I got this via email today. I'm sure it will make me a popular guy by repeating it here:
Relief Worker Perspective #1:
Yesterday I chatted with a friend who had gone down to N.O. to help out for
a couple of weeks. She said the stories of rapes, beating and crime in the
Superdome were absolutely true and not to believe the current lie-beral
media stories about them having just been bad rumors that somehow got into
the press before they could be confirmed.
Shortly after arriving in lilywhite Utah, 150 or so of the refuggers opted
to go to Houston or Dallas. Watch for significant increase in crime there.
Rebuilding N.O. only makes sense if we can put a 30-feet tall wall around it
to keep the natives inside. (What prison? It's flood control!)
Another perspective from a relief worker in Utah:
Let me tell you a few things about the wonderful group of evacuees we
received here in Utah. The first plane arrived with 152 passengers. Of the
152; 10 were children. 3 of these children had been separated or abandoned
by their parents.
As these passengers attempted to board the plane, the National Guard removed
from their person; 43 handguns (it is Illegal to own a Handgun in New
Orleans), 20 knives, one man had 100,000 dollars in cash, 20 pounds of
Marijuana, 10 pounds of Crack, 15 pounds of Methamphetamines, 10 pounds of
various other controlled substances including Heroin. Upon their arrival
here in SLC, two people immediately deplaned and lit up a joint.
During the course of medical evaluations, it was discovered that parents
were using their kids to carry loads of looted jewelry (price tag still on),
and other items. One third of the people who got off the plane were angry
that they didn't get to go to Houston or San Antonio.
Over the course of the next 36 hours we received an additional 430 evacuees.
Most of these, like their predecessors had to be relieved of illegal items.
Additionally, most of them, were the owners of exceptionally prolific
criminal records, just like those in the first flight.
By the second night in the shelter, there was one attempted rape of a relief
worker, sales of drugs ongoing and a gang had begun to rebuild. When the
people arrived at the shelter, they were given the opportunity to dig
through piles of donated clothes from local church groups. Many complained
that they were second hand clothes.
The state set up a reception center with relocation assistance, Medicaid and workforce services among many assistance groups.
This past Saturday, workforce services held a job fair. 85 of the 582
evacuees attended. 44 were hired on the spot. 24 were asked back for a
second interview. Guess the others had no desire to work. Yesterday we
began relocating evacuees to be with family or friends who had agreed to
take them in as well as three to the county jail.
Now in the health arena: 4 with Aids, 15% of those 582 had some form of STD,
one case of TB, 2 Heroin withdrawals, 15 mental health admissions, one brain
tumor and 15 nursing home patients. Like everyone in this nation, I watched
as the news media blasted FEMA and President Bush for the "poor response".
While everyone on TV saw nothing but people being let down by government, I
saw people letting down people. Who would have ever thought that we would
reach a point in time that US citizens would lie around in piles of trash
complaining that no one had come to pick them up out of it.
What ever happened to people pulling together to make their circumstance
better? Why couldn't they get up and move on their own or at least just
clean up the area where they had to wait for evacuation? Why did they feel
the need to take a crap in the aisle of the superdome? FEMA did not fail
them. FEMA is not a response agency. State and local government is
responsible for the first 72 hours. But more important, we all have a
responsibility to help ourselves and neighbors.
Poverty is not an excuse to behave like animals. The rest of the Gulf Coast
did not have problems like this! Difficult situations are not an excuse to
loot your neighbor 24 hours before the storm even hits. I have always said
New Orleans was a toilet! Now everyone has proof that not only was it a
toilet, but a toilet long overdue for a flush.
Matthew Anderson, Salt Lake City, Utah
Got comments? Email me, dammit!
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