Selected comments on Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) from email lists Compiled by Ilan Kelman



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Selected comments on Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) from email lists

Compiled by Ilan Kelman (dated 7 September 2005)


disaster_grads 1

Hazardmit 41

Other Email Lists 48

SwiftH2O-News and PSDivers-PublicSafetyDiversForum 78

Other Articles 91

See also:

JISCMail archives http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/natural-hazards-disasters.html

Radix archives http://www.ecie.org/mailman/listinfo/radix

GDN archives http://listserv.tamu.edu/archives/gender-and-disaster-network.html

disaster_grads


(all messages)
From : Courtney Flint

Reply-To : cflint@uiuc.edu

Sent : September 2, 2005 1:58:52 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Katrina
Hello all,

I've been surprised by the lack of dialogue on our listserve about the tradegies occurring in the Gulf States. Seems like this should be a forum for putting together a collective set of ideas about what went horribly wrong in managing this event, where we go from here, and how the disaster field of practitioners and researchers can respond. Any thoughts?


Courtney

Courtney G. Flint

Univ of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dept of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

1023 Plant Sciences Laboratory

1201 South Dorner Drive

Urbana, IL 61801-4778

Telephone: 217-244-1840

Fax: 217-244-3469

Cell: 217-714-6012

EMail: cflint@uiuc.edu

From :

Reply-To : cstalber@mitigation.com

Sent : September 2, 2005 2:29:09 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina


I can say the same thing about the Hazardmit list (see http://www.mitigation.com/mailman/listinfo/hazardmit). Hurricane Katrina should be a wake up call for re-emphasis of hazard mitigation and most specifically hazard avoidance. Are we going to fund yet another rebuilding initiative in the high hazard zone? The once 'cornerstone of emergency management' has falled by the wayside. Why? The war on terror? Or is it that we have reversed course and returned to the notion that we can both control and predict nature? Should we permit the USACE to strengthen and heighten all the levees around New Orleans? Where is the political will to bring about serious hazards avoidance? Will the US taxpayers not living in the high hazard zone be willing to once again subsidize the few who choose to live in the high hazard zone? The massive recontruction effort that follows major disasters is an unparalleled opportunity to redesign an otherwise vulnerable society in a sustainable manner, which ! includes hazards avoidance. Is anybody with any political clout going to advocate for the long view?
- Christian Stalberg, Hazardmit Moderator

From : Kathleen Oberst

Reply-To : Kathleen.Oberst@hc.msu.edu

Sent : September 2, 2005 2:37:46 PM

To : ,

Subject : RE: Katrina


Hi Courtney, My personal belief is that it is inappropriate to say that things went "horribly wrong" in managing at this point. It is easy to be an arm-chair emergency manager however we are not on the ground having to implement the plans that presumably existed and having to react to the ever changing environment. The media is likely not as interested in reporting on things that are working well since that will be less likely to draw in viewership so I don't believe we have complete stories. This situation is also far from over.
There is no doubt that this will be a tremendous learning experience that unfortunately will have a large human toll in terms of mortality, morbidity, displacement not to mention the remarkable economic and societal ramifications both on-site and in receiving areas of the country. This is and will continue to be a test of many systems that up to this point had seemed to be the best options on paper or even in exercise scenarious (which are still artificial and planned). I don't think disaster management will ever be an exact science and we do the best we can with what we have at the time and make notes for how to better the process for the future.
Just my personal opinion. I look forward to seeing how this impacts our field, especially 'mitigation' in the years to come. Thanks for the note.
Kathleen, RN, MS, PEM

From : Cheryl Chang

Reply-To : Cheryl Chang

Sent : September 2, 2005 2:45:14 PM

To : cflint@uiuc.edu, disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina


What do you mean by "what went horribly wrong in managing this event?"
Phrases like that are interesting in that sometimes they can serve as an indication of the expectations a person may have with regard to a situation. Obviously, I have absolutely no way of knowing what your expectations are and my reply is not an attempt to reveal and judge what those expectations are.

However, that phrase did inspire the following questions:


- how can we presume that we can "manage" such a widespread event? How realistic are our expectations?

- how can we live in the context of these naturally-occuring events so that we can mitigate negative effects in the future?

- how are we labeling what happened?

- what are our individual definitions of "manage?"

- what are our ideologies/values/world views around our relationships to weather, climate, etc.?
To me, it's important to ask and answer questions such as these because, whether we realize it or not, the values that we hold and the meanings we attach to words and events very much influence what actions we take in reponse to these words and events.
Cheryl Chang

Rockledge, Florida

From : Earl Lee

Reply-To : leee7@rpi.edu

Sent : September 2, 2005 3:13:03 PM

To : ,

Subject : RE: Katrina
Courtney and all,
You use of the phrase "went horribly wrong" is exactly what this forum isn't for. What this forum serves best is the needs and knowledge transfer among academics and many other organizations in first of all learning from this. I do apologize if this seems poorly worded or organized but your post deserves an immediate response.
We should be looking at what went right - the courage of the mayor in declaring the evacuation - how big of a political scapegoat would he be if people had left and nothing happened.

What about the long view - who has ever written the plan for the long term evacuation of a major American city? Who will be there for the cleanup? Who will re-inhabit the homes and businesses? What are the long term health effects from the flooding - what heavy metals, fecal material, chemicals, etc now permeate the structural materials of the remaining buildings? What about emergency management - the response to the chemical plant fire and explosion this morning was in police boats. What will fire and other emergency response be in the weeks and months ahead? How much of the city could be lost due to fire during restoration when power comes back yet firefighting resources and water may still be in short supply.


