1-2005 by worldwatcher]

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 01:53 PM

Originally posted by loam
Property is now the focus over lives.....

I agree entirely with the mayors decision here. Looting doesn't happen in a vacuum, looting will lead to rioting, and rioting will lead to more deaths than suspending rescue operations. People are shooting at rescue helicopters. Civilians cannot conduct rescue operations when this is going on, you have to have order in the city, without that, there can't be anything else.

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 02:11 PM
A few points:

1) Have these shootings really been independently confirmed?

2) While I have no doubt there is looting, these are folks without food, water, shelter or clothing for more than three days. Is this really looting in the traditional sense or mere survival?

3) In terms of any crimes perpetrated against individuals as opposed to business, is the rate any different than the amount of crime that existed prior to the storm. Do these incidents justify the decision to call off search and rescue for the entire city? Why are supplies not being dropped at the dome?

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 02:22 PM
The Mayor had no choice but to switch law enforcement toward looting. The looters were closing in on Hospitals and Hotels were survivors are still holding out. A report was just released of a sniper shooting at people inside a hospital. Rescue workers were seeing people carrying guns and weapons and were afraid for their lives. There are reports of gunfire, arson, fights, car jacking, mugging and gangs. Order has to be established so the rescuers can do their jobs. I am afraid we are seeing the depths of human nature. There is a complete break down of society and law. Most of the people are only trying to survive, while a growning number are taking advantage of the situation with criminal and unexcusable behavior.

[edit on 1-9-2005 by Yorga]

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 02:39 PM
I just saw a report on Fox news and Shep was talking about how many people are on the Beltway. He said that they have been there for three days without food or water and no one is coming to their aid. He mentions they are reachable but know one is coming to help. He aslo mentions that he and his camera crew had to withdraw to a safer position because of the total breakdown of lawlessness. Bodies are everywhere from people dying.
This is absolutely terrible.

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 02:43 PM

Originally posted by Yorga
There is a complete break down of society and law. Most of the people are only trying to survive, while a growning number are taking advantage of the situation with criminal and unexcusable behavior.

[edit on 1-9-2005 by Yorga]

Ok, but halting all rescue activities does not make sense. If there is shooting in a neighborhood, move on to the next location. There have been NO independently confirmed reports of wide scale disorder. In fact, all of the interviews I am seeing from rescuers say just the opposite. People are either in shock, and therefore rather calm, or genuinely grateful for the help. The point I am making is that I am very suspicious that the real problem here is that these claims serve as a convenient excuse to cloud perhaps a different issue altogether...namely, a lack of national guard and military resources.....Don't you find it odd that reporters have yet to see evidence of these deployed resources- except for the most obvious places, like the Dome? Even the Convention Center, which one might assume would be an obvious place, has no law enforcement, no national guard, and no military troops....If only 100 national guard have been deployed to the Dome....Where are the rest of them?????????

Mark my words, this will be asserted soon enough in the mainstream media.....

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 02:54 PM
All the networks are reporting that shots are being fired. All the networks are reporting that lawlessness is rampant in the streets. The EMS crews cannot be sent into an unstable situation. Without proper secruity and control they have to stand down. The rescue workers want to go in and I know that they are comping at the bit, but their safety has to be considered. With out knowing where the shooters are and where the problem areas are then you have no choice but err on the side of safety. It is a terrible situation and it is getting worse by the minute. Now you see first hand what it is like to be in a war zone.

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 02:54 PM
Lets hope that the mainstream media do something with it! The US is the most powerful nation on earth and from what we see in Europe on CNN, Sky, BBC et al is very little in the way of pictures and info on actual help! Lots of stuff on locals with boats helping out etc. but almost nothing re FEMA, National Guard, Army etc. Lots of talk about "co-ordination" and Bush "co-ordinating" but nothing concrete! ( Lots of National Guard in Iraq though aren't there?) No wonder there is looting! these people need food, shelter and water! Get it to them! This is a disaster - treat it as such! Lots of the people affected were too poor or had nowhere to go so had to stay and ride out Katrina - for Gods' sake DO SOMETHING!

