New Orleans Mayor Fuming Over FEMAilure

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Katrina, NOLA rescue operationsThis is an incredibly candid and emotional interview with Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans. Boing Boing and a few other have high-traffic links to the uncensored interview, but here’s a great snippet I transcribed from the end:

This is ridiculous, I don’t want to see anybody do any more goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don’t do another press conference until the resources are in this city. Then come down to this city, and stand with us when there are [so many] military trucks and troops that we can’t even count [them]. Don’t tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They’re not here. It’s too doggone late. Now get off your asses and let’s do something, and let’s fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

I’m getting sick of the posturing and bottlenecking by FEMA and the federal government. Right now they need to get the hell out of the way if they can’t handle this, and get Red Cross and the dozens of charities in there to help. And get those hundreds of private airboaters being held up by FEMA, that are loaded with food and supplies, into New Orleans to help distribute aid and finish the rescue.

Because right now, the politicians, and FEMA in particular are failing, and their incompetence is getting people killed every day.

Update [linked in the comments by Rick]: Senator David Vitter (R-LA) is saying the deployment of 40,000 troops is far too slow (he wants regular troops, which requires an act of Congress and is still slow) and gave the federal government a grade ‘F’ for its response to the disaster so far.

Which begs the question: Why is it we can invade, topple and occupy a foreign nation in under 48 hours, but it takes nearly a week just to get 40,000 troops to Louisiana to respond to a disaster?

Update [via Knappster]: Crash Landing weighs in and calls it a government disaster:

Make no mistake. When New Orleans appeared out from under Katrina, it was mostly cosmetic damage. Lines down, roof shingles scattered and the normal aftermath of a good sized hurricane. It was annoying but it wasn’t a disaster. What happened in the hours AFTER Katrina was a completely man-made catastrophe. It started years ago when people gladly accepted that the government can protect them.

posted by vforvandyke
  • rickrajter

    update… death toll likely to be higher than 10,000+
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20050902/pl_afp/usweatherdeaths

    simply amazing

  • Lenny Zimmermann

    The Mayor is only expressing the same sentiments all of us feel here. In just those kinds of words. I think it is sad that so many in the city felt they really could just go somewhere and have the government take care of them, instead of trying to do that themselves. A hard, hard lesson for those folks to learn. Now if the government would get the hell out of the way, those of us in areas where we can get to can get in, with supplies, and protect the lives and property of our neighbors. We’ve got a hell of a lot more manpower than the government has. And I have no doubt we’d be FAR more effective.

  • rickrajter

    If you need some more information on the horror that people are facing in the FEMA dome.

    This article has some sickening updates.

    “We pee on the floor. We are like animals,” said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. In her right hand she carried a half-full bottle of formula provided by rescuers. Baby supplies are running low; one mother said she was given two diapers and told to scrape them off when they got dirty and use them again.

    At least two people, including a child, have been raped. At least three people have died, including one man who jumped 50 feet to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for.

    People are turning towards their government for help, and receiving this? If there was ever was a case that a bloated government can’t do a damn thing right, this would be it.

    And please, this is not me politicing. There is a legitimate tragedy going on RIGHT NOW. Where is Bush? Like nero, he’s just playing his fiddle while New Orleans drowns.

  • rickrajter

    continuing from my last post

    There is no sanitation. The stench is overwhelming. The city’s water supply, which had held up since Sunday, gave out early Wednesday, and toilets in the Superdome became inoperable and began to overflow.

    “There is feces on the walls,” said Bryan Hebert, 43, who arrived at the Superdome on Monday. “There is feces all over the place.”