Friday, September 02, 2005

Gee, why weren't these buses used to evacuate New Orleans?

An aerial view of flooded school buses in a lot, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005, in New Orleans, LA. The flood is a result of Hurricane Katrina that passed through the area last Monday.

Junkyard Blog want to know, too.

An angry Terry Ebbert, head of New Orleans' emergency operations, watched the slow exodus from the Superdome on Thursday morning and said the Federal Emergency Management Agency response was inadequate. The chaos at the nearby New Orleans Convention Center was considerably worse than the Superdome, with an angry mob growing increasingly violent and few options for refugees to leave the scene.

"This is a national disgrace. FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control," Ebbert said. "We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans."

Ebbert's job is to coordinate New Orleans' response to emergencies. Somebody should show him this picture and tell him to stop blaming everyone but himself:

But since no one mobilized these buses before the storm--ahem, Mr. Ebbert--since no one mobilized them before the storm, the poor in New Orleans had no way of getting out. And now the buses are waterlogged and useless. All 205 of them. They will go on the expense side of the ledger instead of the asset side. That's your fault, Mr. Ebbert. The blame rests with you, sir. You knew the city owned those buses, you knew where to get them, where to fuel them and you probably had a list of the drivers who operate them. Yet there they sit, half submerged.

One emergency manager with half a clue and a couple hundred drivers could have more or less saved New Orleans from turning into Mad Max territory. Terry Ebbert can blame everyone else all he wants, but this crisis is almost entirely his fault.

Now that National Guard and probably true federal troops will be put into New Orleans to quell the violence, and since the city is crawling with journalists and videographers, we're liable to get something on our TVs that will look like a cross between Waco circa 1995 and Tiananmen Square circa 1989. But with the added twist of a racial component. Great.

And it all probably could have been avoided with judicious use of a couple hundred school buses--those inside the frame above as well as the probably dozens of others outside it.

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