Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Things are really bad in New Orleans...

I'll update this post with more information as it comes in, but sadly, I thought it important to report right away that things are apparently much worse in New Orleans than you may have been led to believe from preliminary reports.

I had wondered why none of the death toll figures seemed to have any numbers from New Orleans, and I assumed at first that it was because Mississippi was so much harder hit. Tragically for New Orleans, the initial hit was just the beginning of problems. Levies apparently continue to fail, and the water level has been going UP consistently since Monday, and still is. Apparently there are no death tolls for New Orleans because officials realize they need to get everyone out and abandon the city, so they're not stopping to count, or even recover bodies. Hundreds more people have been evacuated to the Superdome, which must now, itself, be evacuated, as the water continues to rise, and there is no air conditioning, no electricity and no toilets for the thousands of people now sheltering there.

There is also apparently an AP report out now saying that the Mayor of New Orleans has stated that hundreds - perhaps thousands - of people have been killed there. Death tolls are morbid things, and we all know how untrustworthy they can be in early days, but I'm afraid that, tragically, it appears that Katrina has probably killed many hundreds of people, and many more people are still in serious danger. These latest reports may end up being somewhat exaggerated (let's pray they are) but it now seems clear that the early reports didn't nearly do justice to the size of this disaster.

Update: Quotes from the Mayor of New Orleans from the Globe and Mail:

"We know there is a significant number of dead bodies in the water," and others dead in attics, Mr. Nagin said. Asked how many, he said: "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands."

Update 2: There's never a bad time to give money to the Red Cross, but it's often only during events like these that we think of it. Things look pretty bad, so please consider giving. Someone effected by this or another disaster could depend on it.

Update 3: Just to give everyone an idea of just how vulnerable New Orleans was to a hurricane like this, it turns out FEMA had 3 major catostrophic disaster scenarios that they used as "worst case for the nation" type secnarios. A major earthquake in California. A major terrorist strike in New York. And a Category 5 hurricane hitting New Orleans. Now admittedly, Katrina landed as a category 4, but as one expert said, that's like the difference between getting run over by a 18-wheeler instead of a freight train. Neither is any good.

Recommend this Post


Canadian Perasma said...

Good Post! It's a bit difficult to give right now if you don't have or wish to use your credit card. The Canadian Red Cross isn't accepting donations (at least as of last night) for this tragedy but hopefully that'll change if those wanting to help out want to do so via cheque or whathaveyou otherwise you'll have to get creative if you don't have a USD Chequing account.

I think someone said earlier to me that it's not like this measures up to the tsumani earlier this year. I think now it does. I just heard it called an American Bangladesh on TV in fact. The Queen has even sent her condolences. I think that about sizes up the magnitude of the situation.

Mark Francis said...

I willing to accept a certain amount of rhetoric while people try to express just how bad this is.

Let's hope that the death tolls are much lower.

I'm shocked that New Orleans wasn't better protected.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Allow me to recommend that if you'd like to make a donation, don't worry too much about making a donation SPECIFICALLY directed to the Hurricane. I think it's a good idea to just give money to an expert group like the Red Cross, or perhaps the United Way, or other experts, and let them help people who need help as best they can.

I'm confident that enough money will be raised to save those who can be saved in New Orleans, and all other Katrina victims, and any extra money will go to other disasters. So, for me, I'm not too concerned about helping SPECIFIC people, or SPECIFIC organizations so much as taking this opportunity as a reminder to lend a hand to anyone, period.


Lord Kitchener's Own said...


I'm still a little uncomfortable with comparisons to the tsunami (which killed 226,000 people remember) but it is absolutely clear that Katrina did MUCH more damage, and killed MANY more people, than was apparent, even yesterday.

An emergency worker just said on CNN that part of the problem was that T.V. crews had such a difficult time getting anywhere in New Orleans that it's only in the last 24 hours that the reality of the devastation has sunk in. Progress is being made, but I'm afraid reports will stil get worse before they get better.

Glyn (Zaphod) Evans said...

There is another event today going on from TTLB folks called Blog for relief day... Check my latest post for details and to join if you like.

Oh and I do indeed oppose capital punishment :D Just thought I would mention!!! Thanks for stopping by.