Thursday, September 01, 2005

"There is no command and control."

Forget Falujah. Our national government has yet to establish order in New Orleans:
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Rotting bodies littered New Orleans' streets on Thursday and troops headed in to control looting and violence, as thousands of desperate survivors of Hurricane Katrina pleaded to be evacuated from the flooded city, or even just fed.
On the ground there was no sign of the mayhem being brought under control. Gunshots rang out and fires flared as looters broke into stores, houses, hospitals and office buildings -- some in search of food, others looking for anything of value.
Two New Orleans hospitals were pillaged by robbers who used axes, guns and metal pipes to steal pain killers and medicine, according to a pilot flying relief operations into New Orleans.
Power and water were off and supplies were exhausted. Critically ill patients were dying one by one without oxygen, insulin and intravenous fluids, the pilot said.
The inept response to the disaster is making news around the world. Here's a report on the chaos in New Orleans from the Guardian:

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.
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."