Courtney - I have to say this is the first time and hopefully the last that I see that phrase in this forum. What are we doing? We are doing what we do best. We are preparing proposals to fund the research to learn and assist with this horrible event. We are supporting the efforts of those at the scene with our hopes, prayers and donations. This forum will serve as the sharing point for information in the weeks and months ahead.
The forum for the arm chair quarterbacks that point fingers is found elsewhere..
I apologize to all for the emotion in this ...but it had to be said...
Earl Rusty Lee

Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

110 Eighth St. CII 5107

Troy, NY 12180
(518) 276 2759

From : Runte, Eduardo Frederico Augusto

Reply-To : o681j@unb.ca

Sent : September 2, 2005 3:17:51 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina


Hello folks,
I agree with the comments you all made so far. I do not think something went "horribly wrong" in the New Orleans area. First, it is a region prone to hurricanes, it is not the first one, and certainly not the last one. So, this is in line with the question raised by Christian Stalberg: "Are we going to fund yet another rebuilding initiative in the high hazard zone?". Unfortunately, I think the answer is yes. Why? Because hazard is just one of the things in people's minds. After all, the area in which New Orleans is located is a beautiful spot.

The other point was raised by Kathleen: what are our expectations? The dams were built to stand a hurricane 3 - just as the World Trade Center towers were built to stand a small airplane collision - but if that threshold is surpassed, well, there's not much we can do.

The one thing I see wrong with much of the US disaster planning in general is the over reliance on the military, and when all eyes and troops are directed to Iraq and Afganisthan, there is not much manpower left to take care of domestic situations.

I was also displeased to see the use of the superdome as a shelter - it is too big and poses serious management problems. With the capacity of hosting over 30k people, it is like a small city, with all the problems of a small city.

The disaster tells something about ourselves as well. If you read Pres. Bush's talks about the whole situation, "maintaining the law" (which translates as "securing property") is often mentioned before "taking care of people". Should the government be spending money at all with trying to control gangs invading houses when there Are people dying of starvation?

Eduardo


--

Eduardo Frederico Augusto Runte

MA Candidate - Department of Sociology

University of New Brunswick

ICQ: 31826219

MSN: efarunte@hotmail.com

From : Tim Hundsdorfer

Reply-To : timh@ucar.edu

Sent : September 2, 2005 3:27:20 PM

To :

Subject : RE: Katrina
You people are sick. Blame the victims. Don't accuse the incompetent swine that have let Black New Orleans suffer for FIVE DAYS without an attempt to re-establish order or get them food and water, that would be unfair. Ignore the fact that Congress had cut funding for levees for the past four years. Instead, let's talk about how the victims (1/3rd of whom live in poverty) didn't evacuate or live in high risk places.
Ridiculous.

From : Ilan Kelman

Reply-To : ilan_kelman@hotmail.com

Sent : September 2, 2005 3:30:23 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina


What do you mean by "what went horribly wrong in managing this event?"

Where to begin? I give a few examples:


1. Emergency responders from different jurisdictions could not communicate due to different equipment. Have you read the 9/11 report?
2. Hundreds of water rescue specialists were attending a conference in New Orleans last week and were told to evacuate on Friday. A major hurricane is about to strike a low-lying city and you tell the experts with the equipment, training, and experience to get out?
3. People have been working for ten years (or more) to get specialist water rescue as a core part of flood emergency response and, in particular, to get them to pre-deploy (safetly) to the crisis area. You don't need a PhD to work that one out, yet it has not happened. 48 hours after impact, one water rescue team was told to drive for two days to get to New Orleans while on-site rescuers were short of boats which were sitting in a warehouse in Boise. Why was there no pre-deployment? Why were there apparently minimal thought that flood rescue would be needed?
4. On Friday, most major airlines cancelled flights from New Orleans leaving people stranded. They then flew their aircraft and crews to safety--completely empty of passengers.
5. Academics and practitioners have been warning for years that New Orleans was vulnerable to this event and explaining what to do about it. Plans were not prepared properly, were not updated, and did not factor in the issues that people were warning about. Do a literature search and look at who was talking to the practitioners and the authorities. The amount of work which was going on at an operational level and which was ignored is frightening.
6. Plenty of literature and operational plans exist regarding pets in disasters. The lessons are not apparent from New Orleans.
7. Plenty of literature and operational plans exist regarding shelter after disaster. Every single rule has been broken--in a developed, affluent, industrialised country.
8. Hurricane Andrew taught emergency managers significant lessons regarding post-hurricane operations. Few were implemented in New Orleans. I append below someone else's message to another listserve.
9. Someone asks "who has ever written the plan for the long term evacuation of a major American city?". What have the past four years of DHS and counterterrorism been about? Are you trying to tell me that in planning for dirty bombs and mini-nukes, no one considered that a major city might be unihabitable for weeks?
10. Someone else wrote: "The dams were built to stand a hurricane 3". Hurricane categories refer to wind speed. Factors such as atmospheric pressure, wind fetch, and coincidence with high tide are better correlated with storm surge height than wind speed. If the dams were indeed built with a view that they might blow away in the wind, it is no wonder that they failed under water pressure.
I have barely scratched the surface. There is plenty more that I could write. This is not about armchair emergency management. This is about the operational reality from those with field experience: what was known, what could have been done, and what was not done. This listserve is about both good and bad practice, about the people who died because of incompetence, and about what we should be doing to avoid making the same mistakes for the fifth or fourteenth time.
Let us admit what happened and what did not happen. Let us admit the mistakes which were made and the good practice which was witnessed. This time, let us turn "lessons learned" into "lessons applied".
Ilan
--------------------------
Having been an emergency manager in Florida for the last 20 years. None of these problems are new. None of them could not be expected. All of them were lessons learned from as far back as Hugo, and Andrew. The lack of communications, the lack of food and water are well understood. The lawlessness was seen after Andrew. What has happened is a lack of understanding those lessons learned and then building operational systems capable of responding to those problems. This is not a planning issue or a legislative issue it is an operational issue.
There was a long piece on the news about police officers not knowing what to do when their radios went out. That happened in Andrew and can be planned for and then carried out. I created for my old jurisdiction for multi-departmental task forces around the city that included fire, police, EMS, public works and public utilities vehicles and personnel. When the winds stop without orders from anyone these task forces begin to move down the streets toward the center of the city clearing streets and dealing with problems as they move. This was not my idea someone else had already thought of it.
If you have ever seen a shelter during a hurricane you could have predicted the problems in the Superdome. It was too many people with too few shelter managers, law enforcement, EMS, medical personnel and National Guard to support it. Regardless of the flooding or any of the other problems there should have been help to them by now. It is about operational command and control. The running of an EOC during these events can be chaotic if good command and control procedures are not implemented to grab control the chaos. With a good Incident Action Plan priorities can be set and then accomplished. We have got to get better as a profession at operations if we are ever going to avoid the problems we are facing in New Orleans in the next big disaster. You can write all the plans you want but unless you can carry them out and adjust to rapidly changing conditions not in the plan the plans become useless.
Roger C. Huder CEM

From : Bryan J. Boruff

Reply-To : boruffb@sc.edu

Sent : September 2, 2005 3:48:39 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Ridiculous


Thank you "Ridiculous". There is nothing more to say.

