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Volunteers witness the power of Mother Nature (RED CROSS EFFORTS THWARTED)
Doylestown Patriot, PA ^ | September 8, 2005 | Lorraine Sciuto-Ballasy

Posted on 09/08/2005 1:09:53 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

Although the official death toll throughout Louisiana is under 100, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin said the figure is likely to reach more than 10,000 people. When American Red Cross volunteers Keller Taylor of Richboro and Ed Sherman of Levittown, both retirees, arrived on the scene early last week their efforts were initially thwarted.

Reports of the government halting Red Cross delivery of much-needed supplies, like water and medicine, because they were not allowed access to those most in need, have not yet been addressed by the White House. Some sources say the prohibition was a safety precaution.

The Bucks County American Red Cross has not, however, confirmed those reports.

It took a whole week, but President George W. Bush finally visited New Orleans on foot Monday, speaking with displaced flood victims and surveying the damage up close and personal rather than taking a bird's eye view from a helicopter as he did last week.

Long feared as a potential disaster, two levees broke, giving in to the immense water pressure, and essentially opened the floodgates into New Orleans, drowning the city several hours after Hurricane Katrina already had blasted through the area.

Meanwhile on Monday, the Army Corps of Engineers successfully patched up the two damaged levees that burst in the aftermath of the storm, beginning the process of pumping water out of flood-ravaged New Orleans for the first time in a week. It took hundreds of bags, tons of sand and cement dumped on the 17th Street Canal and London Avenue levees to stem the water. Portable pumps are being used to drain the streets, directing the receding water back into Lake Pontchartrain.

In the midst of controversy surrounding his tardy response to the disaster, President Bush was photographed comforting people in Poplarville, Miss. and Baton Rouge, La.

In Louisiana, Democratic Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, who criticized the president for the lack of the federal government's emergency response to the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, cancelled alternate plans to fly to Houston when she heard of Bush's visit through news reports.

Bush's trip has been dubbed as an effort to quell criticism and circumvent political repercussions prompted by the White House's failure to react promptly to rescue and aid victims, the thousands stranded on rooftops and trapped in their attics when the waters unexpectedly elevated, evacuees who were left without water and adequate shelter, and those who remained in the city despite warnings to leave, many of whom simply did not have the means to evacuate.

Blanco blamed Bush for the delayed deployment of the National Guard in Louisiana. As recently as Friday, Blanco refused to sign a White House proposed agreement in which the state would share its autonomous control of National Guard forces with federal authorities. On Sunday, the Times-Picayune, Louisiana's largest newspaper, published an open letter to the president calling for every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be fired.

In Baton Rouge Monday, Bush told a group of homeless, hungry victims the country would "do what it takes to help people get back on their feet." Police report the entire New Orleans area, except for the French Quarter, has been completely destroyed, still they are having difficulty convincing residents to go elsewhere. In the more western parts of the city, some residents were permitted to return home for a few hours to salvage whatever possible from their homes.

Stationed since Friday in Bogalusa, La., a rural suburb in Washington Parish 50 miles east of New Orleans, Taylor described utility lines mangled by Hurricane Katrina as "a big handful of wet spaghetti."

It's estimated half of the area's 45,000 homes are totally uninhabitable, torn apart by the 125 mile per hour hurricane winds. The town is without power, phone service, or running water. The community hospital is operating from generators, keeping only "critical" life-saving equipment running.

"It's just amazing the damage here. Never, ever, ever have I seen anything like this," he said. "They are saying it will be at least six weeks before power is restored."

Downed phone lines and cell phone towers have made routine communication with the relief workers impossible. Taylor traveled 19 miles out of town before he could pick up a cell phone signal.

Taylor is currently delivering food cooked in portable kitchens to outlying shelters and homeless people, bringing over 1,000 meals to displaced residents in two days.

Relief workers said Red Cross volunteers brought the first supplies in on Friday. Until then, thousands of people went without water or food since Sunday. Many more people in other areas still wait for aid, having not yet received any supplies.

Taylor said nothing remains of the homes and neighborhoods these people once knew. Even gas and money won't make a difference in light of the "severe destruction," he explained.

"These are folks who have needs," Taylor said. "They'll tell you today is better than yesterday, but they don't see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Taylor, who had been accepting calls on his cell phone when possible, received a call from Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick on Friday. Apparently, Fitzpatrick asked Taylor how he could help and inquired as to what supplies or services were needed.

Since Thursday, Sherman has worked the graveyard shift at an emergency shelter housing about 1,000 people in the Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles located six hours outside New Orleans. For many, their shoes had to be cut from their waterlogged feet; they were so swollen and blistered.

These flood victims, people who refused or were unable to leave when the evacuation order was issued, survived for four days in local schools and warehouses without water, food, or medicine. Most were rescued from St. Bernard Parish, east of New Orleans, an area where Hurricane Katrina struck directly.

"These are the people who went through hell," Sherman said.

Initially, Sherman assisted 3,000 victims at the nearby Civic Center emergency shelter before he transferred to Burton Coliseum. He listened to unfathomable tales of survival while he distributed bottled water, food and toiletries, disposed of soiled clothes and garments, and set-up cots and air mattresses so the weary evacuees could finally rest.

He heard from people who fought against huge waves surging at 20 feet high during the height of the storm, hanging onto debris and tree limbs and others who swam, floating and doggie-paddling, for days until rescued from the water. There were daring boat rescues and traumatic recollections of lives lost. Families forced to break through the roof to escape rising waters recounted their desperate hours.

"I've heard a lot of stories of survival," said Sherman. "We've had every type of person come through our door. Yesterday, we had a whole group from a senior citizen center come in. There are pregnant women here and there are families who are now mostly adrift." Despite the mayhem and looting that ravaged New Orleans, Sherman maintained that he has only seen unprecedented generosity in the people of his host town.

"People come in asking if they can volunteer, just wanting to help in any way that they can and not complaining about anything."

Bridget Brier contributed to this story


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Louisiana
KEYWORDS: aid; blanco; butnotfema; disasterrelief; hurricane; katrina; redcross
Reports of the government halting Red Cross delivery of much-needed supplies, like water and medicine, because they were not allowed access to those most in need, have not yet been addressed by the White House. Some sources say the prohibition was a safety precaution.

Shawn Hannity is highlighting this on his progam today. His report is LA government officials didn't want to distribute supplies (available for distribution the day before the hurricane) to the people in the Superdome because they didn't want to attract people.

1 posted on 09/08/2005 1:09:57 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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attract people and/or keep them there.


2 posted on 09/08/2005 1:10:33 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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I guess Blanco and the LA government decided it would be better to let their neighbors do the heavy lifting.


3 posted on 09/08/2005 1:11:17 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Wheres the Barf Alert???...It didn't take her more than a couple paragraphs to continue the Bush bashing...


4 posted on 09/08/2005 1:17:47 PM PDT by conservativehusker (GO BIG RED!!!!)
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To: All

In NRO's The Corner this (Thursday) morning, Jonah Goldberg reproduces the transcript of FNC reporter Major LA State Govt. blocks Red Cross
By: Mark Kilmer · Section: Diaries

........ but the bombshell is that the Red Cross had people and supplies in place in New Orleans, and that FEMA, who is charged with working with the Red Cross and other private entities, could not authorize them to begin work.

According to Garrett:


The Red Cross was ready. I got off the phone with one of their officials. They had a vanguard, Brit, of trucks with water, food, hygiene equipment, all sorts of things ready to go where? To the Superdome and convention center. Why weren't they there? The Louisiana Department of Homeland Security told them they could not go.

Why not? Garrett again:



The Red Cross tells me that state agency in Louisiana said, look, we do not want to create a magnet for more people to come to the Superdome or convention center, we want to get them out. So at the same time local officials were screaming where is the food, where is the water? The Red Cross was standing by ready, the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security said you can't go.

Garrett was later interviewed by radio talker Hugh Hewitt [transcript, very much worth reading, from Radio Blogger].

http://www.redstate.org/story/2005/9/8/142914/9010


5 posted on 09/08/2005 1:18:46 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: conservativehusker
Wheres the Barf Alert???...It didn't take her more than a couple paragraphs to continue the Bush bashing...

It takes a lot of barf to cover up and divert from Democrat slime.

6 posted on 09/08/2005 1:19:55 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Although the official death toll throughout Louisiana is under 100,

What's up with this? Are they waiting to see how the politics plays out with all the ceaseless Bush-bashing to see what they need to report as a figure?
Its' been well over a week and this (under 100) is still the official toll? It's not that it wouldn't be wonderful news if this was the case, but with all the stories out there and Nagins' claim of 10,000, does this make sense?

7 posted on 09/08/2005 1:21:17 PM PDT by PLOM...NOT! (Liberals put the "li(e)" in politics)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Who is Shawn?


8 posted on 09/08/2005 1:25:08 PM PDT by Cobra64
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Reports of the government halting Red Cross delivery of much-needed supplies, like water and medicine, because they were not allowed access to those most in need, have not yet been addressed by the White House.

Ummm...this doesn't need to be addressed by the WH, this needs to be addressed by the LA state Homeland Security Office, who actually halted the delivery. With lousy reporting like this, no wonder people are blaming Bush for the delay. We oughta get them to print a correction.

9 posted on 09/08/2005 1:32:57 PM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Reports of the government halting Red Cross delivery of much-needed supplies, like water and medicine, because they were not allowed access to those most in need, have not yet been addressed by the White House.

What level of government? City, county, federal?

The Bucks County American Red Cross has not, however, confirmed those reports.

Am I to assume that the Bucks County chapter of the Red Cross was the entity denied access?

Sometimes I don't know if I no longer have any reading comprehension skills, or if it's the writer doing a sloppy job of imparting the facts.

10 posted on 09/08/2005 1:35:55 PM PDT by DumpsterDiver
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To: ravingnutter; DumpsterDiver; All
The Machine Stops (Blanco's ineptitude and indecisiveness Blocked Red Cross Efforts)
11 posted on 09/08/2005 1:40:21 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Reports of the government halting Red Cross delivery of much-needed supplies, like water and medicine, because they were not allowed access to those most in need, have not yet been addressed by the White House.

Why would that concern be addressed by the White House?
12 posted on 09/08/2005 2:00:13 PM PDT by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: andyk

http://corner.nationalreview.com/05_09_04_corner-archive.asp#075875


13 posted on 09/08/2005 2:02:34 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Sent to: doyles@ingnews.com

Lorraine Scuito-Ballasy, in her article ”Volunteers witness the power of Mother Nature”, states that “Reports of the government halting Red Cross delivery of much needed supplies, like water and medicine, because they were not allowed access to those most in need, have not yet been addressed by the White House.”

If Ms. Scuito-Ballasy had done her homework, she would have known that it was the Louisiana State Homeland Security Office that stopped the Red Cross from coming in, not the Federal officials. This can be verified at the Red Cross website:

http://www.redcross.org/faq/0,1096,0_682_4524,00.html

Here is the applicable excerpt:

The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

Please print a correction to that article.

Thank you.

14 posted on 09/08/2005 2:05:58 PM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Yeah, I saw that last night (and taped it); it was a great exchange. That's actually what prompted my post, since I knew it wasn't a federal agency which blocked the Red Cross from bringing supplies.

From your link:

The Louisiana Department of Homeland Security told them they could not go.

Major Garrett is on Hannity right now!
15 posted on 09/08/2005 2:09:05 PM PDT by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

THe article says "Blanco blamed Bush for the delayed deployment of the National Guard in Louisiana"
Someone please correct me. But I thought it was the Governor who deployed the State's National Guard.


