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- -01-30-06 Investigation: FEMA Ignored Available Resources and Then Left Early (USA Today)
"At one point, Scarlett's letter said, FEMA asked U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to help with search and rescue in New Orleans, St. Bernard Parish and St. Tammany Parish but that the rescuers 'never received task assignments.' The agency, a branch of the Interior Department, apparently went ahead anyway, according to the letter, which said that Fish and Wildlife helped rescue 4,500 people in the first week after Katrina."
"Other Interior Department resources that were offered, but unused, included flat-bottom boats for shallow-water rescues. 'Clearly these assets and skills were precisely relevant in the post-Katrina environment,' Scarlett wrote." 01-06
- -02-13-06 House Republicans: Katrina Was a Failure of Leadership (CNN News)
" 'If this is what happens when we have advance warning, we shudder to imagine the consequences when we do not. Four and a half years after 9/11, America is still not ready for prime time. This is particularly distressing because we know we remain at risk for terrorist attacks, and because the 2006 hurricane season is right around the corner.' ""Having a national response plan to deal with disasters "is not enough," the committee said."What's needed is a National Action Plan. Not a plan that says Washington will do everything, but one that says, when all else fails, the federal government must do something, whether it's formally requested or not. Not even the perfect bureaucratic storm of flaws and failures can wash away the fundamental governmental responsibility to protect public health and safety," the panel said."
- -04-28-07 U.S. Failed to Use Most of the Aid from Allies for Katrina Victims (MSNBC News)
"Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors. Most of the aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil. Some offers were withdrawn or redirected to private groups such as the Red Cross. The rest has been delayed by red tape and bureaucratic limits on how it can be spent."
"In addition, valuable supplies and services -- such as cellphone systems, medicine and cruise ships -- were delayed or declined because the government could not handle them. In some cases, supplies were wasted." 04-07
- -08-25-07 Doctor Tells Why Patients Died During Katrina Flooding (MSNBC News)
"Dr. Anna Pou was accused of murdering nine patients in a New Orleans hospital wracked by Katrina, but a grand jury declined to indict her. Now she gives her side of the story." 08-07
- "Unimaginable" Cleanup (BBC News)
"In the state’s first major assessment of the environmental havoc in southern Louisiana, Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Mike McDaniel said large quantities of hazardous materials in damaged industrial plants, the danger of explosions and fires, and water pollution were his main concerns eight days after the storm struck."
"He said that in New Orleans alone, it would take 'years' to restore water service to the entire city." 9-05
- -Catastrophic Plan for FEMA for S.E. Louisiana 2004 (IEM)
Provides the plans that were designed to guide the actions of FEMA for a disaster in New Orleans. 9-05
- -Destruction of the Delta (AmericanRadioWorks.com)
"Right now, an entire region of the United States is crumbling and sinking into the sea. Scientists say it's causing one of the worst and least-publicized environmental disasters in America's history."
"But when French settlers showed up in the 1700s, they tried to stop the Mississippi from flooding: they started building these walls. Eventually, the U.S. Army took over the job, and every time they thought they'd conquered nature, the river proved them wrong. So the army built more walls and they built them higher, they've built two thousand miles of levees as of today along the Mississippi River and its branches. And Houck says, the army has finally won the war—they've tamed the Mississippi."
" 'And so,' describes Houck, 'the project was—from an engineering point of view— brilliant, brilliant. It was hugely successful. From an environmental standpoint, it was a disaster.' " 9-05
- -Editorial: What Does It Mean to Lose New Orleans? (International Herald Tribune)
Describes what New Orleans means to the American culture. 9-05
- ABC: FEMA Unprepared (ABC News)
"FEMA was an independent agency, answering directly to the president, until it was folded into the Department of Homeland Security two years ago."
"However, the latest government figures show that 75 cents out of every $1 spent on emergency preparedness goes to anti-terrorism programs. Well before Katrina, FEMA insiders were sounding the alarm." 9-05
- CNN: Homeland Security Chief's Excuses for Delay Unfounded (CNN News)
"Defending the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argued Saturday that government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur."
"Chertoff, fielding questions from reporters, said government officials did not expect both a powerful hurricane and a breach of levees that would flood the city of New Orleans."