Bryan J. Boruff, Ph.D.

Hazards Research Lab

Department of Geography

University of South Carolina

(803)777-1699


From : Ana Maria Cruz, Ph.D.

Reply-To : anamaria@drs.dpri.kyoto-u.ac.jp

Sent : September 2, 2005 3:52:43 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina


I received this message today, think it is quite appropriate at this time. My son is a New Orleans resident (and I also lived there for over 7 years) and it breaks my heart to see the poorest people of New Orleans still trapped in the city on the 5th day after the storm........a scene from a 4th world country.... we definitely need to ask questions! Tim, I am with you!
"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

by Hunter Thu Sep 1st, 2005 at 10:28:22 PDT


George W. Bush was once known as the C.E.O. President, a term his handlers eagerly coined in order to convey that the country would from now on be run like a business. That quickly evolved into the less flattering Enron President... then the War President... now it's looking like we can all finally settle on one. George W. Bush: the Disaster President.

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."


He honestly said that.

The administration specifically cut the funds to fix these specific levees, in order to specifically divert that Corps money to Iraq, despite urgent warnings and predictions of catastrophic disaster if the levees were breeched. The administration specifically cancelled the Clinton-backed flood control program to preserve and restore the wetlands between New Orleans and the gulf, instead specifically opening parts of that buffer zone for development.


Nobody anticipated this disaster? It was identified by FEMA as one of the top three likeliest major disasters to strike America. (That link, one of countless stories, was from 2001, by the way.) It has been a major disaster scenario for years. Everybody anticipated it, which makes this single statement by George W. Bush possibly the most dishonest, lying, craptacularly false thing he has ever said in his presidency -- even surpassing his now-infamous State of the Union Address. Truly, this is President Bush's blue-dress moment.
Below is a history of funding for the Lake Pontchartrain and Vincinity Hurricane Protection project. (Note: This was the levee system that broke. Due to lack of funding, major construction stopped in 2004 - the first such stoppage in 37 years.)

2004:
Army Corps request: $11 million [Link]

Bush request: $3 million [Link]

Approved by Congress: $5.5 million [Link]


2005:
Army Corps request: $22.5 million [Link]

Bush request: $3.9 million [Link]

Approved by Congress: $5.7 million [Link]
2006:

Bush request: $2.9 million [Link]


Today, Scott McClellan claimed that "flood control has been a priority of this administration from day one." The figures show that the administration has consistently budgeted far less than the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has requested for flood control in Louisiana. And over the last several years, the gap between what the Corps requested and what the administration budgeted has increased.

From : reggie mccarn

Reply-To : rlmccarn@hotmail.com

Sent : September 2, 2005 3:58:32 PM

To : boruffb@sc.edu, disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : RE: Ridiculous


Thank you ridiculous! But absurd should be used as well!!

From : Danny de Vries

Reply-To : devries@email.unc.edu

Sent : September 2, 2005 3:59:48 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina


Hi,
Is there an agreement that this forum is not for expression of our opinion or concerns? It seems entirely inappropriate to me to want to censure others for having their opinion, even if you disagree about the premise. The point was to start a dialogue and that is a good point. Apparently also very needed. If there is a concern among some on this listserv (all doing similar work) then let us discuss our points of view. If you want to learn lets at least try to have an open mind.
Also, we are talking about different things here: response, recovery, mitigation, etc. They all have their own political histories with different "rights" and "wrongs."
I have been doing mitigation research in Jefferson and St Tammany Parishes and have spoken at length with local mitigation managers and homeowners. The homes of my informants are under water. It is clear to me that mitigation funds were diverted away from Louisiana partly for political reasons, partly because of inefficiencies within the FEMA bureaucracy, and a host of other reasons. I conclude something did go horribly wrong there.
Danny de Vries

Department of Anthropology

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

From : Lively, Wendi

Reply-To : wlively@spartanburgcounty.org

Sent : September 2, 2005 4:02:15 PM

To :

Subject : RE: Katrina


I agree taking care of people should be the priority but I don't think it was looting President Bush was referring to in his statement. Instead I think he meant controlling those persons who are harming other people in their desperation more than the looting element. If you can't land medical and evacuation helicopters because they are being shot at you can't help the people without first bringing about some semblance of law and order. I agree with you about the superdome as a shelter it was too large and has incorporated all the problems of a city as you stated. I also believe New Orleans will be rebuilt, not only is it a beautiful area but has become a historical attraction as well as an art and cultural attraction with sentimental attachments in the minds of many Americans, not just those who live there. For these reasons alone I think it will be rebuilt regardless of the disaster risks in the area.
Wendi J. Lively

From :

Reply-To : AdventureErik@aol.com

Sent : September 2, 2005 4:16:21 PM

To : timh@ucar.edu, disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina


Hello to everyone, I am writing this from South Louisiana. I am in my last month of medical school and am a masters student in Complex Emergencies at Tulane. I am currently working at a hospital helping evacuees. Having sat in on many of the LA Dept of Emergency Planning meetings and assisting in evacuation plans of two hospitals in New Orleans, I can say that this is no surprise. I became involved with hurricane response plans in South Louisiana about 2 years ago and from the beginning I was told that the city would be underwater, there would be looting and evacuation problems. Further, a time frame of 10 months was given for clean-up. I can only speak for the small window of the response that I am involved in, but the hospital I am at is fully operational and receiving patients. We are getting restocked with supplies and have power. That is quite impressive to me. I am seeing a difficulty with transportation. Critical patients are getting airlifted and sub-critical people are being bussed. However, there are a lot of people that are still waiting for transport to a hospital. I am looking toward the next stage, disease prevention. Does anyone here work on transportation issues post-disaster? I'd be interested in reading some work on that matter. Thanks!

