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Media Already Bashing Rita Evacuation Efforts

Natural Disasters Hurricane Rita 2005

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#1 Corwin

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 03:09 PM

This really pisses me off.  The media, especially not even the media anywhere near the hurricane, don't have a clue as to what is involved in getting more than 3 million people evacuated in less than 36 hours.....

Quote

Rita spotlights lingering weakness in emergency operations
Sat Sep 24 2005 12:14:19 ET

Bogged down by monstrous traffic jams and fuel shortages, the mass evacuation prompted by Hurricane Rita has highlighted lingering weaknesses in the US response to disasters.

Quote

Houston Mayor Bill White expressed outrage Saturday at the lack of sufficient fuel supplies along the evacuation routes out of his city that were transformed into a bumper-to-bumper caravan of misery.

National Guardsmen were obliged to go car to car filling up the tanks of otherwise stranded evacuees so they could make it to shelters Thursday and Friday before Rita hit the US Gulf Coast early Saturday.

Quote

The Washington Post said what had first looked like a carefully planned evacuation deteriorated "into a nightmare for many people who had obeyed orders and evacuated when they were asked to do so."

The New York Times was unsparing in its criticism.


I don't have anything about what the actual quotes are in the New York Times, but I'm sure it wasn't anything nice, especially given the slant of their last article involving Houston and the Katrina refugees.  The State of Texas and the local cities and counties have done an almost miraculous job.  Yes, there have been problems that need addressing.  Fuel shortages mostly.  People NOT paying attention to the evacuation plan and just leaving whenever they felt like it is another.  I don't think they could have put the contra-flow lanes into place any quicker than they did without serious risk of accidents and injuries.  As far as laying blame on the evacuation plans for the 24 people from the nursing home that died when their bus caught on fire and exploded, that is simply ludicrous and malicious.  Houston mayor Bill White was by no means "outraged" by the fuel shortages.  I know, because I've been watching the news and seeing the interviews.

Yes, there were problems that need to be addressed and will be addressed, but no evacuation has ever been done in the country on a scale this massive.  Overall, this evacuation and the planning for it were superb and extraordinary and my hat is off to everyone who made this possible, most especially to our Emergency Services people (Police, Fire, Medical).  

Corwin
"The Enemy is upon us, so Lock and Load, Brothers.  The Emperor Calls and the Forces of Chaos must be driven back.  Though all of us will fall, none of us shall fail!"

#2 nutmeg

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 03:30 PM

I see your point. But, maybe what went wrong; that which could be fixed for future disasters could be noted now while this disaster is fresh in many peoples' lives and minds. And we could still give humongous kudos to those to worked tirelessly to get a massive evacuation under way. I lived in Galveston for a number of years (Texas a total of 11 years; I know some of you are natives). Maybe we can agree that evacuations were not a matter of course before Katrina and that we can learn valuable lessons from this. But we have to be honest and call the negatives as they are in order to save lives in the future. I think cooler negative responses will prevail once things calm down a bit. And hopefully, the good things noted. I just don't remember the Gulf waters being this warm and so many things that would have remained and/or degraded into a tropical depression just roaring into the Category 4 and 5 range as soon as they hit the Gulf waters. Is my memory off?

I found an interesting article referenced at David Brin's blog about the temperature changes in the Gulf. I'll see if I can find it and post it in a new thread so as to not to divert the topic of this thread.

nutmeg.

#3 Corwin

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 03:41 PM

State and local officials are already discussing what went right, what went wrong, and where improvements are needed and making changes to plans in effect to help move people along.  And they've been doing that since before Rita hit, and just hours after the evacuation started.

Corwin
"The Enemy is upon us, so Lock and Load, Brothers.  The Emperor Calls and the Forces of Chaos must be driven back.  Though all of us will fall, none of us shall fail!"

#4 nutmeg

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 04:11 PM

Great! So there's nothing wrong with the media making note of that.

nutmeg

#5 Spectacles

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 06:21 PM

I tend to agree with Nutmeg, Corwin. No point in blaming the media for reporting criticisms that officials themselves have made. Even Kay Bailey Hutchinson said today that she thought the contraflow was not established soon enough and that this was something that needed to be addressed in the future.

All things considered, the evacuation went fairly well considering the massive size of it. But some things did go wrong, naturally, and there will be some lessons learned for everyone.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman



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