"He called the disaster 'breathtaking in its surprise.' "
"But in fact, government officials, scientists and journalists have warned of such a scenario for years."
"But Chertoff seemed unaware of all the warnings."
Chertoff said, " 'It wasn't until comparatively late, shortly before -- a day, maybe a day and a half, before landfall -- that it became clear that this was going to be a Category 4 or 5 hurricane headed for the New Orleans area.'"
CNN noted, in direct contradiction to Chertoff's claim, that "As far back as Friday, August 26, the National Hurricane Center was predicting the storm could be a Category 4 hurricane at landfall, with New Orleans directly in its path."
Editor's Note: The Mayor of New Orleans ordered the city to be evacuated before the hurricane arrived because he knew the city was in danger of being flooded. The levees were only designed to withstand a Category 3 hurricane. 9-05
- Cities Face Economic Peril (New York Times)
"Without money, governments cannot run buses so that residents without cars can search for jobs and go to work. They cannot educate the children of families that might try to return. They cannot provide health care, pick up garbage or begin the detailed planning and engineering necessary to bring a city back to life."
"They are locked in a painful loop, unable to lure back exiled residents without services, but unable to provide the services without tax bases." 10-05
- Coast Guard Heroes (FreeRepublic.com)
"The men and women of the Coast Guard have been flying countless rescue missions, pulling Katrina's exhausted victims to safety."
"What is it that keeps these brave crews going in again and again to make daring rooftop rescues?" 9-05
- EPA: Keeping Safe After Katrina (EPA.gov)
"EPA emergency response personnel are working in partnership with FEMA to help assess the damage and prepare for cleanup from Katrina. In emergency situations such as this, EPA serves as the lead Agency for the cleanup of hazardous materials, including oil and gasoline."
Editor's Note: Flood water gains dangerous chemicals that will not be removed by boiling or adding chemicals such as iodine. Distillation of the water may be the only method for making it safer. Likewise, water from Lake Pontchartrain was also made undrinkable. 9-05
- Editorial: Oversight Needed for Federal Spending After Katrina (USA Today)
"The federal government's track record on spending after disasters is a disaster in itself."
"The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general reported in May that $31 million poured into Miami after Hurricane Frances last year, even though that storm passed well to the north. "
"This woeful record argues for the immediate creation of centralized oversight body headed by a reconstruction czar of national stature. This body would decide which tasks are so critical they merit no-bid contracts and which can wait for a more cost-effective and transparent process. It would also have to begin addressing some thorny issues — such as levee improvements, whether the government should help rebuild uninsured facilities, the role of private insurers, and whether parts of New Orleans should be rebuilt at all." 9-05
- Editorial: Police Keep Public Trust, Private Pain (MSNBC News - Cha)
"They sleep on the concrete sidewalk or in their cars. They scavenge for food from abandoned stores and cook by fire. They wash the laundry by hand and leave it to dry on lines hung from lampposts."
"This is what life has been like for New Orleans police officers since Hurricane Katrina tore apart their city nearly two weeks ago." 9-05
- Environmental Damage from Katrina Huge (Guardian Unlimited)
"The extent of the environmental damage inflicted on the southern US states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama began to emerge yesterday with reports of an entire group of islands disappearing, serious oil slicks and the potential ruin of the seafood industry." 9-05
- FEMA Director Removed from Katrina Leadership (CBS News)
"Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown is being relieved of his command of the Bush administration's Hurricane Katrina onsite relief efforts." 9-05
- Help Arrives -- Too Late for Many (CBS News)
"No one knows how many were killed by Hurricane Katrina's floods and how many more succumbed waiting to be rescued. But the bodies are everywhere: hidden in attics, floating among the ruined city, crumpled on wheelchairs, abandoned on highways."
"And the dying goes on — at the convention center and an airport triage center, where bodies were kept in a refrigerated truck."
" 'The first few days were a natural disaster. The last four days were a man-made disaster,' said Phillip Holt, 51, who was rescued from his home Saturday with his partner and three of their aging Chihuahuas." 9-05
- Heroes of New Orleans (USA Today)
"The stories of Americans pitching in to help each other, without regard to color or class, are inspiring."
