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Thread: Rita: They have learned nothing

  1. #1
    beltman713 Guest

    Rita: They have learned nothing

    They have learned nothing

    MR. McCLELLAN: Sure. A couple of things -- one, the President is focused on making sure we have the strongest possible coordination with state and local governments in the path of Hurricane Rita. We hope Rita is not devastating, but we must be prepared for the worst. Coordination at all levels needs to be seamless, or as seamless as possible, and that's what we're working to do.

    -- Wednesday's White House press briefing.

    The woman pictured at the top of this entry is named Hortense Davis. She is 73 years old and lives in a flood-prone section of Houston, directly in the path of Category 5 Hurricane Rita.

    Clearly, George W. Bush is not focusing on her. Because Hortense Davis desperately wants to get the hell out of Houston. And no one is helping her. It is New Orleans deja vu all over again.

    The president, and the people around him, have learned nothing from the worst natural disaster in American history.

    Here is Davis' story, from an excellent hurricane blog started by the Houston Chronicle. This post is titled, and you'll be sick to your stomach when you see this: "So Many People, So Few Buses."

    Hortense Davis is waiting at the Houston Greyhound station for a bus that may not be coming.

    The 73-year-old woman called the Red Cross today to find out what she should do about the storm. She said she was told to go to the bus station and tell them she had no money and needs to get out of the city.

    "But when I got here, they said they couldn't help me," she said. "So now I'm just sitting here."

    Davis is trying to evacuate to Lufkin because she is scared hurricane Rita is going to causing major flooding in Houston.

    "I'm stuck here," she said. "I don't have anywhere else to go."

    Hundreds of people packed the downtown Greyhound station tonight hoping to get a ticket to safety.

    Carolyn Rivera, 62, said she bought a bus ticket to Dallas today, but when she arrived at the station she discovered all the buses were filled. So she called her daughter and the two women plan to drive to Arkansas tonight.

    "There are so many people and so few buses,"
    she said.

    Houston is not New Orleans. The city is above sea level, and while Galveston (a city of 60,000 people) may get swamped on Saturday, the fate of Houston -- the nation's 4th largest city, bigger than Philadelphia -- is less clear. However, you should know what happened when Tropical Storm Allison (pictured below) -- a tropical storm with 60 mph winds, not a Category 4 or 5 hurricane -- stalled over Houston in 2001:

    Over two hundred thousand customers were without electrical power at some point during the disaster. Several hospitals at the Texas Medical Center had to evacuate their patients in total darkness after flood waters disabled emergency power generators in the basement. Also, thousands of laboratory animals at the Baylor College of Medicine perished, destroying years of medical research.

    In Downtown Houston, many of the tunnels that are part of the underground tunnel system connecting buildings were completely submerged, as were many streets and parking garages. A woman drowned in an elevator in the Bank of America Center as she tried to retrieve her car. The Theatre District lost millions of dollars of property. TV stations ran all-night coverage of the deluge, including KHOU-TV 11, which was forced to cut off its broadcast when floodwaters swamped the station's studio. As a result, the station was forced to transmit its signal through a satellite truck. By midnight every major road into the city was underwater, forcing hundreds of motorists in this commuter city to abandon their vehicles.

    Over seventy thousand buildings reported flood damage, some in neighborhoods that had never flooded in history. Twenty-two people died in the Houston area.

    And yet, people are still busy arguing about the buses that didn't show up in New Orleans instead of sending hundreds of buses RIGHT NOW to Houston, where God knows how many Hortense Davis' are without vehicles and without any way to get out of town.

    Doesn't anybody remember what New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said just 20 days ago?

    I'm like, "You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans."

    Where are the buses? Where's Michael Chertoff, and where's R. David Paulison? Most important, where's Bush? Rita is about 39 hours from land. Somebody needs to get their asses moving. And focus.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2005
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