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 03:06 PM
This is rubbish and I continue to smell a rat!!!

(i'll reprint the whole article here as these are starting to be not found with the volume...)

Unrest Intensifies at Superdome Shelter

Associated Press Writer


Fights and fires broke out, rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at and anger mounted across New Orleans on Thursday, as National Guardsmen poured in to help restore order across this increasingly desperate and lawless city.

"We are out here like pure animals. We don't have help," the Rev. Issac Clark, 68, said outside the New Orleans Convention Center, where corpses lay in the open and he and other evacuees complained that they were dropped off and given nothing _ no food, no water, no medicine.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the government is sending in 1,400 National Guardsmen a day to help stop looting and other lawlessness in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Already, 2,800 National Guardsmen are in the city, he said.

But across the flooded-out city, the rescuers themselves came under attack from storm victims hungry, desperate and tired of waiting.

"Hospitals are trying to evacuate," said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesan, spokesman at the city emergency operations center. "At every one of them, there are reports that as the helicopters come in people are shooting at them. There are people just taking potshots at police and at helicopters, telling them, `You better come get my family.'"

Some Federal Emergency Management rescue operations were suspended in areas where gunfire has broken out, Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said in Washington. "In areas where our employees have been determined to potentially be in danger, we have pulled back," he said.

A National Guard military policeman was shot in the leg as the two scuffled for the MP's rifle, police Capt. Ernie Demmo said. The man was arrested.

"These are good people. These are just scared people," Demmo said.

Outside the Convention Center, the sidewalks were packed with people without food, water or medical care, and with no sign of law enforcement. Thousands of storm refugees had been assembling outside for days, waiting for buses that did not come.

At least seven bodies were scattered outside, and hungry people broke through the steel doors to a food service entrance and began pushing out pallets of water and juice and whatever else they could find.

An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered with a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.

"I don't treat my dog like that," 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair. "I buried my dog." He added: "You can do everything for other countries but you can't do nothing for your own people. You can go overseas with the military but you can't get them down here."

The street outside the center, above the floodwaters, smelled of urine and feces, and was choked with dirty diapers, old bottles and garbage.

"They've been teasing us with buses for four days," Edwards said.

People chanted, "Help, help!" as reporters and photographers walked through. The crowd got angry when journalists tried to photograph one of the bodies, and covered it over with a blanket. A woman, screaming, went on the front steps of the convention center and led the crowd in reciting the 23rd Psalm.

John Murray, 52, said: "It's like they're punishing us."

The Superdome, where some 25,000 people were being evacuated by bus to the Houston Astrodome, descended into chaos as well.

Huge crowds, hoping to finally escape the stifling confines of the stadium, jammed the main concourse outside the dome, spilling out over the ramp to the Hyatt hotel next door _ a seething sea of tense, unhappy, people packed shoulder-to-shoulder up to the barricades where heavily armed National Guardsmen stood.

Fights broke out. A fire erupted in a trash chute inside the dome, but a National Guard commander said it did not affect the evacuation. After a traffic jam kept buses from arriving at the Superdome for nearly four hours, a near-riot broke out in the scramble to get on the buses that finally did show up.

The first of hundreds of busloads of people evacuated from the Superdome arrived early Thursday at their new temporary home _ another sports arena, the Houston Astrodome, 350 miles away.

But the ambulance service in charge of taking the sick and injured from the Superdome suspended flights after a shot was reported fired at a military helicopter. Richard Zuschlag, chief of Acadian Ambulance, said it was too dangerous for his pilots.

The military, which was overseeing the removal of the able-bodied by buses, continued the ground evacuation without interruption, said National Guard Lt. Col. Pete Schneider. The government had no immediate confirmation of whether a military helicopter was fired on.

Terry Ebbert, head of the city's emergency operations, warned that the slow evacuation at the Superdome had become an "incredibly explosive situation," and he bitterly complained that FEMA was not offering enough help.

"This is a national emergency. This is a national disgrace," he said. "FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans."

