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HURRICANE KATRINA: Indexed Quotations etc. | September 5, 2005

Scope | FEMA | Security | Flood Prevention | Political/Economic Fallout


Researched by Douglas Drenkow, "Progressive Thinking"

"Whatsoever you do to the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you do it to me." -- Jesus Christ

"...scenes of horror that seemed to be coming from some Third World country...This was just survival of the richest." -- Bob Shieffer

"America is once more plunged into a snake pit of anarchy, death, looting, raping, marauding thugs, suffering innocents, a shattered infrastructure, a gutted police force, insufficient troop levels, and criminally negligent government planning. But this time it's happening in America." -- Maureen Dowd

"The Superdome resembled a scene from the Apocalypse on Wednesday morning, with thousands of refugees trapped in a hellish environment of short tempers, unbearable heat, and the overwhelming stench of human waste." -- The Times-Picayune


"On Wednesday morning, running water to the building was lost -- as it was throughout the city -- making the already overwhelming bathrooms downright noxious.

"As people stood in long lines to receive rations of water and pre-made military meals, they put their shirts over their noses to block out the odor... 

"'It's chaotic, and it smells,' said barbershop owner Ted Mitchell...'That place is not fit for people to be living in.'

"'They're treating people like prisoners in there,' said Shelton Alexander as he left the Dome for the thigh-high waters of Poydras Street. 'It's so hot in there, and people are s--ting on the floors.'" -- The Times-Picayune


"Hospitals with deathly ill patients were left without power, with ventilators that didn't work, with floodwaters rising on the lower floors and with corpses rotting in the corridors and stairwells. People unable to breathe on their own, or with cancer or heart disease or kidney failure, slipped into comas and sank into their final sleep in front of helpless doctors and relatives. These were Americans in desperate trouble.

"The president didn't seem to notice.

"Death and the stink of decay were all over the city. Corpses were propped up in wheelchairs and on lawn furniture, or left to decompose on sunbaked sidewalks. Some floated by in water fouled by human feces.

"Degenerates roamed the city, shooting at rescue workers, beating and robbing distraught residents and tourists, raping women and girls. The president of the richest, most powerful country in the history of the world didn't seem to notice.

"Viewers could watch diabetics go into insulin shock on national television, and you could see babies with the pale, vacant look of hunger that we're more used to seeing in dispatches from the third world. You could see their mothers, dirty and hungry themselves, weeping.

"Old, critically ill people were left to soil themselves and in some cases die like stray animals on the floor of an airport triage center. For days the president of the United States didn't seem to notice.

"He would have noticed if the majority of these stricken folks had been white and prosperous. But they weren't. Most were black and poor, and thus, to the George W. Bush administration, still invisible...

"And when the president is so obviously clueless about matters so obviously important, it means that the rest of us, like the people left stranded in New Orleans, are in deep, deep trouble."

-- Bob Herbert


"Rotting bodies littered the flooded streets of New Orleans today and mounting violence threatened to turn into all-out anarchy as thousands of survivors of Hurricane Katrina pleaded to be evacuated, or even just fed.

"The historic jazz city has fallen prey to armed looters since Katrina tore through and it now more closely resembles Haiti or another Third World trouble spot in a refugee crisis than one of America's most popular vacation centres...

"Police units, rescue teams and even hospital workers came under gunfire today...

"People became increasingly frustrated at the slow pace of rescue and evacuation efforts a full three days after Katrina tore up the US Gulf Coast.

"Elderly people in wheelchairs braved flooded streets in search of help, and entire families were trapped on elevated highways without food or water in sweltering heat.

"'We want help,'' people chanted at the city convention centre, where thousands of evacuees were told to seek shelter only to find woefully inadequate supplies of food or water.

"Several corpses lay in nearby streets. The body of one elderly woman was simply abandoned in her wheelchair, covered with just a blanket.

"Officials feared thousands of people were killed but they could still only guess at the death toll.

"With much of New Orleans flooded and electricity cut off, hospitals struggled to evacuate critically ill patients who were dying for lack of oxygen, insulin or intravenous fluids...

"At a city airport, scores of people, many of them seriously ill, waited for flights out to shelter and proper medical care before more of them perish.

"Experts warned of another possible health catastrophe in coming days as diseases flourish in filthy, contaminated floodwaters on streets covered in garbage and human faeces...

"Nagin said between 15,000 and 20,000 survivors were still stranded at the convention centre and, with supplies rapidly running out, there were not enough buses to ferry them to shelter in Houston, as earlier promised...

"Search crews were in a desperate race to pluck stranded residents from their homes, some clinging to the roof or any spot they could find above the water line. Survivors were still being pulled out, but the corpses were left behind...

"...the biggest domestic relief and security effort in US history...

"The US Senate approved a $US10.5 billion ($A13.8 billion) emergency funding bill requested by Bush to speed help to Katrina's victims, and the House of Representatives is expected to pass identical legislation today...

