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Author Topic: How much can we take?
abbubmah
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Video of New Orleans on June 15th

It's been almost a freakin' year. We are supposedly the most civilized nation on the planet, with the best technology. Look at the news from the middle east - even when they get the crap bombed out of them, somebody comes along with a bulldozer and cleans it up so people can build again.

This place is a sewer. And don't get the idea that this is an isolated spot in the video. Southwest LA, New Orleans, everything south to the mouth of the river, and lower Mississippi all looks like this.

So, instead of cleaning up, FEMA is in charge of paying too much for too few contractors, who never finish the work. The longer it takes, the more they get, though... The regulations on what to do with what have the cities' and state's hands tied. We can send money to the Middle East for humanitarian aid, but we have more people displaced here, and hundreds of square miles of devastation that is beyond the scope of local authorities' ability to clean up.

This is embarrassing. The UN has called the USG to task about it.

We are a bunch of idiots, led by a bunch of idiots. No way around it.

Visiting politicians and celebrities are horrified at what they see, rather than a few bits on the news, it's overwhelming. Yet, no one seems to be able to get anything done. We have people living in TENTS 11 months after the storm, for crying out loud.

Your tax dollars at work.

I'm sick.

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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Canuckistan
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That is disgraceful, hambubba. No other word for it.

I think criminal charges should be investigated for those who were in charge of the "recovery" effort. Some sort of criminal neglect seems applicable here.

That looks like a warzone. Absolutely shameful.

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People need to stop appropriating Jesus as their reason for behaving badly. It's so irritating. (Avril)

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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Thank god "Brownie" was doing a helluva job - it could have been even worse [Roll Eyes]

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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Sara at home
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Our government is broken.

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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Signora Del Drago
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Yeah, Christie, thank DOYC for "Brownie." [Frown]

I am embarrassed for our country and cannot begin to imagine the agony of the people living along the Gulf Coast. Unbelievable.

Hambubba, what part of Louisiana do you live in? Has nothing to do with the topic, but Louisiana is where my Daddy was born, and some of my cousins still live, so I'm just curious.

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"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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This will probably ruffle some feathers, but here goes:

Why do you sit on your hands and indefinately wait for the government to fix it. Sure they should do it, but they are obviously not, so why wait?

Roll up your sleeves, grab some tools, fix up your own house. Then fix up the street in front of it. Then look around and help those neighbours who can't do it themselves (old, sick, pregnant, whatever). When your neighbourhood is fixed up, see if there is some other neigbourhood that needs help, gather up some friends and get to work. Soon enough, the city will be as good as new (hopefully better, as it probably wasn't that good when it was brand new).

Then you don't vote for the guys that did not help out as they should, and hopefully you'll get some help the next time.

That's how you built your country, why is it so impossible to rebuild it the same way?

That's how it's done here (actually, the government actually steps in here, but we jump in to help as soon as possible anyway), and it works fine for us.

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/Troberg

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Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Troberg, that might work in an ideal situation, but many of the people affected by Katrina do not have the means to jump in and do it all themselves, nor do those who might be able to fix their own property usually have the means to fix a neighbor's house.

I do agree that we should not vote for those politicians who failed so miserably.

I'm glad for your country that your government usually steps in and hope they do a good job for your citizens.

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"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

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tootiredtocare
Deck the Malls


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The issue is that New Orleans neighborhoods that need to be rebuilt often have a lot of enviromental damage that makes it hazardous for ordinary people to rebuild. We are talking tons of mold that sicken people unless they are wearing surgicarl garb. Add in all the tons of garbage that is not something your average person can dispose of. You have to huge crews come in and do it. Also a lot of houses they have to be completely torn down. You do realize that takes a long to rebuild right? Also a lot of people want to build homes that are more flood resistant. Houses that are more off the ground or were built to have their lower floors flooded then just swept out. No real prescious things but stuff you can easily replace say plastic furniture or even stone furniture.

Do you know how much lumber and other building material now costs in New Orleans? It's not cheap. Add in trying to get the utilities you need which is another issue. It's not cheap to build houses in New Orleans. Any building material has to be brought in from far away. My sister once lived in a house built from a barge.

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abbubmah
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quote:
Originally posted by Signora Del Drago:
Hambubba, what part of Louisiana do you live in? Has nothing to do with the topic, but Louisiana is where my Daddy was born, and some of my cousins still live, so I'm just curious.

::OT:: I live in Gonzales, just south of Baton Rouge. You may be interested to know that we moved here from Tulsa. ::/OT::

Regarding Troberg's post - many areas that were damaged were populated by people who didn't have the means to more than just survive, let alone rebuild. We're talking about lack of insurance, too. The uproar immediately following the storm, with the accusation of preferencial treatment for whites, comes from the fact that many of the areas affected WERE poor, and mainly black occupied. Not all.

As for pitching in - if you look on a map, New Orleans, typical of south louisiana, is isolated by water, with only about 6 major roads into the city. No one outside the area lives close enough to make after-work trips to help. There is no temporary housing. None. The hotels that have reopened are too expensive for someone to stay on a limited budget. So, the only "helpers" that are coming into the city are those who are being paid, and given a place to stay.

Even with insurance people are squabbling over settlement. I know of more than one person who has not recieved an insurance settlement, and is still paying a monthly payment for the slab the house used to sit on.

The flood insurance pays only the portion of the house that is flooded, did you know that? Say, the first 5 feet. Homeowners is supposed to take care of the rest. So, flood condemns the downstairs of a house, depreciates the value, and leaves the homeowner with an unusable 2nd story. Or, homeowners' insurance won't pay for water damage caused by flooding, even if the house isn't in a flood zone. Or, homeowners' won't pay for water damage from flooding because flood ins. is supposed to, but they don't pay because it was above the "flood level"... it's nasty. So nothing gets done, there aren't enough contractors, or supplies. But yet, these piles are allowed to sit. Trailers are empty. 6 out of 100 in a park occupied? Please.

And, like tootired posted, there is the problem of waste hazards. Bulldozers, piles, fire...

..oh, but that would be against the local burning ordinance... silly me.

ETA: Troberg, did you WATCH the video? There is no house to live in, in most cases, let alone "fix up".

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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First of Two
The Bills of St. Mary's


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Just out of curiosity, how long does it usually take to "clean up" after a major hurricane? Say, Andrew, which was about 1/2 as destructive as Katrina?

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"Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for western civilization as it commits suicide." - Jerry Pournelle

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abbubmah
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Andrew didn't cause widespread damage. Other than signs down, trees, and roofs, it wasn't anything like Katrina. For one thing, it moved inland farther west, and the storm surge wasn't nearly as strong. Most of the damage in the lower part of the state is actually from storm surge from Katrina and Rita, not so much wind.

We were in the eye of Andrew, and lost a few shingles. We got nothing from Katrina (50 mi. east of us) but wind. We almost got flooded from Rita (170 mi. west of us).

Andrew was also, I believe, a cat 3 at landfall, and also made landfall in a very less populous are of the state. Most of Andrew's damage was in Florida.

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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This site states that 9 months passed between Andrew and the starting of
quote:
any major replanting efforts
So, I would imagine that the most crucial aspects of rebuilding were at least well-underway by that point.

ETA: Andrew was upgraded to a Cat 5 after it made landfall, due to speed of winds at landfall]

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Cervus
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quote:
Originally posted by First of Two:
Just out of curiosity, how long does it usually take to "clean up" after a major hurricane? Say, Andrew, which was about 1/2 as destructive as Katrina?

Andrew wiped the city of Homestead completely off the map. There was nothing left. The media only focused on Miami, and it wasn't until the next day that they realized what had happened to Homestead.

We had friends living with us for nearly a year while they fixed their Miami home.

Andrew, for its time, was the most costly storm in history. I was 12 and living north of Miami at the time; I think it took about two years for things to become "normal" down there (well, as normal as Miami gets).

The monkeys that escaped from Monkey Jungle, however, are still loose.

I have more personal experience with Frances, Jeanne, and Wilma. Frances and Jeanne hit in fall of 2004, and both made landfall almost directly over my parents' house. Nearly two years later, many people still have blue tarps on their roofs and are awaiting insurance settlements or new pool screens. Businesses are back to normal and debris has been cleaned up, but the missing trees are still evident.

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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Sara at home
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Wasn't the poor response to Andrew by Bush I's FEMA the reason Clinton built up FEMA only to have torn down by Bush II?

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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abbubmah
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Yes... Bush II didn't exactly tear it down so much as turn it into a self-perpetuating helpless bureaucracy, and pre-retirement agency for everybody's buddies.

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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MisterGrey
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by Little Red Cervette:
[QUOTE]

The monkeys that escaped from Monkey Jungle, however, are still loose.


OK...you cannot end a story there. The words "escaped monkeys", "still loose", and a ten-year-plus time lapse demand elaboration.
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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by Little Red Cervette:
The monkeys that escaped from Monkey Jungle, however, are still loose.

Check Chris Griffin's closet.

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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lynnejanet
Happy Holly Days


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That is unbelieveable.

Does anyone know if services are even restored to the area? I noticed power lines that were trailing on the ground, and porta-potties. It would appear that there is no electric power, water or sewers. If there isn't, I doubt anyone is even allowed to live in the area, yet.

It's pretty hard to "grab some tools" and get to work building yourself a new house if you don't have any tools, building supplies are unavailable or at a premium, you have no building experience, there's no power for your tools, and you can't get a building permit.

What a nightmare.

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lynne"insert appropriate punny phrase here"janet

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abbubmah
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I saw a news article on TV last week that said their water system is leaking over 1 million gallons a day. And they don't have the resources to fix it.

Power is only being restored to occupied buildings.

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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lynnejanet
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by abbubmah:
Power is only being restored to occupied buildings.

In the video, it looks like the infrastructure for electrical power isn't even repaired yet. I can't even imagine the hell those people are going through.

Are there any reliable figures for how many people have simply given up and left the area? I'm thinking of the fortunate few who were relocated and provided with temporary homes in new cities. It wouldn'tsurprise me if many families don't return, ever. I wonder how hard it would be to track them down.

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lynne"insert appropriate punny phrase here"janet

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Ana Ng
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I've been talking about this lately in relation to the Queens blackout. Hurricanes and blackouts are not nuclear holocausts or famines or what have you. They've been around for a long time.

The fact that thousands of people were in NYC without power for a week is terrifying. The hurricane Katrina thing is a million times scarier. What if there's a real catastrophe.

Troberg, I think also a lot of it has to do with the means of the average American. Sadly, the middle class has all but disappeared and I know hardly anyone that would come through a sickness or something similar financially intact. Had it been my family and friends down there, I don't see any of us being able to build back up in a timely fashion. Sad but true. [Frown]

I really, really, really couldn't see Billary letting anything like this happen. I pine for him like a woman whose husband's at sea. If Bill were back, everything would be okay. Al save us!

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My great grandfather planted that tree!

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abbubmah
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quote:
Originally posted by lynnejanet:
Are there any reliable figures for how many people have simply given up and left the area? I'm thinking of the fortunate few who were relocated and provided with temporary homes in new cities. It wouldn'tsurprise me if many families don't return, ever. I wonder how hard it would be to track them down.

Reliable? Who knows. These figures, however, seem to be realistic.

Note the 94% decrease in St. Bernard Parish. It has basically been declared uninhabitable, for the most part. I personally think the Baton Rouge population has grown more than the figures state. I think there's 20,000 more CARS on the roads there...

I live in Ascension Parish, not mentioned in the linked article, but we have grown by approx. 20K. The new schools that were built for projected growth over the next 10 years are now overcrowded. Every cow pasture is a housing development, and if I were to sell my house, I couldn't afford a place to live anywhere in this area. It's nuts.

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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Astra
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I live over the Mississippi border. My county's population has tripled in size. The same thing has happened in Hattiesburg, MS. The only people left in parts of southern Louisiana are those with enough money to rebuild, those too poor to leave, and those hanging in like bulldogs hoping everything works out.

I drove through St. Bernard Parish - it's like a ghost town. There are handfuls of small groups of FEMA trailers here and there. The whole trip, I saw maybe two people outside. The largest population seems to be workers cleaning up the oil pipelines and the surrounding equipment. The towns are just dead. Stuff still hangs in the trees like it is September 1st. Very creepy.

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This has been yet another... USELESS POST.