Erik

www.AdventureErik.com


From : grv@sfu.ca

Reply-To : "grv@sfu.ca"

Sent : September 2, 2005 4:17:31 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: katrina

I have to agree with Ilan. The danger inherent in New Orleans has been prevalent for a long time, with dykes, previous instances, etc. If people choose to ignore the warnings and stick their heads in the sand regarding preparedness then that is their prerogative. I'm not surprised at what has happened in terms of looting, rape, assault, etc. Human society ahs broken down in New Orleans and underscores the fact that peopple CANNOT rely on the government to take care of their every need.
I think that this will be a focal point for addressing future emergency management and preparedness. It serves as a prime example of what will happen when the next terror attack happens, or the next hurricane/tornado/earthquake hits. hopefully it motivates individuals and community-level groups to seek the information on how to protect themselves, how to organize effectively, etc. There will obviously be fallout at the local, state and federal levels over who screwed what up; the best thing that can be done is to take the results of this disaster and learn from it. Do the research on what went wrong, who should have made decisions; take the

time to prepare yourself with a 72 hour kit, fill up your gas tank, have an escape route planned.


greg

From :

Reply-To : AdventureErik@aol.com

Sent : September 2, 2005 4:24:58 PM

To : wlively@spartanburgcounty.org, disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina


Hello again...I believe that people not evacuating was a major factor. Now,. poverty and an inability to flee was the main reason that people stayed. Again, as in my last post, I mentioned transportation issues post-disaster being a problem I see now. I know that NOLA did offer free bus rides out of town and pick-up for rides to the shelters. I think that there were just not enough busses. I believe that adequate transportation is a bigger factor than I had previously believed. I have focused much of my study on treatment of patients and protection of the hospital facilities. All this is for nothing if the people can't get a ride. I hope I can find some people doing some work on transportation and they can advise some literature to read on this! Thanks!

Erik


www.AdventureErik.com

From : Shane Townsend

Reply-To : shane.townsend@gmail.com

Sent : September 2, 2005 4:25:30 PM

To : anamaria@drs.dpri.kyoto-u.ac.jp

CC : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina

"One who knows the Mississippi will promptly aver - not aloud, but to himself that ten thousand River Commissions, with the minds of the world at their back, cannot tame that lawless stream, cannot curb it or confine it, cannot say to it, go here, or go there, and make it obey; cannot save a shore which it has sentenced; cannot bar its path with an obstruction which it will not tear down, dance over, and laugh at."

--Mark Twain "Life on the Mississippi"

I guess we put much more faith in our "pro-growth" society than in either history or its storytellers, .........................or maybe our esteemed president just skipped American Lit that day.

Shane Townsend

From : David M Simpson

Reply-To : dave.simpson@louisville.edu

Sent : September 2, 2005 4:18:29 PM

To : ,

Subject : Re: Katrina


when people are dying from lack of resources (food, water, medical), and they are not even part of the search and rescue effort, but rather collected in a gathering place, something is still horribly wrong. I have been fielding numerous press inquiries about how effective the response has been. Initially I was willing to admit that this was unprecedented and something for which we don't necessarily drill. However, there has been time to take action- more than just fly over it, and say "golly." The response thus far is a failure. I'm sure we'll figure how and why things didn't work as time passes. I just hope we can devote the same effort to discovering how to make things work better for the next time (who knows, maybe next month).
Dave

__________________________________________


David M. Simpson, PhD, AICP

Director, Center for Hazards Research and Policy Development

Associate Professor

University of Louisville

School of Urban & Public Affairs

426 West Bloom Street

Louisville, KY 40208
502-852-8019 voice

502-852-4558 fax

dave.simpson@louisville.edu

http://hazardcenter.louisville.edu


From : Runte, Eduardo Frederico Augusto

Reply-To : o681j@unb.ca

Sent : September 2, 2005 4:37:03 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

CC : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina
I still defend we should not be using the adjective "horribly" when referring to what happened. By that I mean that none of the points Ilan mentioned bear anything extraordinaire about them to grant the adjective. Is it bad? Yes, it is very bad, it is very sad that people are losing their lives. But, lack of communication due to technological mismatch, that seems to be the rule rather than the exception. No care for pets? Same thing. Favouring engineering solutions? That's what we are all about, it seems.

One of the posts calls politicians "swines". Typical - yes, let's ignore the role of the politicians so engineers can rule the world. Ilan also makes a comment that relates to the strenght of the dams which concerns to me since I was the one who brought it up. Please read the following quote from www.newscientist.com:


"Although bolstered by rock and concrete walls, the levees are essentially dams of compacted earth. They are not intended to withstand water flowing over them, so the Corps built them high - 6 m along the Mississippi river and about 4.5 m along Lake Pontchatrain, which is normally lower than the river. They were designed to

weather a Category 3 hurricane, and in 1965 they survived Category 3 Hurricane Betsy."


If the report is wrong, then, my mistake. In any case my argument remains valid: engineering solutions are not permanent (in face I would argue that there are no permanent solutions), dams collapse, rivers overflow, airplanes fall, and so on.
I do have another question though. In the sociology of disasters there is a well established notion that says looting and anti-social behavior is very rare (even though they always say "but it can happen in a few situations). I wonder to which point this notion was carried out too far, if disaster managers assumed it would never happen.
Eduardo

--


Eduardo Frederico Augusto Runte

MA Candidate - Department of Sociology

University of New Brunswick

ICQ: 31826219

MSN: efarunte@hotmail.com

>Date: Fri, 02 Sep 2005 14:04:27 +0000

>From: "Ilan Kelman"

>Subject: RE: Katrina

>To: cflint@uiuc.edu

>

>Dear Courtney,



>

>>I've been surprised by the lack of dialogue on our listserve about the tradegies occurring in the Gulf States.

>

>A fair point, but just to let you know, other listserves have been overwhelmed with messages, some of them quite angry. It is all that some of us can do to keep up with the information flow, never mind put together >something coherent.



