One year later - Democracy Now! today has some interesting reporting by Greg Palast on the disaster (non)response.
"Top Hurricane Expert Says Officials Threatened His Job Over Pre-Katrina Warnings"
On the eve of the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, investigative journalist Greg Palast reports that a top hurricane expert says government officials threatened his job over his warnings about the impending disaster.
"Who is New Orleans Being Rebuilt For? - City Demographics Radically Altered With Many Black Residents Still Unable to Return"
A year after Hurricane Katrina hit, only about half of New Orleans' population of 450,000 has returned. Many of those unable to come back are poor and African-American, drastically altering the demographics of a city that used to be two-thirds black.
I don't think that I had previously heard of the Bush-supporting company, "Innovative Emergency Management" that was supposed to have come up with a New Orleans evacuation plan (for a half a million dollars) - even though experts in the field @ LSU already had a plan....
GREG PALAST: The LSU scientist already had an evacuation model, but IEM and FEMA refused to use it.
DR. IVOR VAN HEERDEN: We had the science. We had really studied this thing. We knew what was going to go wrong. We had an enormous amount of information, right down to mapping where the gas tanks were and pipelines. Science was basically ignored all the way through the process.
GREG PALAST: The LSU professors warned, for example, that the IEM plan simply made no provision for people -- the old, the sick -- who couldn't escape in a car. I asked him the consequences of this oversight.
DR. IVOR VAN HEERDEN: Well, you know, 1,500 of them drowned. That's the bottom line.
GREG PALAST: Then the professor surprised me by saying that giving us this information put his job at risk.
DR. IVOR VAN HEERDEN: I wasn't going to let them -- let those sort of threats shut me down or any of the other sorts of nonsense that went on, because it was so important that we get out what had gone wrong and why.
GREG PALAST: Apparently, the heat from the university originated with a state official, who now works for IEM.
The Greg Palast reporting shows one example of how the Bush Government is all about money for their friends and contributors and that the people of the United States are getting worse than nothing in return. The second story shows that the disaster is being used an excuse to prevent people from living in public housing that is on what is now valuable land that did not flood.
I think that the disaster response for New Orleans was beyond outrageous and was actually criminal - and that the vast majority of the blame falls at the feet of the Federal Government. They were the ones who were turning back people in boats who were trying to help. They were the ones who were reprimanding the people in the military who rescued people by helicoptor. The were the ones who were preventing water and help from reaching people.
I don't know how people who are responsible for such things could still be governing us. And I think that the deaths are being underreported to this day.