"Bush said looters should be treated with 'zero tolerance'' and also urged Americans to conserve petrol...

"With several refineries on the US Gulf Coast shut, retail petrol prices soared to new records.

"Federal disaster declarations covered 234,000 square kilometres along the US Gulf Coast, an area roughly the size of Britain.

"As many as 400,000 people had been forced to leave their homes...

"Much of the city was still under several feet of water and officials said it could take a month to get the water out."

-- Reuters, as reported in "The Age" (Melbourne, Australia)


"The hellish confines stood in stark contrast to those of people nearby in the restricted-access New Orleans Centre and Hyatt Hotel, where those who could get in lounged in relative comfort. A few blocks farther away, guests were being fed 'foie gras and rack of lamb' for dinner, according to a photographer who stayed there, while the masses, most of them poor, huddled in the Dome." -- The Times-Picayune

"Lucrece Phillips' sleepless nights are filled with the images of dead babies and women, and young and old men with tattered T-shirts or graying temples, all of whom she saw floating along the streets of the Lower 9th Ward." -- The Times-Picayune

"The rescuers in the boats that picked us up had to push the bodies back with sticks. And there was this little baby. She looked so perfect and so beautiful. I just wanted to scoop her up and breathe life back into her little lungs." -- Lucrece Phillips, survivor of the Lower 9th Ward

"At the increasingly unsanitary convention center, crowds swelled to about 25,000 and desperate refugees clamored for food, water and attention while dead bodies, slumped in wheelchairs or wrapped in sheets, lay in their midst." -- New York Times

"It was chaos [in the convention center]. There was nobody there, nobody in charge. And there was nobody giving even water. The children, you should see them, they're all just in tears. There are sick people. We saw... people who are dying in front of you." -- CNN Producer Kim Segal

"Some people there [in the convention center] have not eaten or drunk water for three or four days, which is inexcusable. We need additional troops, food, water; and we need personnel, law enforcement. This has turned into a situation where the city is being run by thugs." -- Joseph W. Matthews, the director of the city's Office of Emergency Preparedness


"In the last day, 40,000 people have come through the New Orleans airport. They have either been taken to the terminal to get medical attention or to get on flights out of New Orleans.

"...The medical teams here are treating about 800 patients an hour.

"...many of these folks are in critical condition. They are plucked from hospitals or from nursing homes around the area.

"It is a constant flow of people coming through here. It is gut wrenching to see many of these people being dropped off on luggage racks, holding their belongings in trash bags. Many of them are walking barefoot along the tarmac here just hoping the catch a flight out of the city."

-- Ed Lavandera, CNN


"We're now driving on Interstate 10, and there is just an incredible scene. It looks like people are actually living on the highway.

"Some of them may be waiting to be picked-up. But I'm not exaggerating when I say probably thousands of people are just sitting on the interstate, sitting on the side of the road, and shielding their faces from the sun. It is an intensely hot day.

"Even port-a-johns have been set up on Interstate 10."

-- Chris Lawrence, CNN


"We're just a bunch of rats." -- Earle Young, 31, a cook who stood waiting in a throng of perhaps 10,000 outside the Superdome

"It's gruesome. I guess that is the best word for it. If you think about a hospital, for example, the morgue is in the basement, and the basement is completely flooded. So you can just imagine the scene down there. But when patients die in the hospital, there is no place to put them, so they're in the stairwells. It is one of the most unbelievable situations I've seen as a doctor, certainly as a journalist as well. There is no electricity. There is no water. There's over 200 patients still here remaining." -- CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta

"We still have 200 patients in this hospital, many of them needing care that they just can't get. The conditions are such that it's very dangerous for the patients. Just about all the patients in our services had fevers. Our toilets are overflowing. They are filled with stool and urine. And the smell, if you can imagine, is so bad, you know, many of us had gagging and some people even threw up. It's pretty rough." -- Dr. Matthew Bellew, Charity Hospital

"The Next Few Days Are Critical" -- American Red Cross television commercial

"...they're thinking small, man...people are dying and they're dying by the hundreds...There is nothing happening. And they're feeding the public a line of bull and they're spinning, and people are dying down here...Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country." -- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin

"...a replay of the sinking of the Titanic. New Orleans's first-class passengers made it safely into lifeboats; for those in steerage, it was a horrifying spectacle of every man, woman and child for himself." -- Frank Rich

"The whole coastal area of the state has been destroyed, virtually destroyed. It was quiet. It was eerie. It was horrible to behold." -- US Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)

"Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued." -- National Geographic Magazine October, 2004, in an eerily prescient hypothetical worst-case scenario

"...[an expert on post-disaster re-construction] compared it to the 1995 earthquake that struck Kobe, Japan, killing 6,000 people and running up more than $150 billion reconstruction costs. More than 100,000 buildings were destroyed and 300,000 people were left homeless." -- The Times-Picayune

Scope | FEMA | Security | Flood Prevention | Political/Economic Fallout

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