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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The US is not the kind of government that feels responsible for helping to clean up after natural disasters. Why? Because that's the way Americans like it. For the past sixty years, we have fairly consistently voted for administrations that think a government that does less means more for all. So why should you be surprised that the government does little or nothing after a disaster?

Don't just complain. Vote. Or, do as Troberg suggests but, having lived in an area of a natural disaster that killed thousands and destroyed half of a major city, I have to recommend the kind of government that actually does something in the event of an emergency. I also found that rolling up your sleeves and getting to work helps a lot too but, as far as I can tell, Americans have never needed anyone to tell them to do that. I'm sure that's what people there are doing but, without any leadership or funds, it takes a lot longer to get the ball rolling.

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abbubmah
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But Ganzfeld - the government, via FEMA, HAS taken complete control over the disaster areas. You can only do what they allow, no matter how willing you are to help. After being told from the outset of the disaster that untrained volunteers are not welcome in rescue efforts, to the regulations ergarding rebuilding, and the total mismanagement of emergency funds, no one in this area has much trust in FEMA, or the government, and the willing volunteers ave significantly decreased in number.

The next disaster will result in a FEMA cash card of $500 per family, and ONLY will be issued if the affected state pays 25% of that. Which may or may not be workable. So, federal dollars paid once, now state tax dollars pay again?

Double taxation. For less. The consensus here, really, outside of the New Orleans area, is that people won't depend on the government for rebuilding or help. They will do the same way they always have. Start with nothing. Cameron in SW LA is a prime example. You hear NO whining from that area, and the city was destroyed.

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I have to throw my hat in with Troberg, as distasteful as it may be to some of the folks in Louisiana.

Secondly, let's talk about scale... There were hundreds of thousands of people that were displaced... and now every last one of them wants to be the first ones back on their feet with a damned McDonalds down the street, a Wal*Mart down the block, and every bit of infrastructure back on line YESTERDAY, DAMMIT!

Sorry, but lots of the people there are going to be disappointed. Not everyone can be first. It bothers the hell out of me to hear stuff like this. There has to be a prioritized list of things to do, and they will NOT meet the average person on the street's expectations.

Bah... Live in a minefield and then bitch when a mine goes off... I'll never understand... [Roll Eyes]

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Opinions aren't excuses to remain ignorant about subjects, nor are they excuses to never examine one's beliefs & prejudices...

Babies are like tattoos. You see other peoples' & they're cool, but yours is never as good & you can't get rid of it.

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Astra
The "Was on Sale" Song


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So Malruhn, where exactly is this prioritized list? I know I certainly haven't seen one.

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This has been yet another... USELESS POST.

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abbubmah
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We're not talking about getting back to life as normal... just heading that direction, Malruhn. A well-organized, and yes, prioritized effort by somebody who actually knows what to do would have gone a long way towards resolving a lot of the problems.

No, we can't stop disasters from happening. But we SURE can respond to US citizens' needs better than we have been. Throwing money overseas for "relief efforts" sounds good, but when we can't even do that on our own soil, what's the point?

I don't expect the USG to bail everybody out and build them all new houses; that's unrealistic. Meeting basic needs for housing, helping to rebuild infrastructure - that's what FEMA is supposed to be doing. Those of us who live in this area don't expect much government help if we have another major hurricane. And I think the consensus is, we don't want the kind of "help" that's been given so far.

Like Sara said earlier, "our government is broken".

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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tootiredtocare
Deck the Malls


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It should also be noted it is extremely hard to rebuild when the infrastructure for doign so has been destroyed utterly.

The entire economy of the Southeast has been pretty much been devastetated by Katrina. Seafood has to be imported into the area as well as a lot of food.

Most businesses got wiped out. Tourism was a major revuenue source.

Guess what rebuilding takes a lot of work and if the area doesn't have the resources the rebuilding isn't going to occur.

All materials, workers have to come in from elsewhere. Doesn't exactly help that those hired by the goverment are the same guys overcharging and fubaring in Iraq. Lots of mercenary types also in New Orleans add in a lot of crime still occuring. Heck the people that could build New Orleans are the ones being deported by the INS.

You couldn't get more devasteted an area even if you dropped a nuke on the state.

It doesn't help you also had a few people such as that racist town block off the evacuation routes out of New Orleans nor allow the supplies needed for people.

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Troberg
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quote:
It's pretty hard to "grab some tools" and get to work building yourself a new house if you don't have any tools, building supplies are unavailable or at a premium, you have no building experience, there's no power for your tools, and you can't get a building permit.
(This answer applies to a lot of the responses, this quote just fitted my answer best.)

Sure. It's not easy. It is expensive to do good work. Not everybody has the skills needed. Some houses are completely gone.

Well, I don't argue that that is not the case. All that is completely true.

But, there has to be a but here:

* If you don't have the tools and materials to do a good job, MacGyver something that at least is better than what you have now and fix it later.
* Materials can, to some extent be found in the debris.
* You don't need power tools, the old fashioned way also works, although slower.
* Maybe you don't have all the skills needed. Someone has. Work with them, you can probably help them. Learn. It's not rocket science, you can pick it up as you go.
* Not all houses can be fixed. That doesn't mean that no houses can be fixed. Do what can be done.
* Even if you don't have any skills at all, there is still shoveling, lifting, cleaning and other simple work to do.
* Even if you are completely incapable of manual work at all, you could still do stuff such as coordination, planning and finding materials and tools. Work with someone who has the skills to make some easy step by step "Rebuilding for dummies" booklets.
* Money, equipment and resources may be a problem, but if you can show that you get things done, I think it would be possible to get key resources and aid from the government. It would give them a way to show that things are happening that will not cost them so much.
* Wouldn't it be possible to get sponsorship from the private sector? Couldn't it have a great PR value if some big hardware chain, tools manufacturer or material supplier could go there with a truckload or two of tools and a few specialists who helps to fix up an area? Let them bring a camera crew and make it a reality show.

Of course, no single solution will solve all problems, but fix one problem at the time, and as you have fixed some, you'll find that eventually more gets fixable until they all are fixed.

Once a few people start doing things and it works, others will notice. Once it gains momentum, it will be unstoppable.

Of course, it would also have some nice side effects, such as gaining friends and getting a strong, friendly neighbourhood community.

It's not easy, but then again, who doesn't like a challenge? If the Amish can raise a barn with hardly any tools at all, just a few friends, it can't be that impossible.

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/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
glass papaya
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by abbubmah:
But Ganzfeld - the government, via FEMA, HAS taken complete control over the disaster areas. You can only do what they allow, no matter how willing you are to help. After being told from the outset of the disaster that untrained volunteers are not welcome in rescue efforts, to the regulations ergarding rebuilding, and the total mismanagement of emergency funds, no one in this area has much trust in FEMA, or the government, and the willing volunteers ave significantly decreased in number.


Unfortunately, I suspected this. I knew people who were ready to volunteer their time to go down and help with the cleanup, even if it was just shoveling debris into a dumpster. I'll bet there were thousands across the country that were just waiting for the green light to go help. The only volunteers that were allowed to go were Red Cross people, and not very many of them were sent from here.

Disheartening. [Frown]

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
That's how it's done here (actually, the government actually steps in here, but we jump in to help as soon as possible anyway), and it works fine for us.

So which is it, Troberg? The government steps in, or you masterfully pull yourself up by your bootstraps?

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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tootiredtocare
Deck the Malls


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Pretty much any debris is toxic or compeltley trashed. The water rusted for example any metals such as stainless steel. Any pots or pans would have to be thrown out.

Any fabrics gone. Wood for example would have also been destroyed.

Sorry but most houses structures don't have building material that was able to take that sustained flooding and still be usuable.

Any wiring would have to be replaced.

Also add in the mere fact that the debris would be toxic.

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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Another reason things aren't getting done.

Politics as usual. I think Louisiana's "game" of looking the other way when we know our politicians are crooks is about at an end.

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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hoitoider
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by abbubmah:
Double taxation. For less.

I was about to post something similar reading through the thread. The government is taxing us *as if* they will provide emergency aid & clean-up after a storm. Yet they aren't, & it's easy to guess why - the money is spent on committees, bureaucrat salaries, sham contracts to friends, field trips, steak dinners, golf outings, etc. And there's really nothing the average person can do about it.

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No man has a right in America to treat any other man "tolerantly" for tolerance is the assumption of superiority. -Wendell L. Willkie

Posts: 3833 | From: Virginia | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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