Friday, September 02, 2005

Is this America? <:(

Anyone familiar with this blog will know by now I have some issues with the attitudes and actions of the United States, generally speaking. But what I'm reading about New Orleans astounds and distresses me. It's one thing for them to disregard the rights of unseen millions on the other side of the world... but among themselves? Each other? What's left?

This is from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation...

In quotes: Chaos in New Orleans

New Orleans has descended into chaos in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Katrina. Following are quotes about the situation on the ground.

CNN reporter Chris Lawrence, who is holed up with a group on the roof of a police station in the middle of New Orleans:
"Right now it's the only safe place to be in the city. We were on the street earlier but the police said under no circumstances would you be safe on the street."
"They said anybody walking in the streets of New Orleans is basically taking their life in their hands.
"As they hustled us off the street some of the officers told us that groups of young men had been looting the city, shooting at people, attempting to rape young women.
"They directed some of the young women to get off the street immediately."

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco:
"Three hundred of the Arkansas National Guard have landed in the city of New Orleans.
"These troops are fresh back from Iraq, well trained, experienced, battle-tested and under my orders to restore order in the streets.
"They have M-16s and they are locked and loaded.
"These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will."

Thomas Jessie, a 31-year-old roofer, who spent a night in the New Orleans convention centre:
"We got dead bodies sitting next to us for days. I feel like I am going to die. People are going to kill you for water.
"This is America, I don't understand the lack of communications between the authorities and the people.
"It is disgusting, we feel we have been forgotten."

A New Orleans police officer, who asked not to be identified:
"This city knew something like this would happen a long time ago. They did nothing to prepare for this. They just rolled the dice and hoped for the best.
"People were raped in [the Superdome, where refugees were living]. People were killed in there. We had multiple riots.
"You can't be trapped in there for so long without going crazy. People were locked in the dome like prisoners.
"There was no ventilation. We had 80 to 90-year-old people who needed medication and couldn't get it."

Baron Duncan, describing the time he spent inside the Superdome:
"The last few days were utter hell. The stench was unbearable. We were treated like animals.
"There was shooting, our lives were in danger. A seven-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy got raped."

Audrey Jordan, who also sought refuge in the Superdome:
"We were treated like this was a concentration camp. One man couldn't take it. He jumped over the railing and died."

Japanese tourist Ryo Gotanda, who is trapped in New Orleans:
"We are lost. We are tourists. We don't know how to get around, how to protect ourselves. It is like being in a jungle.
"People were staring at us, waving clubs [when we walked through one inner-city neighbourhood].
"I was scared. For the first time in my life I thought I would die."

Australian woman Kelly-Rae Smith, whose parents are hiding on a road overpass with 40 other tourists after their hotel was flooded:
"The violence is escalating. There are shootings. They have three dead bodies at the bottom of the stairwell where they are.
"They have a payphone but have to strategically plan when they go.
"There's so much violence going on even the SWAT team has locked themselves in their building."

Robert Lewis, 46, after spending two days at a shelter before being shifted to Houston:
"Call it biblical. Call it apocalyptic. Whatever you want to call it, take your pick.
"There were bodies floating past my front door. I've never seen anything like that."

Dr Andrew Sandler, working at a hospital in New Orleans:
"It's very easy to get from our point to the bridge that can get us out of here. The problem is that the buses that have been ordered ... that were supposed to come here today ... two were commandeered by FEMA and the other four, they were told that it wasn't safe for them to evacuate us because of the snipers.
"With 60 residents, the average aged 87, that have not had air-conditioning in five days, three have died and another eight - no matter how much water we give them, could expire because it's too hot for them.
"The variable I never, that I hadn't planned for, are the snipers - in fact that nobody would give the buses, they won't let the buses get us out."

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