Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Politics and the Wind - Katrina relief latest

Firstly, a devastating, infuriating, very important exposé of the Bush administration in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

At last, repairs and recovery efforts in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are settling into an organised pattern, and while I will still provide updates with links, they will be shorter.

Rescue workers found 45 bodies in a New Orleans hospital yesterday. Some had been laid to their temporary rest in a chapel; others had clearly died on upper floors, awaiting roof rescues that never came. All were patients that staff had laboured to help, without the advantages of power supplies or emergency rescue, until the end.

News continues to emerge every day of buildings and infrastructure confirmed destroyed: among the latest is Bruning’s Seafood Bar in the West End. However, it has also emerged that most property records from New Orleans are salvagable after being found in the basement of Orleans Parish Civil District Court. It is not known whether they include any records for rented properties or whether poorer areas of the city are covered, but news of property reconstruction and transfers has yet to be made and will be known in time.

A levee repair at the London Avenue Canal leaked yesterday afternoon, after being slightly overtopped by water from the canal because London Avenue Pumping Station activated one pump which caused the canal to rise. However, the spill was minor and the repair did not fail.

An electricity worker trying to restore power in the Kenner district of the city was fatally electrocuted as he worked on a utility pole. Meanwhile, FEMA is to provide temporary housing, to last for the next two or three years, for over 200,000 displaced people. There will be dozens of mobile home sites placed around the State of Louisiana, and the first will emerge around Baton Rouge, the State capital. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has made it clear that New Orleanians, rather than State or Federal authorities, will be the lead planners in its reconstruction. He did not make clear whether reconstruction would prioritise housing for poorer residents or not. At present the city is bankrupt after one week of inactivity, having spent its last money on employee payroll.

“The model that we’re looking for to rebuild this city, is to keep New Orleans unique culturally, unique musically, unique from a people perspective, but economically as strong as an Atlanta, where you have a strong middle and upper class of African Americans, of white folks, of Hispanics, of Vietnamese. And if we’re not collectively working toward that goal, then there’s a problem. So don’t worry about this city being hijacked by a small group of people who are trying to take us backward.”

tags: [] [] [] []

No comments: