FEMA chief: Victims bear some responsibility


Brown pleased with effort: 'Things are going relatively well'

Thursday, September 1, 2005; Posted: 11:41 p.m. EDT (03:41 GMT)

Programming Note: CNN looks at the disaster and chaos crippling Louisiana, "NewsNight," Thursday, 10 p.m. ET.

Brown: When evacuation warnings go out, people should realize it's for their own good.

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Manage Alerts | What Is This? (CNN) -- The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday those New Orleans residents who chose not to heed warnings to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina bear some responsibility for their fates.

Michael Brown also agreed with other public officials that the death toll in the city could reach into the thousands.

"Unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings," Brown told CNN.

"I don't make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans," he said.

"And to find people still there is just heart-wrenching to me because, you know, the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there.

"So, we've got to figure out some way to convince people that whenever warnings go out it's for their own good," Brown said. "Now, I don't want to second guess why they did that. My job now is to get relief to them."

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin have both predicted the death toll could be in the thousands.

Nagin issued a "desperate SOS" Thursday as violence disrupted efforts to rescue people still trapped in the flooded city and evacuate thousands of displaced residents living amid corpses and human waste. (Full story)

Residents expressed growing frustration with the disorder evident on the streets, raising questions about the coordination and timeliness of relief efforts. (See video on the desperate conditions -- 4:36 )

Sniper fire prevented Charity Hospital from evacuating its patients Thursday. The hospital has no electricity or water, food consists of a few cans of vegetables, and the patients had to be moved to upper floors because of looters. (Full story) (See video of a city sinking in chaos -- 2:54)

Brown was upbeat in his assessment of the relief effort so far, ticking off a list of accomplishments: more than 30,000 National Guard troops will be in the city within three days, the hospitals are being evacuated and search and rescue missions are continuing. (See video of National Guard efforts to rein in violence -- 3:14)

"Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans -- virtually a city that has been destroyed -- that things are going relatively well," Brown said.

Nevertheless, he said he could "empathize with those in miserable conditions."

Asked later on CNN how he could blame the victims, many of whom could not flee the storm because they had no transportation or were too frail to evacuate on their own, Brown said he was not blaming anyone.

"Now is not the time to be blaming," Brown said. "Now is the time to recognize that whether they chose to evacuate or chose not to evacuate, we have to help them."

Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, whose father was a longtime New Orleans mayor, said there was "plenty of blame to go around," citing underinvestement by federal authorities over many years "despite pleas and warnings by officials."

Earlier on CNN, Brown was asked why authorities had not prepared for just such a catastrophe -- given that the levees were designed to withstand only a Category 3 hurricane and Katrina was stronger than that.

"Government officials and engineers will debate that and figure that out," he replied. "Right now, I'm trying to focus on saving lives. I think we should have that debate, but at an appropriate time."

Brown said Katrina was unlike other hurricanes in which the magnitude of the disaster typically subsides after the initial blow. That was not the case Monday, when the Category 4 storm blew ashore.

"What we had in New Orleans is a growing disaster: The hurricane hit, that was one disaster; then the levees broke, that was another disaster; then the floods came; that became a third disaster."

Brown said he had to be careful about getting rescue teams to the site earlier.

"Otherwise, we would have faced an even higher death toll," he said
GL Schmitt

From the Houston Chronicle.com on Aug. 30, 2005, 12:54AM


WINDS OF WARNING (external - login to view)

. . . Because Louisiana and New Orleans officials were slow to order a mandatory evacuation and seemed to have no plans to assist those without vehicles, thousands of people remained in the Crescent City. When many of them took shelter in the Superdome, they were told by authorities to bring their own food, a basic need that contingency plans for relief centers should have covered. Had the worst-case scenario come to pass, as it nearly did, instead of a collective sigh of relief New Orleans rescue workers might be bagging hundreds of drowning victims while the survivors were bereft of adequate food and drinking water. . . .

The stranded people who are mainly poor, really had no choice but to stay. But I guess it is easier to blame the innocent victims than admit that you were at fault.
Reverend Blair
What a bunch of fecking clowns. Jesus Christ, to take the name of their lord in vain, what the feck is wrong with these pig-feckin' morons? Why don't they just get Bush twins to stand up and say, "Let 'em eat cake"?
Vanni Fucci
EDIT: Removed link as it was not immediately verifiable

P.S. Sorry to have given you nightmares No1...
Feck Feck Feck I am speechless. It was bad enough people were dying in the streets and being left where they died. Now this. I guess racism is alive in well in America.
Vanni Fucci
Entire story quoted, so as to spare you sitting through the Visa advertisment...

From Salon.com:


Sept. 1, 2005 | The nightmare in New Orleans has a lot to tell us about poverty: the desperate poverty of the city's African-American population, of course, but also the poverty of political debate in the U.S. today. The crisis unfolding before us -- dispossession, looting, people shooting at rescue workers, the president's dim response, and now, people dying in front of our eyes outside the Superdome -– rubs our noses in so much that's wrong in our country, it's excruciating to watch. But I'm especially struck by the inability of our existing political discourse to describe, let alone to solve, the intractable social problems that have come together in this flood whose proportions and portents seem almost biblical.
Ever since the first looting photos made cable news I've felt sick, like here we go again, we're going to have a new round in the culture war about the poor. Are they victims, or barbarians? If Sean Hannity's attacking them, well, I sure as hell have to defend them. When right-wing pundit Neal Boortz is saying shoot them on sight, somebody has to say that's sick and crazy, right? Personally, with all the destruction in view on Tuesday and Wednesday, I couldn't be horrified by people stealing food; I didn't even care much about people running off with sneakers and beer and TVs. Looting Wal-Mart? I don't defend it, but what do we expect? These are desperately poor people who've been deliberately left behind, in so many senses of the word -- left...

Quote has been trimmed
Vanni Fucci
Quote: Originally Posted by no1important

Feck Feck Feck I am speechless. It was bad enough people were dying in the streets and being left where they died. Now this. I guess racism is alive in well in America.

Yeah...I haven't been able to confirm this with other reports...it may be a false flag...hopefully it is...
Like do they have any long term plans for these people, in between the time they are evacuated and can go back?

They can't go back until they have places to live, and they will need to do a lot of building, so do these people stay in various football stadiums until then or what? It could be a few years even before they can return.

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