>

>Nonetheless, you are right to raise the issue and to take action. Would you >be willing, through disaster_grads, to try to develop a one-pager of what >went wrong and what could be improved? Thanks for considering,

>

>Ilan


From : Courtney Flint

Sent : September 2, 2005 4:48:13 PM

To : Ilan Kelman

Subject : RE: Katrina


Ilan,

Thanks - I'll try to put something together for comments soon - maybe a focused question for the group.

Could you possibly send some of the links to the lists that are buzzing? I'd love to find them - others might too.

Thanks


Courtney

From : Bryan J. Boruff

Reply-To : boruffb@sc.edu

Sent : September 2, 2005 4:56:44 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : re: Katrina


Can we use appalling, because that is what this scenario is?
Bryan J. Boruff, Ph.D.

Hazards Research Lab

Department of Geography

University of South Carolina

(803)777-1699

From : Shane Townsend

Reply-To : shane.townsend@gmail.com

Sent : September 2, 2005 4:58:58 PM

To : dave.simpson@louisville.edu

CC : devries@email.unc.edu, disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina
I am from the Gulf Coast originally and have worked in other disaster recovery efforts as well and a common theme (often more of a contributing factor than either transportation or poverty) is a complacency (as supported by Burby and Godshalks work) and especially in impoverished areas a belief that disasters are Acts of God (major argument of a book by the same name).

As far as the local government is concerned: Local officials rank hazard mitigation just behind distribution of pornographic materials in terms of issues that most affect their communities Godschalk (I believe) found in a nationwide survey of local governments.

I've also seen the "gulf coast culture of the hurricane party" firsthand and it is neither a joke nor is it rare. Of course not everyone is on the beach with their coolers, but in areas that are repeatedly hit with low-mid intensity hazard events there is a machismo about waiting out the storm predicated on their past ability to do so with little problem, "I was here through Frederick and Elena and Ill be here through this one. And let the government tell me otherwise" (Of course they forgot about Cat. 5 Camille, or they weren't there yet) . Complacency and arrogance do not, of course, account for all or even most of the decisions regarding evacuation, but they are reality and a veces they are the deciding factors. All the free transport in the world will not make a man that doesn't believe it necessary or wise leave the home he's spent his life building or buying, that's what community outreach and education can come in, but I suppose there's not much funding for that either. We do love our disaster response don't we.

Shane Townsend


From : Kim Carsell

Reply-To :

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:09:11 PM

To :

Subject : RE: Katrina


Eduardo -
You bring up an interesting point that I have been wondering about.
"In the sociology of disasters there is a well established notion that says looting and anti-social behavior is very rare."
I wonder if this is a misconception on our part - or if perhaps this comes from antiquated research. Maybe this is a changing society in which looting and anti-social behavior should be expected? Or perhaps that literature did not take into account large urban areas? And where is the line drawn between looting and scavenging for food, water, and supplies? Maybe the media is exaggerating the looting problem?
I don't know, but I have been rolling these thoughts through my mind and am interested to know what others think.
Kim Carsell, CFM
P.S. I read early on about an EOC that collapses and 35 people had to swim away. Anyone know anything else about that?

From : Christine A. Bevc

Reply-To : Christine.Bevc@colorado.edu

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:14:08 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : NOTE FROM MODERATOR: READ IMMEDIATELY

Disaster Grads,
Due to the recent traffic, I would like a take a moment, as the moderator of this list, to ask you to take a moment and read this e-mail.
First, I would like to remind everyone about the purpose of the Disaster Grads listserv. "Disaster Grads is an e-mail listserv for informal discussion and information sharing among undergraduate and graduate students who do research in the area of hazards and disasters." This is the appropriate forum for you to discuss your thoughts concerning recent and ongoing hazards and disasters.
Second, the reactions and discussions on this listserv and not unlike those that are taking place on other discussion lists at this very moment. However, things can very quickly degrade and I would like to take a moment to pass along some words from a fellow moderator.
"This disaster is unlike anything we've had to cope with in the US before. It has clearly effected EVERYONE. I, too, find myself angry with what is being reported, with what I know could have been done, with what should be done now and isn't. I have to remind myself that I'm in a position to have some perspective. Most of those down at the command and control, ground zero level don't have that luxury.
Frustration is understandable, but don't let your emotions take control, and let's not use this as a forum to attack each other.
Let's keep an open and spirited discussion going."
Third, in an effort to continue the discussion in a more professional manner to which you all have demonstrated in the past, I am implementing a series of guidelines/etiquette to keep in mind and the rules of conduct for the list. These will also be posted on the website later today for future reference.
Guidelines To Keep in Mind When Sending a Message to Disaster Grads

-------------------------------------------------------------------


1. When responding to the list, keep your message brief.
2. Include a portion or summary of the message you are responding to, but don't forward the entire message.
3. Stick to the topic of emergency management.
4. Have an opening and closing in your message.
5. Be careful when using humor in your message.
6. Don't send a meaningless message with no content, such as "I agree."
7. Identify yourself. At least provide your first and last name, as well as your academic affiliation.
8. Avoid flaming individuals on the list. If you have a conflict with an individual, send your comments to the offender directly by private email message.
9. Don't be critical of people's queries posted to the list. Remember that we're here to learn, share, and grow through this communications forum.
RULES OF CONDUCT

----------------


Disaster Grads subscribers...
...will not post any communications that are normally considered libelous, defamatory, false, obscene, indecent, lewd, pornographic, violent, abusive, threatening, harassing, or disruptive, or that may constitute grounds for civil liability.
...will not to request contributions for political candidates or solicit attendance at partisan political events.
...will not to use false, misleading, or duplicative addresses in order to disguise the destination of any content transmitted through this service.
...will not to forge headers or otherwise manipulate identifiers in order to disguise the origin of any content transmitted through this service.
...will not to upload, post, email, or otherwise transmit any material to the best of my knowledge that contains software viruses or any other computer code, files, or programs designed to interrupt, destroy, or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment.
...will not to upload, post, email, or otherwise transmit any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, junk mail, spam, chain letters, pyramid schemes, or any other form of such solicitation.
...will not to upload, post, email or otherwise transmit any copyrighted or proprietary information, personnel records, or other information restricted from public dissemination without proper authorization as provided by law.
...will understand that failure to observe these rules and to conduct myself with appropriate etiquette will result in remove from the Disaster Grads listserv.
Any complaints should be directed to the moderator, Christine Bevc, at christine.bevc@colorado.edu. DO NOT COMPLAIN TO THE LIST.
If need be, I will begin to actively moderate the postings. This means, that any postings will need to be approved by the moderator before they are distributed to the list. I would hate to have to do this, however, I will if it comes down to it.
Sincere regards,

Christine


--

Christine A. Bevc

University of Colorado - Boulder

Graduate Student, Department of Sociology

Research Assistant, Natural Hazards Center

482 UCB


Boulder, Colorado 80309-0482

Phone: (303) 492-0428

Fax: (303) 492-2151

christine.bevc@colorado.edu

http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/

From : Ilan Kelman

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:23:19 PM

To : cflint@uiuc.edu

Subject : RE: Katrina
Hi Courtney,
The main ones which I am trying to keep up with are at:
http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/natural-hazards-disasters.html
http://listserv.tamu.edu/archives/gender-and-disaster-network.html
http://www.ecie.org/mailman/listinfo/radix (based on http://online.northumbria.ac.uk/geography_research/radix)
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/SwiftH2O-News (extremely high volume)
There are others, but I am getting better information from the above than from the media.
Sorry that you had to endure the personal attacks from the ignorant people who responded initially to your posting. I am glad to see that many more came to your defence. Take care and let us see if you we could turn the situation into something constructive,
Ilan

From : Lu, JC

Reply-To : lujc71@yahoo.com.tw

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:15:40 PM

To :

Subject : Satellite images Re: Katrina


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Attachment : aug31neworleans.jpg (0.33 MB)

The following web address provides the updated satellite images of new

orleasns and other impacted areas.



http://www.digitalglobe.com/katrina_gallery.html

From :

Reply-To : cstalber@mitigation.com

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:21:50 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina


Well said Danny. No one here is apathetic towards the victim's plight. Disaster avoidance lessens the need for response, just as a sound foreign policy can obviate the need for preemptive wars. Given our short attention spans, when the disaster is before us is the time to discuss all facets of the disaster so as to maximize the learning opportunities.
Having worked in disaster recovery and hazard mitigation for state and local government, FEMA and now as an independent consultant, I can tell you that at the end of the day, it always comes down to trade offs and compromises. It is rarely either/or. The realities of short-term thinking that is endemic in our culture, politics, arrogance towards nature, technocracy, private property rights and the rest have created the vulnerable environment in which we find ourselves today. That said, we can discuss whether to rebuild and if so, where and what and to what extent. We need to start working towards sustainability with a view towards the future, even while we consider historical and cultural preservation. The ethics of perpetuating a hazard to be inherited by future generations needs to be discussed.
- Christian
From : Grist, Robert

Reply-To : rgrist@water.ci.portland.or.us

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:21:56 PM

To : "'shane.townsend@gmail.com'" , dave.simpson@louisville.edu

CC : devries@email.unc.edu, disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : RE: Katrina


Hi, all!

I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the postings to date and I'm glad to see so many people talking about the issues. It should have some long lasting effects for our profession. At least no one will ever be able to say they don't know what "Emergency Management" is all about! Every local jurisdiction should be asking itself "what would we have done differently if (or when) it happens here?" Maybe emergency management budgets won't get cut or departments relegated to basement offices - out of sight, out of mind!

Our citizenry still function under the "Disaster Denial Paradigm" that says:

Nothing is going to happen!

If it happens, it won't be as bad as they said it would be!

If it happens and it is as bad as they said it would be, it won't happen to me!

If it happens and it is as bad as they said it would be and it happens to me, then someone has planned for it and they are on their way to help me!

Lots of freedom - no responsibility! And my favorite quote of all that I use to describe my profession to my colleagues: "Emergency Management is a simple process of pounding in the right screw with the right wrench."


Bob Grist, MPA, CEM

Doctoral Candidate

Hatfield School of Government

Portland State University

Portland, Oregon
From : Lively, Wendi

Reply-To : wlively@spartanburgcounty.org

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:24:30 PM

To :

Subject : RE: Katrina
I have also seen the eastern coastal culture of the hurricane party in SC. Beaufort and Charleston areas especially and I agree this comes from a history of riding out less damaging storms and the people tend to think “ahh it’s not so bad” but then a serious storm hits and the attitude changes at least it did in SC after Hugo but then more storms come, more common weaker ones, and the “machismo” as you stated begins to build back up and people think once again they can ride it out.
Wendi

From : Lively, Wendi

Reply-To : wlively@spartanburgcounty.org

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:31:01 PM

To :

Subject : RE: Katrina


I have been wondering about the looting as well and am glad others have brought it up. I remember reading some research on a nightclub fire and I do not have it in front of me to give the authors name or the title.

In this article the author stated that as chance of escape or rescue dwindles and the fear of death increases the propensity for anti-social behavior rises. Does this mean that as has been stated this disaster is different from those that went before or does it simply mean that this one was so severe and the people who have been stranded in a livingnightmare for FIVE days have hit the point of desperation and anarchy?


Wendi

From : Runte, Eduardo Frederico Augusto

Reply-To : o681j@unb.ca

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:33:18 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : RE: Katrina


Kim,
I don't have the book right with me here, but I remember an article by H. Quarantelli (Methods of Disaster Resarch, Xlibris) in which he said the DRC wouldn't go on repeating their own research (perhaps I misread it). If that is the case, since DRC was and is the leading disaster research center in sociology, once it was established that looting was rare, they didn't deal with it anymore. So, yes, it could be a case of outdated research.
There is a second point, though, which are the qualifications that were added to all analysis regarding looting and anti-social behavior, the most basic of which is that social order must be maintained throughout. But here we have an "egg and chicken" type of situation. If ones reads the sociology disaster literature naively, one gets the idea that emergency managers should not bother with law enforcement, for instance.