16 posted on 09/08/2005 2:17:25 PM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: andyk

When did Blanco handed over authority to the feds? Did this caused the delays for the red cross?
Did the Louisana emergency management agency/Louisiana state homeland security purposely kept aid from the Superdome to make a political statement that FEMA doesn't work?

When did Blanco hand over her National Guard to federal authorities? Bush tried on August 26 but she refused to hand over authority. Was it September 1 when she declared martial law in New Orleans? Was that the whole region?

If she didn't hand over authority to the feds then she created a bureaucratic red tape nightmare.


17 posted on 09/08/2005 2:23:22 PM PDT by Milligan (Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead!)
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To: ravingnutter
With lousy reporting like this, no wonder people are blaming Bush for the delay. We oughta get them to print a correction.

This wasn't lousy reporting. It was indeed very clever reporting. Just look at how carefully that bit was worded -- implying that it was the fedgov that was responsible for that decision, but without actually saying so outright. Hence, no need for a correction, and the propaganda continues.

The entire article is a masterpiece of propaganda.
18 posted on 09/08/2005 3:26:58 PM PDT by sonjay
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Fellow Freepers:

At the suggestion of writer Michelle Malkin last Friday, I have cobbled together a blogsite called Texas Clearinghouse for Katrina Aid to serve as a clearinghouse for refugee efforts in Texas.

Texas is getting more refugees than any other state -- that's fine, we'll take them all -- but we need help providing them with food, clothing, medicine, and shelter. We need help taking care of their pets, too.

If you are a refugee, you can information that will help you find relief. If you want to donate or volunteer, you can find someone who needs you. Believe me, there are a lot of organizations who need your help.

Right now the site mostly covers Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas but I'm adding more every night. My wife was down at Reunion Arena in Dallas Tuesday handing out care packages and spiritually ministering to the refugees as a representative of her employer. She says that the situation is tragic and that there's a lot of work to be done. There are so many children who don't know where their parents are or even if their parents are still alive.

There are a lot of churches and other organizations in Texas that need help in dealing with the problem and I would appreciate it if you would get the word out.

Many thanks,

Michael McCullough

Stingray blogsite

19 posted on 09/08/2005 3:50:36 PM PDT by DallasMike
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

From the Red Cross site:

Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?


Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

The Red Cross has been meeting the needs of thousands of New Orleans residents in some 90 shelters throughout the state of Louisiana and elsewhere since before landfall. All told, the Red Cross is today operating 149 shelters for almost 93,000 residents.

The Red Cross shares the nation’s anguish over the worsening situation inside the city. We will continue to work under the direction of the military, state and local authorities and to focus all our efforts on our lifesaving mission of feeding and sheltering.

The Red Cross does not conduct search and rescue operations. We are an organization of civilian volunteers and cannot get relief aid into any location until the local authorities say it is safe and provide us with security and access.

The original plan was to evacuate all the residents of New Orleans to safe places outside the city. With the hurricane bearing down, the city government decided to open a shelter of last resort in the Superdome downtown. We applaud this decision and believe it saved a significant number of lives.

As the remaining people are evacuated from New Orleans, the most appropriate role for the Red Cross is to provide a safe place for people to stay and to see that their emergency needs are met. We are fully staffed and equipped to handle these individuals once they are evacuated.


20 posted on 09/08/2005 4:19:56 PM PDT by combat_boots (Dug in and not budging an inch. NOT to be schiavoed, greered, or felosed as a patient)
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To: Milligan
Did the Louisana emergency management agency/Louisiana state homeland security purposely kept aid from the Superdome to make a political statement that FEMA doesn't work?

Apparently, their argument is that they didn't want to create a magnet that would attract people, since their ostensible goal was to evacuate the city. Of course, that's a stupid excuse that holds no water, but that's what they're saying.
21 posted on 09/08/2005 5:55:18 PM PDT by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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