Friday, September 09, 2005

More storms on way after Katrina's destruction

As the efforts to bring aid to those affected by hurricane Katrina continues, so too does the criticism. Harry Reid, a US Senate member, said that money allocated to FEMA was not being spent correctly. The aid bill has now exceeded $51.8 billion and is likely to rise above $200 billion. The situation on the ground is going from bad to worse as the risk of disease rises. E-coli and salmonella has been found in the water supply, fires in parts of the city are still out of control and thousands still remain in temporary emergency accommodation. Electricity, telecommunications systems and sewage systems are unlikely to be rebuilt any time soon, and the scale of the disaster is overwhelming the authorities. Reconstruction may not start for many months to come.
President Bush has been criticized for not altering his holiday plans for some 48 hours following the disaster. His Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice was also criticized for insensitivity as she shopped for $7000 shoes in Manhattan as the disaster unfolded. And offers of help from many counties have been virtually ignored. Cuba's Fidel Castros' offer of 1,100 doctors and 26 tonnes of medicine and Venezuelan President Chavez' offer of 1 million barrels of petrol, $5 million in aid and 200 aid workers, have been rejected almost completely. Aid has been offered from many countries, rich and poor alike. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Thailand, hard hit by last years tsunami, have all made generous offers of money and resources. But the organisation on the ground by federal authorities has been poor.
An enforced evacuation has been put in place, but many are vowing to stay. One resident who spoke to CNN said he would defend his right to stay with force if necessary. "If they come here and try to evict me and take my guns there will be gunfire," he said. All this as soldier patrol the streets and the chaos in many parts of Louisiana continues.
The outlook for the continuing hurricane season looks bleak as a tropical storm bears down on the Florida coast. Ophelia is set to hit the east coast in the next few days with wind speeds of 102 kph and gusts of up to 120 kph.
[18:19 GMT 09/09/2005]

No comments: