From the minute this storm formed on August 23, 2005 over the Bahamas, it became a centerpiece on most news outlets. The National Hurricane Service had been busy that year (hint letter "K") with hurricanes aplenty. But this monster just grew consistently. Katrina became one of the five most deadliest storms to hit the U.S. - being the 6th strongest overall. The dollar loss may still exceed $150 billion...note "may still."
Being the news junkie that I am, I watched the progress of this storm as it made landfall and then headed into the Gulf of Mexico to grow even stronger, threatening Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
I will never forget the morning of August 29, 2005, as I was sitting in a waiting room at the local hospital, for my best friend to get through major surgery on the cervical vertebraes, a tricky surgery at best. The television was tuned into CNN and there was constant reporting from the Gulf coast areas - reporters I might add, that do stupid things in "killer" storms to inform the public. Hurricane Katrina had already been upgraded to a Category 5, which can be cataclysmic, but some of these reporters were hanging on to street signs, while debris is flying past their heads - all for the sake of news.
Don't get me wrong, I like to be informed, but I would rather that someone with a brain do the informing. Be that as it may...the days leading up to this storm, the warnings being issued, did nothing to save the 1,836 lives that were lost.
New Orleans suffered the most damage with 80% of the city flooded, the levees were breached in over 50 places, and the orders for mandatory evacuation were played down and eventually issued too late for some. The buck was passed over and over between federal, state and local governing bodies.
Ray Nagin, mayor of New Orleans ordered mandatory evacuations at 10 am on Aug. 28th - when Katrina was upgraded to a Cat 5 - establishing the Louisiana superdome as a "refuge of last resort." In his wildest dreams, I don't think he counted on over 26,000 people to head to that site.
I don't think anyone will forget "great job Brownie", Bush's FEMA unqualified director at the time. (Michael D. Brown). The man who failed to meet the needs of people who understandably, would be unable to evacuate, was praised by Bush - and had done absolutely nothing!
A major clusterfuck ensued after Katrina ravaged the Gulf coast. FEMA was mismanaged and lacking proper leadership, only 1/5 of trailers ordered ever arrived, only to be set up in areas without any utilities or on swampy ground.
Financial donations, medical supplies, mobile hospitals, water treatment necessities, doctors and medicine were offered, but turned down by the U.S. Smart move there. Granted, Cuba and Venezuela offered a great deal of assistance and one might have to reconsider offers from these countries, but there were no strings attached. It was humanitarian aide!!
Days after this catastrophe, many international news outlets were making accusations of racism - as nothing was being done for these people, with most victims being black. Shame on America for that...shame on America for not helping to rebuild this area and help these people rebuild some semblance of a life.
Major studies were initiated to actually see what happened (duh! the levees broke), and what should be done to avoid another catastrophe of this magnitude. All reports were to be turned over to Congress by the Army Corps of Engineers by mid 2009 - and I haven't heard a word about any report. Amazing - all the "care" our legislators have for the populace - allows a four year interval for a study to be initiated. That's pathetic.
Those living in the coastal areas of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi - are no better off today than they were four years ago. I understand some levee repairs have taken place, but all are not completed. there are still thousands of people displaced by this storm and at this point, may never return to their home areas.
For a country as advanced as we pretend to be - WHY - is this area not completely rebuilt (or a major portion) by this time? I know Bush never gave a damn, as most racist rethuglians tend to be. Yes, I believe a great deal of the lack of concern was due to race. I might think differently had we put our resources to work in this devastated area and for these people, than to continually fight an unjust war, costing untold billions of dollars.
This coming Friday is not an anniversary to celebrate - but maybe all government entities might take the time to rethink their steps for future possible cataclysmic events.
Born and raised in Parkersburg, WV - moved to Bellaire, Ohio in 1974. I am the proud mother of 3 and grandmother of 3. Opinionated of course and political follower. Blog as a therapeutic outlet - whether it makes sense or not. Enjoy.