In Texas, the governor's office said Texas has agreed to take in an additional 25,000 refugees from Katrina and plans to house them in San Antonio, though exactly where has not been determined.

In Washington, the White House said President Bush will tour the devastated Gulf Coast region on Friday and has asked his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and former President Clinton to lead a private fund-raising campaign for victims.

The president urged a crackdown on the lawlessness.

"I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this _ whether it be looting, or price gouging at the gasoline pump, or taking advantage of charitable giving or insurance fraud," Bush said. "And I've made that clear to our attorney general. The citizens ought to be working together."

On Wednesday, Mayor Ray Nagin offered the most startling estimate yet of the magnitude of the disaster: Asked how many people died in New Orleans, he said: "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands." The death toll has already reached at least 126 in Mississippi.

If the estimate proves correct, it would make Katrina the worst natural disaster in the United States since at least the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, which was blamed for anywhere from about 500 to 6,000 deaths. Katrina would also be the nation's deadliest hurricane since 1900, when a storm in Galveston, Texas, killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people.

Nagin called for a total evacuation of New Orleans, saying the city had become uninhabitable for the 50,000 to 100,000 who remained behind after the city of nearly a half-million people was ordered cleared out over the weekend, before Katrina blasted the Gulf Coast with 145-mph winds.

The mayor said that it will be two or three months before the city is functioning again and that people would not be allowed back into their homes for at least a month or two.

"We need an effort of 9-11 proportions," former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, now president of the Urban League, said on NBC's "Today" show. "So many of the people who did not evacuate, could not evacuate for whatever reason. They are people who are African-American mostly but not completely, and people who were of little or limited economic means. They are the folks, we've got to get them out of there."

"A great American city is fighting for its life," he added. "We must rebuild New Orleans, the city that gave us jazz, and music, and multiculturalism."

Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu toured the stricken areas said said rescued people begged him to pass information to their families. His pocket was full of scraps of paper on which he had scribbled down their phone numbers.

When he got a working phone in the early morning hours Thursday, he contacted a woman whose father had been rescued and told her: "Your daddy's alive, and he said to tell you he loves you."

"She just started crying. She said, `I thought he was dead,'" he said.

It has been nearly four days!!! This was ALL foreseable. I had been mentioning these concerns as early as Monday night.

WHY at a minimum have supplies not been drop-shipped into the area and vicinity near the Dome?? We do this in war all the time, but a few gunshots in this instance are enough to scare away our national guard and military resources??? This makes NO SENSE. Something is up, and it's not the expected and understandable disorder that is occurring and will only logically get worse...

This situation at best identifies our incompetence, or at worst, exposes the lie of our entire "Homeland Security" strategy. Replace Katrina with the potential terrororist scenarios our government has been expertly touting, and ask yourself if you feel any safer with the billions spent on the war on terrorism and with most of our military resources deployed overseas???

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 03:07 PM
CNN is right now giving the government heck over the response to this disaster!

Congress could 'call an emergency session' over the Teri
Schiavo question.....but they are in NO hurry to get back to work and
do anything about this.....a real disaster.

I too wondered about the troop deployments....hearing about thousands, but seeing only a handfull of soldiers in the shots from news networks!

My question is Why was FEMA no better prepared?? They knew this was
coming! Why didn't they have military style hospitals on standby? Why
didn't they have trucks and tankers full of water and emergency food supplies? Isn't this their job? Don't they spend all that time between
disasters, preparing for the next one??!!!

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 03:16 PM
Hi Loam

Fishy? Exactly! Could it be because all of the resources are elsewhere? Just a thought. As pointed out, a few yahoos with guns fire a couple of potshots, the most powerful military in the world clear off, fearful for their own safety? What about the non-looters who are in desperate need? Air drops, amphibious assault vehicles loaded up with water, medical supplies and food, heavy lift choppers - where are they? Where is the nearest carrier group? What the hell is the Chief "co-ordinator" doing? Where is Homeland security? I have to say that "inept" doesn't begin to describe the actions of the various agencies and military does it?

