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31 August, 2005
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Bush Fails to Take Effective Action on 8/29

Save New Orleans and the Gulf Coast

MozillaQuest Magazine OpEd

31 August 2005 (C)

like Nero fiddling while Rome burned, Bush was fiddling around on his Texas ranch and giving political speeches -- while New Orleans and the Gulf coast was and is being destroyed and suffering from the aftermath of Katrina

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New Orleans Flooding Note:

The New Orleans levees and floodwalls help to keep waters from flooding New Orleans, a city that is some 80% below sea level and Lake Pontchartrain. Thus there is no natural drainage from most of New Orleans into Lake Pontchartrain or into the ocean. Unlike most, above sea level, places hit by hurricane flooding where the floodwaters quickly recede and drain off into rivers and eventually into the ocean, the New Orleans floodwaters must be pumped out. The catastrophic implications of this in conjunction with a category 4 or category 5 hurricane such as Katrina have been well documented. Thus what is happening in New Orleans should not come as any surprise to George Bush and his Department of Homeland Security. They either knew and did not timely take appropriate measures -- or they did not do their homework -- either circumstance is unforgivable. For more about the prior documentation of the category 4 or category 5 hurricane scenario for New Orleans, please see What if Hurricane Ivan Had Not Missed New Orleans? , Natural Hazards Observer, Vol. XXIX No. 2 November 2004.

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To learn how to run MS Windows-based software and accessories in GNU-Linux, please see our article Crossover Office 2.1 Runs MS Windows Software on GNU-Linux Systems

On 29 August 2005, hurricane Katrina's fury and horror hit Louisiana as a category 4 hurricane with catastrophic wind damage, heavy rains, and lots of flooding. It then moved along the U. S. Gulf coast doing more of the same in Mississippi and Alabama. Local, regional, and state resources were overwhelmed. Immediate federal assistance was needed.

Now with the New Orleans levees and floodwalls having been breached in hurricane Katrina's aftermath local, regional, and state resources are even more overwhelmed. And there is even more need for a full mobilization of federal resources -- civil and military.

Meanwhile (a) during the critical few days before hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast, (b) while Katrina was hitting the Gulf coast, and (c) in the aftermath of Katrina through this morning, President George Bush had been vacationing at his Texas ranch and giving a political speech. Bush was vacationing at a time of major catastrophe and disaster in our country -- a time when our full Air, Army, Coast Guard, Marine, and Naval forces should have been on their way to New Orleans and the Gulf coast to render aid -- a full and complete mobilization.

Moreover, that full mobilization of federal civil and military resources should already have been in New Orleans and the rest of the affected Gulf coast areas. They were not and are not. And even though some federal assets are there and some more federal assets are on the way, the civil and military assets mobilized and in place so far are woefully inadequate to do the job that must be done.

The U. S. Coast Guard people that are on site in the U. S. Gulf coast are doing a great job with the assets they have there. Those people are heroes. The problem is that not enough of them are on site.

We probably need at least 100,000 Air, Army, Coast Guard, Marine, and Naval forces personnel on site to do the job quickly and effectively. And we need them there immediately. We needed them there yesterday!

Saving life has to be the number one priority. Include not only rescue and medical operations in that priority, but also include evacuating people to safe, sanitary, and adequate areas and facilities. Moreover, we need enough assets in theater (face it, right now the Gulf coast is a war zone) so that the other work can be done without draining resources from the life saving operations. However, there are not even enough assets in place, in theater, now do to do the basic life-saving work.

The number 2 priority is plugging the holes in the New Orleans levee and floodwall system and getting New Orleans drained. But while doing that, we need to have thousands of troops:

(a) removing trees that have downed power lines cleaned up immediately,

(b) replacing damaged and downed utility poles (leave the reconnecting the lines to the utility company people)

(c) removing debris from all over the place,

(d) tarping roofs and siding so that the structures with damaged roofs will not sustain any more water damage from rain,

(e) Etc. Etc. Etc.

As we go to press with this article we are hearing reports of some mobilization of federal civil and military forces. But what we are hearing is too little too late. It is unconscionable that at the very least the federal mobilization being reported now was not in place as soon as Katrina had moved inland from the U. S. Gulf coast.

In the few days before Katrina hit the Gulf coast and New Orleans, George Bush should have been at work in the White House getting the advance work done and making plans for helping once Katrina had swept through the Gulf coast:

  • Planning for bracing and supporting the New Orleans levees and flood-walls.
  • Planning for immediate repair of any breached levees and floodwalls.
  • Evacuating citizens that did not have their own means of leaving New Orleans and getting out of harm's way.
  • Getting U.S. Army, Coast Guard, Marine, and Naval forces geared up and in place to render aid the moment Katrina was out of the way.
  • And so forth.

Unfortunately for the people that have been killed, wounded, left homeless, and so forth along the Gulf coast, like Nero fiddling while Rome burned, Bush was fiddling around on his Texas ranch and giving political speeches -- while New Orleans and the Gulf coast was and is being destroyed and suffering from the aftermath of Katrina.


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