There's been a lot of talk recently in the forums about Hurricane Katrina. I just wanted to express my frustrations about this disaster.
New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin expressed his frustrations with the Army Corps of Engineers yesterday, in that they hadn't patched up the levees yet. Well, what does he expect? They have no money, no resources, no people. There aren't even enough Black Hawk planes to do both rescues and transport for materials to patch the levees; those that were going to transport materials are now being redirected for rescue (see article linked above). Not to mention that the Corps' federal funding has been cut, again, for the 2006 fiscal year. Indeed, that budget cut made it so that a study specifically dealing with how to prepare for a Cat. 5 hurricane would be scrapped. Good job, government.
The National Guard and the Coast Guard have been dealing as best they can with the disaster.... but they're crippled right now too. Why? Because most of their people, resources, and attention has been focused on Iraq. This is why the National Guard should never have been called out to duty in Iraq - we need them here!
The federal government's just now getting involved. What in the hell were they waiting for? People are dying and New Orleans is destroyed and it didn't have to be this bad if emergency organizations were able to mobilize more quickly, but they can't mobilize any faster because they don't have funding. Not to mention what's happening in Mississippi, cause we don't know - there's been so little communication from that area. Even the mayor of Slidell can't reach anyone outside the town (can't find the link - its somewhere on CNN, though).
This isn't just about the homes and the property damage, either. We will be feeling the economic ramifications of this hurricane for years. New Orleans is the fourth largest port in the world, in terms of raw tonnage. It's not just about the oil (which some people are already saying oil will hit $4 a gallon come this winter). Commodities will skyrocket too.
I know this isn't very cohesive, I just needed to let off some steam and frustration about the ineptitude with which this tradgedy has been handled. And its not the emergency organizations' faults. They simply don't have enough money or federal funding to have plans in place for all of this. Please, donate to the Red Cross, talk to your local emergency charities about what you can do, anything. This isn't just affecting people you don't know. It's affecting your friends, their families, even your webhosting service. It is indeed affecting the entire country.