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 03:17 PM
One official told us, "You can't rescue people when you're being shot at."

Above taken from CNN. It is a war zone there. It is kaotic and no one seems to be in charge. Guardsmen are preparing to go in. 3000 soldiers
from Ft. Braggs 82nd Airborne have been put on standby. Their mission is to secure and hold the Dome and the Convention center so rescue operations can continue. # is getting ready to hit the fan.

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 03:20 PM
As if we needed any further indication that the current implementors of the Federal Gov't in this country does not give a darn about their bosses (that would be us), it is being shoved down our throats right now.

Since the majority of the people affected by this disaster are not wealthy, the current government does not appear to be all that concerned, whatever spew Bush (or his handlers) comes out with.

It's been what, three days now? And thousands are still sitting on the freeway? Not acceptable.

Imagine the response if a disaster of this magnitude were to hit the Washington DC area.

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 03:21 PM
I dont know whats going on, but i would think that food (war style) could be dropped at the very least, you know, like they did in Iraq so folks dont go hungry? This is very irresponsible. If i was there starving, thirsty and going to the bathroom in my pants, i would probably go insane.

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 03:27 PM
Don't know if anyone else remembers the mayor of NO's news conference where just as he stated something along the lines of " looters will be treated harshly" or something similar, the guy to the right of him gave such a sadistic smirk and then quickly tried to pretend that he didnt - I found that very disturbing. Anyone else see that? Sorry to be so non-specific, but being from England he was not familiar to me - maybe someone has video? Then nothing is done, or appears not to be - were they waiting for martial law to be declared or hoping? And if so, just where are the soldiers? 3000 on standby at Fort Benning was it? doesn't seem a lot for such a large area. Isn't Biloxi a military base of some sort? If so, where are the military from there?

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 03:28 PM
Excellent post Loam !!
Caught with their pants down is an expression that springs to mind !!
Watched the mainstream news here earlier today, seems that the tide is turning, the media want answers, I do too and I think everyone else does!! Not just with this situation, but the economy, gas prices, the war. I can see something horrific happening at the dome or on the streets... I hope that I am wrong as tension will spill God knows where.
Seems to be an atmosphere here in the US, feels like you could cut it with a knife. Lets hope we dont go the wrong way on the knife edge.
Prayers with everyone down South !!

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 03:30 PM
Sorry, just read the post from Yorga - I should have written Ft. Bragg, not Benning! Apologies for the confusion.

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 03:32 PM
Yes this is a miserable failure of government to react to a major disaster that everyone knew was coming. But don't just blame Bush. I knew sooner or later that the Bush bashers would find a way to nail him with this one also. This is a major Fubar starting with the Mayor of NO. Come on now less be fair and put blame on all that are responsible. What about the local authorities, the Govenor. Why weren't the LA and MISS Guard already on standby and ready to react? Bush cannot just throw in troops. Afterall this isn't the first freaking hurricane to hit the U.S. NO was a disaster waiting to happen and no one did anything to help prevent it. Now it has happened. Now we have to deal with it. It is a sad epitaph for those that have died but it shows that America is not ready to handle such widespread destruction. God help us if the unthinkable every happens!

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 03:52 PM
Couple of things -

Just watched the FEMA briefing - apparently A shot was fired ( singular! ) at a medical helicopter - hardly a pitched gun battle!

Carrier - think it was the Harry S Truman leaving Norfolk Va - six day trip to NO apparently.

Also, is this thread being monitored? Screen from CNN had shots of the military, the first I've seen - helicopter, truck with 6? soldiers on the back etc. and the ticker at the bottom stated that National Guard was taking over security in Biloxi. Strange thats the first ones I've seen just after this discussion got going isn't it?

The truck motoring along the freeway had open sides and a few soldiers on it and nothing else. Would it not have been possible for the truck to have been loaded with jerrycans of water and some food which although just a drop in ocean, coulod have been given to the first needy souls that they came across? Just logic if you ask me! The soldiers were going somewhere in a hurry and presumably would have left a well-stocked and well equipped army base with runni9ng water fit for drinking.

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