New Orleans: Destroyed By Presidential Negligence
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New Orleans: Destroyed
by Presidential Negligence
Disasters Waiting to Happen: What if Hurricane Ivan Had Hit New Orleans?
[Natural Hazards Observer, November 2004]
In 2001, the New Orleans district spent $147 million on construction projects. When fiscal year 2005 wraps up Sept. 30, the Corps expects to have spent $82 million, a 44.2 percent reduction from 2001 expenditures. ... Unfunded projects include widening drainage canals, flood-proofing bridges and building pumping stations in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. The Corps also wants to build levees in unprotected areas on the West Bank. [New Orleans CityBusiness]
In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding. It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said. ... The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now. [New Orleans CityBusiness]
It appears that the money has been moved in the presidents budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose thats the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees cant be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us. -- Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004. [pnionline]
After New Orleans thought it had narrowly escaped the worst of Hurricane Katrina's wrath, water broke through two levees, embankments built to prevent flooding, and virtually submerged and isolated the city, causing incalculable destruction and rendering it uninhabitable for weeks to come. [IHT]
The enormous devastation wreaked upon parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama by Hurricane Katrina is only beginning to come to light, even as the situation in New Orleans grows worse by the hour. Large parts of the coastal regions of these states along the Gulf of Mexico have experienced extensive flooding, destruction of buildings and homes, and loss of life.
As the toll mounts, it becomes increasingly clear that the city of New Orleans was remarkably unprepared for such a disaster. That the city of over one million was spared the direct hit which many at first feared, and nevertheless experienced such massive damage, only underscores the fact that the systems protecting the city are entirely inadequate. [Asian Tribune]
Murky water, laced with junk and pollutants, coursed through the city, including many downtown streets. Residents and rescuers came across floating bodies, though the city's death toll was unknown late Tuesday. Flooding specialists predicted that conditions could worsen as authorities focused first on saving people trapped in buildings.
Some flood-control pumps were broken, choked by excess water or storm debris. Others were lacking power needed to run. Roofs were reported collapsed on at least two major pumping stations. Without the pumps, much of the flood water will have nowhere to drain in this city cradled within a bowl, at an average of 6 feet below sea level. [Detroit News]
Hurricane Katrina has probably killed thousands of people in New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin said today. If that estimate is accurate, Hurricane Katrina would be the nation's deadliest natural disaster since at least the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands," Nagin said when asked for specifics at a news conference. [KBTS 3 News]
The president told us that we needed to fight in Iraq to save lives here at home, and yet -- after moving billions of domestic dollars to the Persian Gulf -- there are bodies floating through the streets of Louisiana. What does George W. Bush have to say for himself now? [pnionline] The message is clear. You are on your own. The levees that collapsed were the ones the canceled funds were intended to strengthen. Bush cut all those funds to help pay for his war in Iraq, a war started with lies.
This is not wise leadership. It is reckless "loot the treasury to pay for phony wars" leadership. Bush has, through incompetence, wrecked a major US city just as thoroughly as any terrorist could ever hope to do.
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