September 07, 2005

Mandy Reports Again From Houston

Mandy says: so many of the people were so grateful

Mandy says: thanking us

Mandy says: and a lady asked, "why did it take you so long to get to us?"

Mandy says: i think i actually heard my heart breaking in that second

Ryan says: I imagine they're kind of bewildered and in shock.

Mandy says: yep

Mandy says: and want some kind of stability

Mandy says: and we can't really offer that yet

Ryan says: Seeing what you're seeing, can you understand at all why the response took so long? I'm trying to get a feel for what it must be like, but in Minnesota I may as well be on Mars.

Mandy says: i can't understand why food/water wasn't dropped

Mandy says: other than that, there are so many fucking people

Mandy says: and it takes time to mobilize what was/is needed

Mandy says: i do know there is NO way to evacuate 1.4 million in 2 days

Mandy says: I-10 was a parking lot heading into houston on sunday

Mandy says: took people 15 hours to make a 5 - 6 hour trip

Mandy says: no one could have prepared for this though

Mandy says: and my conviction is even stronger for people to shut up about all of it

Ryan says: Don't hold your breath.

Mandy says: ya know? get down here & look at these people in the face & see ALL of the people volunteering for DAYS on end

Mandy says: criticize after the fact

Mandy says: i spent 6 hours at the astrodome yesterday & walked away emotionally/mentally exhausted

Posted by Ryan at September 7, 2005 12:04 PM | TrackBack

"Mandy says: i do know there is NO way to evacuate 1.4 million in 2 days"

Ryan, I swear I'm not trying to be a troll, but this is just utter b.s. Other countries have done it, specifically Cuba. They had about 2 1/2 days of a fairly defined track coming their way. On September 11th they adjusted their watch and warning zones when Ivan was a Category 4. On September 13th the eye of Ivan passed over the tip of Cuba when it was a Category 5.

"Macareno credited Cuba’s evacuation program for ensuring no one died. He said nearly 1.9 million of the nation’s 11.2 million people — rather than the 1.3 million earlier reported — were evacuated before Ivan struck"

"According to Salvano Briceño, Director of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, “the Cuban way could easily be applied to other countries with similar economic conditions, and even in countries with greater resources that do not manage to protect their population as well as Cuba does.”"

You may not agree with their politics, but they did something right.

Posted by: Melanie at September 7, 2005 04:26 PM

I can't be sure whether Mandy was referring to the days leading up to the hurricane, or the levee breach aftermath. I tend to think the latter, but I can say for certain.

Posted by: Ryan at September 7, 2005 04:56 PM

Considering her next two comments -

"Mandy says: I-10 was a parking lot heading into houston on sunday

Mandy says: took people 15 hours to make a 5 - 6 hour trip"

I'd have to disagree with you.

Posted by: Melanie at September 7, 2005 10:24 PM

As I said, I can't be sure until Mandy gets back online to clarify. However, I still think she's referring to Sunday, Sept. 4, not Sunday, Aug. 28. I only say that because of the woman she mentioned who asked why it took so long to get to her. At any rate, this is all just speculation until I hear from Mandy again and get the scoop.

Posted by: Ryan at September 8, 2005 10:22 AM


I guess the 6 separate firsthand accounts I received from people who were there on I-10 on Sunday (evacuating) should all be ignored. A guy I work with was picking up his daughter from Tulane & it took him 13 hours to get back to Houston. Another lady I work with has people (her former neighbors from NOLA) in her house that took 14 hours to get from NOLA to Houston. You can disagree all you want, but I am here in Houston with many survivors and I tend to believe the people who were actually there & living it versus someone who I am guessing is not anywhere near what was/is going on.

Posted by: Mandy at September 8, 2005 11:15 AM

Here's the thing . . . I'm not disagreeing that they were stuck in traffic (I was using that to pinpoint your timeline). You completely ignored my first comment I think.

What I'm disagreeing with is the idea that there's no way we could have evacuated all those people in 48 hours. Like I said it's been done before. I'm so tired of people saying it couldn't have been done. It's bullshit and it gives every level of government a pass on this. And that's just wrong. There were fuckups from the top-down and from the bottom-up.

No I'm not currently where the devastation is, but I have family there. And I currently live in The Bahamas where we have to deal with hurricanes every year. I know how scary it is. I've been through it. My beef is that people just give up and say there's no way those people could have been evacuated. It's just not true.

Posted by: Melanei at September 8, 2005 11:58 AM

Is it physically possible to evacuate that many people? I honestly don't know. What I do know is it was impossible to get the people of New Orleans to evacuate. Over 10,000 would not budge after days of rescuers taking people out of the city. This was when they knew the power was still out, the water supply was contaminated, and there weren't supplies and food in their city.
The majority of people that I spoke with at the Astrodome only sought shelter after their homes flooded when the levees broke. A lady told me she had 18 feet of water in her house in minutes and that is when she decided to head for the Superdome. No threat of a hurricane or a mayor telling them to leave was going to make them leave.

Posted by: Mandy at September 8, 2005 12:24 PM

I'm in so upset about it, I can't even spell my own name.

Or give examples of how the evacuation could have gone better:

For a long time the highways out of the area only had two-lanes of four-lane roads for outgoing traffic. Where were the officials directing traffic and telling those people to drive on at least on of the other lanes? People took it upon themselves to eventually drift over (from first hand accounts of my family there.)

Greyhound bus service shut down on Saturday.

Empty planes flew out of the airport.

At least 200 school buses are sitting under water, unused.

All of these instances are unacceptable.

Posted by: Melanie at September 8, 2005 12:52 PM

No threat of a hurricane or a mayor telling them to leave was going to make them leave.

That's a serious advantage that Cuba has. When they say to get out it isn't like the people have the option to say "no".

Posted by: Jim at September 8, 2005 01:33 PM
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