"After four days without food, seven young children were rescued from a New Orleans home last week by helicopter. In the chaos, the helicopter didn't return for their parents. The oldest child, Deamonte Love, watched over the others at an evacuation center — a 6-year-old in charge of six toddlers and infants." 9-05
- Hopelessness Lifting in New Orleans (CBS News)
"Workers here began picking up trash, a small miracle under the circumstances. The airport opened to cargo traffic. A bullhorn-wielding volunteer led relief workers in a chorus of 'Amazing Grace.' "
"Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Katrina's onslaught, Sunday was marked by signs that hopelessness was beginning to lift in this shattered city. While the final toll from the disaster remains unknown, there were indications New Orleans had begun to turn a corner." 9-05
- International Reactions to Katrina (WorldPress.org)
Provides "comment and analysis from London, Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Edmonton, Auckland and Moscow" 9-05
- Katrina Proved Experts Right (ABC News)
"While not exactly a prophet of doom, Penland spoke bluntly in the winter of 2000 about the fate he foresaw for New Orleans. Ancient levees that protected the city from the Mississippi and nearby Lake Pontchartrain were inadequate and in desperate need of upgrading. The barrier islands that protected the coastline from storm surges were eroding away at an alarming rate, and little was being done to restore them. The land on which New Orleans and many other communities sat was slowing sinking into the Gulf of Mexico."
"It would have cost a few bucks to take care of some of these problems. A multi-agency task force, for which Penland served as a scientific adviser, came up with a price tag for protecting the Louisiana coastline from a hurricane like Katrina. It would cost about $14 billion, the panel concluded." 9-05
- Katrina Third Strongest Hurricane (USA Today)
"Hurricane Katrina was the third-most intense hurricane to ever hit the United States since reliable records began in 1851, according to the National Weather Service. Only the 'Labor Day Hurricane' that hit the Florida Keys in September 1935 and 1969's Hurricane Camille were more intense."
"As measured by barometric pressure, Katrina was more intense than Hurricane Andrew, which roared across south Florida in August 1992."
"Katrina's winds at landfall were 140 mph, which places the storm as a strong Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity. Andrew was a Category 5 storm, with winds of 165 mph when it made landfall south of Miami." 8-05
- Lessons from Katrina (MSNBC News)
"After seeing New Orleans residents refuse to leave their homes, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he’d 'get a court order, if we have to,' to get people out."
"The mayor of Moore, Okla., Glenn Lewis, heard another message: Citizens, he said, should increase sevenfold the amount of food and supplies they store at home — three weeks’ worth, instead of the previously recommended three days’ — 'after we saw the disaster in Louisiana.' " 9-05
- Long Term Housing Nightmare (MSNBC News)
"Long after the chaos and corpses of Katrina fade from the spotlight there will be the quiet desperation of hundreds of thousands of the hurricane’s refugees struggling with the prospect that they may be homeless for years to come."
"Estimates of the number left homeless by Katrina range in the tens of thousands or more. Finding long term shelter for those victims is the biggest single challenge the Federal Emergency Management situation has ever undertaken, an agency spokesman told MSNBC.com." 9-05
- Lost Dolphins Found (MSNBC News)
"In an 'unheard of' rescue operation, eight dolphins that were swept out of their oceanarium by Hurricane Katrina have been rediscovered hundreds of yards out at sea where trainers are tracking, feeding and caring for them." 9-05
- New Orleans Before and After Katrina (MSNBC News)
Provides an aerial view of New Orleans just before Katrina arrived and just after. 9-05
- One Woman and Her Grandson (MSNBC News)
"The woman and child walked toward the interstate exit ramp. She held his hand and he held a box of Scooby-Doo cereal. 'Granny,' he said, 'where are we going?' "
"Adrienne Picou didn't know the answer." 9-05
- Poll: Katrina Response Inadequate (CBS News)
"Americans think the response to Hurricane Katrina was inadequate, and spread the blame around all levels of government. President George W. Bush finds disapproval on his handling of the matter, too -- and the public now shows diminished confidence in his abilities to handle a crisis or provide leadership, as well as in the government’s ability to protect the country." 9-05
- Response and Responsibilities (USA Today)
Describes local, state, and federal responsibilities--and responses to Katrina. "The burden of planning for and responding to natural disasters is shared by scores of agencies at all levels of government. As the debate rages over what went wrong in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and who was responsible, here's a look at the lines of authority when disaster strikes:" In a nutshell, the first responsibility is with local government. When local government cannot handle the disaster, state assistance can be called in. When state level assistance is inadequate, federal assistance is requested by the state. 9-05
- Russert: The "Haves" vs. the "Have Nots" After Katrina (MSNBC News - Russert)
Russert: "As recently as a year ago there was a tabletop disaster scenario played out as to what would happen to New Orleans in a major hurricane. And the results of those studies have now been proven to be true."
"So the questions that have to be asked are:"
"Why weren’t the poor people evacuated? They don’t have SUVs. They travel by public bus. Could they have been evacuated?"
"Secondly, in terms of pre-positioning, where were the troops, where were the National Guard? If people were to be sent to the Superdome, why weren’t there cots and water and food there?"
"President George W. Bush said the other day that no one expected the levees to break."
"Well, with all respect, study after study, including FEMA's own tabletop exercises last year, all included the breaking or the giving of the levees. Everyone who had studied the issue knew that with a Category 3, 4 or 5 storm, that was a very strong likelihood." 9-05
- Shane and Lipton: Agencies Knew of Danger Far in Advance (International Herald Tribune)
"Disaster officials, who had drawn up dozens of plans and conducted preparedness drills for years, had long known that the low-lying city was especially vulnerable. But despite all the warnings, Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed the very government agencies that prepared for such a calamity. On Thursday, as the flooded city descended into near anarchy, frantic local officials blasted the federal and state emergency response as woefully sluggish and confused."
" 'We're in our fifth day and adequate help to quell the situation has not arrived yet,' said P. Edwin Compass 3rd, the New Orleans police superintendent."
Marth Madden, former Louisiana secretary of environmental quality, commented on the lack of preparation for a breach of the levees. She said that the Army Corps "should have had arrangements in place with contractors who had emergency supplies at hand, like sandbags or concrete barriers, the way that environmental planners have contracts in place to handle oil spills and similar events. 'I'm just shocked,' she said." 9-05
- Simulation Predicted Havoc (CBS News)
"As Katrina roared into the Gulf of Mexico, emergency planners pored over maps and charts of a hurricane simulation that projected 61,290 dead and 384,257 injured or sick in a catastrophic flood that would leave swaths of southeast Louisiana uninhabitable for more than a year."
"These planners were not involved in the frantic preparations for Katrina. By coincidence, they were working on a yearlong project to prepare federal and state officials for a Category 3 hurricane striking New Orleans." 9-05
- Small Businesses Make Big Contributions to Relief (ABC News)
"Large corporations have been making a splash in the headlines for their Hurricane Katrina relief efforts — like Exxon Mobil donating $7 million to the Red Cross or MCI setting up three communication centers in the devastated area. But many small businesses are making big contributions, too. Lacking the manpower, budget and connections of the big guys, they are still finding ways to improve the situation for Katrina survivors." 9-05
- Surprised Europeans Offer Help (MSNBC News)
"As the enormity of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath sinks in, Europeans have been moved to help in ways great and small: from an Austrian university proposing to take in 500 students from New Orleans, to nations agreeing to tap into strategic oil reserves."
"Amid the compassion, there was also surprise that America was so vulnerable and unprepared, and dismay the Bush administration plays down the global warming threat that so many Europeans link to the force and frequency of such storms." 9-05
- Wells: New Orleans Shames Americans (BBC News - Wells)
"At the end of an unforgettable week, one broadcaster on Friday bitterly encapsulated the sense of burning shame and anger that many American citizens are feeling."
"The only difference between the chaos of New Orleans and a Third World disaster operation, he said, was that a foreign dictator would have responded better." 9-05
- Wilson, Johnny - Swimming for Hurricane Victims (CBS News)
"Going stroke for stroke with two adult swimmers, fourth-grader Johnny Wilson made history as the youngest person to ever swim San Francisco Bay from the legendary Alcatraz prison island in just under two hours."
"The 1.4 mile swim wasn't just for glory. It was Johnny's idea to raise money for charity — $30,000 in all."
" 'Give it to the Red Cross for Katrina Victims Fund,' Johnny said." 10-05