Again, I say that that would be a naive reading. Even if law enforcement agents are performing other tasks (helping people leave their houses and so on), their presence is an indicator of order and normality. If what we read in the papers is accurate, then we can assume that there was a break down of social order - in which case anti-social behavior was likely to arise.


The third point is that the sociologists who argue that looting and anti-social behavior are rare in disasters often also partake in the tradition of distinguishing between disasters and catastrophes. However, catastrophes are less understood, from a social-scientific point of view, since they are rarer. If one argues that what happened

in New Orleans was a catastrophe, then one must assume that the rules that applied to disasters were not necessarily valid.


Finally, it could be that the media is exaggerating, but we will find out sooner or later.
Eduardo
--

Eduardo Frederico Augusto Runte

MA Candidate - Department of Sociology

University of New Brunswick

ICQ: 31826219

MSN: efarunte@hotmail.com


From : Mauro Messina

Reply-To : mmessina@co.iredell.nc.us

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:38:33 PM

To :

Subject : RE: Katrina


As an aside I wanted to solicit commentary about the media's effort to reference those who are being evacuated from the impacted area as "refugees." I'm not familiar with this characterization being applied to disaster survivors. More often it is "evacuee." My general association of this term is with those who have fled oppressive governments or threatening nations. I'm curious why we have chosen to use this term in this way and more importantly, how this may impact the treatment and disposition of those who are evacuees in the short and long term.

Mauro Messina


From :

Reply-To : susancamille@cox.net

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:45:59 PM

To : ,

Subject : RE: Katrina


Hi everyone,
I am working directly with the Office of Rep. Brasso in St. Bernard Parish. The situation here is a lot worse than the news is reporting. My environmental non-profit has turned into a medical relief office. We have no medical supplies. Other areas throughout the state have contaminated groundwater and refugees are being brought to these areas that also lack electricity. I see many of you have written and I thank you for your concern, although I have no time to read your letters. Where is the federal government and red cross?
If you want to donate supplies or funds, our organization, Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) are getting medical and food supplies directly to St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parish victims, two of the most inundated areas. You can visit our website www.leanweb.org or mail a check or supplies to 162

Croydon, Baton Rouge,LA 70806.


Thank you for your support,

Camille Manning

Environmental Consultant

Louisiana Environmental Action Network

225-225-0856

susancamille@cox.net


From : Runte, Eduardo Frederico Augusto

Reply-To : o681j@unb.ca

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:47:54 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : RE: Katrina


Hi Mauro,
I would believe it has to do with the lenght of time one has to be away from home. I think this is an implicit acknowledgement that these people will not be returning for a while - if ever.
I wouldn't be able to tell if the choice of words is conscious or not, though.
Eduardo
--

Eduardo Frederico Augusto Runte

MA Candidate - Department of Sociology

University of New Brunswick

ICQ: 31826219

MSN: efarunte@hotmail.com

From : Shane Townsend

Reply-To : shane.townsend@gmail.com

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:50:30 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina
There are inumerable causes for complex emergencies that would create a refugee population. By definition a complex emergency involves more than one type of hazard event, often draught and civil war for example. I dont know exactly where the line is drawn but if the health issues that threaten actually come to be reality, it may be considered a complex emergency of sorts, especially when considering the lawlessness, violence, flood water, lack of governments ability to function, disease, etc. and as a result people will be seeking refuge and therefore would be refugees. The media havent thought this far in advance though I doubt, its more of a matter of sensationalism for them to grab the 30 seconds of attention and compete with other global disasters. As Americans, we dont like to think of our people as being refugees, but if we forgot for one moment that the footage and fotos were in New Orleans and were perhaps on the continent of Africa, well of course we's call them refugees. But this is home...... its different.

shane


From : Runte, Eduardo Frederico Augusto

Reply-To : o681j@unb.ca

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:55:42 PM

To : wlively@spartanburgcounty.org

CC : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : RE: Katrina


Hi Wendi,
I think the research you're referring to is published on
Disasters, collective behavior, and social organization / edited by Russell R. Dynes snd Kathleen J. Tierney. Newark : University of Delaware Press ; London ; Cranbury, NJ : Associated University Presses, c1994.
If I'm thinking the same article, yes, there seems to be a threshold - as I mentioned in my earlier reply, as long as there is a perception of order maintained (and with that comes a perception that "we will survive"), anti-social behavior is less likely to emerge - at least that's what all the research says!
Eduardo
--

Eduardo Frederico Augusto Runte

MA Candidate - Department of Sociology

University of New Brunswick

ICQ: 31826219

MSN: efarunte@hotmail.com


From : Earl Lee

Reply-To : leee7@rpi.edu

Sent : September 2, 2005 5:56:14 PM

To :

Subject : RE: Katrina


Remember folks, it was once said that history is a story written by folks that weren't there...and the news is the first draft...
We don't get the truth ...or the facts....we just get the "news"
Earl Rusty Lee

Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

110 Eighth St. CII 5107

Troy, NY 12180
(518) 276 2759

From : Runte, Eduardo Frederico Augusto

Reply-To : o681j@unb.ca

Sent : September 2, 2005 6:04:42 PM

To : boruffb@sc.edu

CC : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : re: Katrina
Hi Boruff,
I suppose you're directing that remark at me, so I'll reply to it.
Not ever did I try to deny the huge problems faced by the people of New Orleans (and other places affected). You can use the word appalling, or any other one you want.
You might want to go back to the original message though, and see that the question was "what went horribly wrong in managing this event?", so it's a specific question about the managing of the situation.
>From the reports we are getting and the comments from other members of the list, it seems that their response plan was based on wrong assumptions and overconfidence. Saying that things went "horribly wrong", in that case (although I do not think that was the intention of the original message), is diverting responsiblity from managers. It can be understood as "we did the best that could be done, but it was just too much to cope with", whereas it seems clear that they did not do their best.
Sorry if you understood something else - again, never did I mean to say that the situation wasn't bad.
Eduardo.
--

