Sunday, September 11, 2005

Katrina and flood were no surprise; more stories of chaos 

New reports reveal that an extensive hurricane and flood simulation for the New Orleans area was conducted by a Baton Rouge-based company, Innovative Emergency Management, in summer 2004. The IEM led a team of three firms, under a contract from FEMA. The results of the simulation, which forecasted catastrophic damage that virtually mirrored the Katrina reality, were given to more than 270 representatives of federal, state and local government agencies, who submitted extensive disaster preparation recommendations.

Thousands dead, 1 million evacuated. Katrina? No, a simulation run last year (San Francisco Chronicle)

Hurricane simulation predicted 61,290 dead (Associated Press)

This adds to the mounting evidence that FEMA was fully aware of the possibility of catastrophic flooding. Under FEMA/Homeland Security, New Orleans and its inhabitants have been isolated. Aid and relief have been obstructed.

Questions must also be raised regarding the precise nature and timing of the levee breaks. According to some accounts, spirits in New Orleans were high for approximately one day after the storm had passed, when it appeared that the city had survived with only wind damage. There was no flooding.

The levees broke during the subsequent 24-hour period. Were the levees checked or patrolled during this period?

Two other typically harrowing firsthand accounts deserve attention. Police Made Storm Misery Worse is another story about how victims were denied escape from New Orleans. (This same account is also featured in the September 7 broadcast of KPFA's Flashpoints.)

Finally, an e-mail circulated by a doctor at New Orleans' Charity Hospital confirms that aid from and evacuation by FEMA (and state agencies) were non-existent, as conditions became increasingly nightmarish, and critical care patients were in dire need of help. Hospital staff were forced to evacuate the hospital on their own, using personal connections and opportunistic calls to news media on the scene. Several preventable deaths occurred. This chaos took place after Governor Kathleen Blanco had declared that the hospital had already been evacuated.

The magnitude and scope of this disaster will not be fully realized until and unless more victims and evacuees make it to safety to tell their stories. There is ample and mounting evidence of criminal negligence as well as deliberate murder. The Bush administration would like nothing better than to flush this information down the memory hole, along with New Orleans itself. This can't be permitted.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?