Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Why are People Still Waiting Around?

What is going on with this wait? I don’t understand it. Why can’t the National Guard accompany rescuers who are going in? We saw that the college students who went in were able to rescue people without any sort of protection – what is the game that actual rescue crews are being kept out? What is the government not telling us?

From the Dallas Times:

Would-be rescuers cool their heels
Chaos in New Orleans delays California team eager to enter fray

08:56 AM CDT on Tuesday, September 6, 2005
By JASON TRAHAN / The Dallas Morning News

They have been trimming one another's hair, lounging on hotel chairs, chatting on cellphones. They've been up at dawn, exercising in front of the hotel, trying to stay busy.

What they haven't been doing is dangling from helicopters over flooded neighborhoods or going into half-collapsed buildings searching for hurricane victims to rescue.

The 83 members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Urban Search and Rescue team from Orange County, Calif., have been told to stay downtown at the Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion.

Since Friday, FEMA rescuers have been stuck in Dallas, waiting for the call to head to New Orleans. From left: John Belles, Bill Lackey and Andy Ogren watch TV reports. Since Friday, they have been sitting tight at the luxury hotel with members of five other teams of specialists from California, Nevada and Washington state – about 500 people all diverted to Dallas on the way to the Gulf Coast.

There they have watched television reports, itching to help the stranded victims of Katrina but ordered by FEMA officials to stay idle.

"It's been horribly frustrating," said Battalion Chief Marc Hawkins, noting that he understood the reasons the team had been asked to stay put. "Keeping firefighters pent up like this is a chore."

On Sunday, the Orange County team learned where it would finally do the job it was trained to do. By the time the team arrives in Metairie, La., a full week will have passed since it was ordered to leave California.

"We've been trying like hell to get out of here," said Battalion Chief Hawkins, one of the Orange County task force leaders.

The reason for the extended holdover? Team members were told that conditions were too chaotic in New Orleans, which has been plagued by violence and reports of gunfire aimed at rescuers, and the National Guard needed more time to restore order. In addition, problems getting supplies to the rescue crews already there, as well as victims, had not been worked out.

Posted by crimnos @ 10:41 AM

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yeah, and the right-wing nuts are trying still to reflect blame from the Bush administration.

Posted by Blogger james @ 1:03 PM #
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