Eduardo Frederico Augusto Runte

MA Candidate - Department of Sociology

University of New Brunswick

ICQ: 31826219

MSN: efarunte@hotmail.com


From : jerichob@juno.com

Reply-To : jerichob@juno.com

Sent : September 2, 2005 6:05:21 PM

To : mmessina@co.iredell.nc.us

CC : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : RE: Katrina

Responding to Mauro Messina's comments regarding the use of the term "refugee," I was also thrown by this. Normally, refugees are those who cross an international boundary (e.g. those who go from Sudan to Chad to escape the Janjawid, or those who went from Ethiopia to Sudan to escape famine). The definition in my dictionary (Webster's) is "one that flees to a foreign country to escape danger or persecution," so it's not necessarily political. But it wouldn't seem that someone going from Louisiana to Texas could be called a refugee. In fact, there is a very complicated politics around applying the term "refugee" at all, which seems to have been completely disregarded in this case. In "developing countries" the term that is usually applied to people who have to relocate within the same country is "internally displaced person" (IDP), but perhaps that is too jargony for the popular media. "Evacuee" makes much more sense. If anyone sees any discussions about this anywhere,! could you point them out?


Jericho Burg
Department of Communication

University of California, San Diego


From : Joseph E. Trainor

Reply-To : jtrainor@UDel.Edu

Sent : September 2, 2005 6:19:30 PM

To : ,

Subject : RE: Katrina


Hello all,

I am Joe Trainor, Projects coordinator from the DRC. I just want to take a moment to thank Christine for the call back to the professional flavor that this exchange is intended to provoke. I would like to submit that idea everything we do in the disaster research field is "Monday morning quarterbacking" we have the benefit of hours, days, and years of reflection on decisions made in the midst of very difficult situations. We often times suggest if not outright condemn practitioners for not heeding our advice. I think that this perspective can be seen in many of the e-mails today.

The trick is to do our work in a way that is constructive. I challenge the idea that we should not look to the mistakes made. It is apparent that many things have not gone as well as most would like. The question should be how do we understand and improve these issues. For example I would like to challenge the individuals who have made lists of literature suggesting we have created answers that are not implemented to recite the corresponding practitioner perspective on the same issues. Time and time again we complain about how our research findings are not employed yet we often times disregard the many practical, political, and social barriers to plans that are most often simplifications of very complex situations.

As a note regarding the looting issue mentioned in one of the previous messages, I think that in our application of these finding we need to understand what the literature says and understand the context in which it was written. This perspective comes from sociology and asks the question is looting "widespread". The answer in the literature is that it is not widespread in most circumstance. Remember that in this description "looting" a grocery store for food doesn't count nor do other materials vital to sustaining life. It might also be instructive to look at a study by Quarantelli regarding looting that did occur in saint croix. Where the pre disaster political and social stratification created conflict that expressed itself in the post-disaster environment. If you look closer the issue is that these findings are being taken out of context and generalized beyond a reasonable interpretation. This often happens with scientific findings as they are applied.

FYI- The paper on the night club is Norris Johnson's work on "the supper club fire" for more on this toip look to the DRC website preliminary publications for an good review of panic in disasters by Ben

Aguirre.


From : Runte, Eduardo Frederico Augusto

Reply-To : o681j@unb.ca

Sent : September 2, 2005 6:26:05 PM

To : jerichob@juno.com

CC : mmessina@co.iredell.nc.us, disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : RE: Katrina
Hello Jericho and Mauro,
If you take a look at what TheFreeDictionary.com (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/refugee), going from one country to another is just one of the possibilities.
However, I took a look at what the same dictionary says about evacuee and evacuation, and it seems to be a difference in usage between the two terms. From what I gather, "people are evacuated" (by means of military force, or whatever) but "people take refuge", so it seems, in this context, that refuge is a pro-active measure, while evacuation is a reaction-type response.
But I could be off on this one, since English it's not my first language.
Eduardo.
--

Eduardo Frederico Augusto Runte

MA Candidate - Department of Sociology

University of New Brunswick

ICQ: 31826219

MSN: efarunte@hotmail.com


From : Runte, Eduardo Frederico Augusto

Reply-To : o681j@unb.ca

Sent : September 2, 2005 6:29:57 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : RE: Katrina


Hi Joseph,
Good to hear from you guys. Is anyone from the DRC in the field?
Eduardo.

--


Eduardo Frederico Augusto Runte

MA Candidate - Department of Sociology

University of New Brunswick

ICQ: 31826219

MSN: efarunte@hotmail.com

From : Grist, Robert

Reply-To : rgrist@water.ci.portland.or.us

Sent : September 2, 2005 6:30:28 PM

To : "'jerichob@juno.com'" , mmessina@co.iredell.nc.us

CC : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : RE: Katrina
It could also be a perspective issue . . . If the people are LEAVING your jurisdiction, you might call them "evacuees." If they are COMING into your jurisdiction, they might appear as "refugees." (Similar to "emigrant" and "immigrant.") I don't think they care which label we put on them – their needs are just as great.
Bob Grist, MPA, CEM

Doctoral Candidate

Hatfield School of Government

Portland State University

Portland, Oregon

From : Shane Townsend

Reply-To : shane.townsend@gmail.com

Sent : September 2, 2005 6:38:24 PM

To : disaster_grads@lists.colorado.edu

Subject : Re: Katrina


Jericho has a point though.

No matter what the dictionary says, in the practice of international humanitarian assistance and more specifically dealing with humanitarian law, (internationally speaking) a good many of these displaced persons rights are dependent upon the Refugee designation specifically (i.e. immigration, granting of political asylum, etc.)


shane

From : Joseph E. Trainor

Reply-To : jtrainor@UDel.Edu

Sent : September 2, 2005 6:47:35 PM

To : ,

Subject : RE: Katrina


As of today we are not in the field yet. We are working through funding channels and developing our plan. Pending approval we will be mobilizing shortly. Especially in this context we are taking pains to be very precise and selective in what we are going to look at, where we are going to travel to and how we are going to gain entrée. After we return I will post a message to let everyone know what we have done.

That being said we do have some reports from India and Sri Lanka on our website.

Joe

From : Mauro Messina

Reply-To : mmessina@co.iredell.nc.us

Sent : September 2, 2005 7:04:23 PM

To :

Subject : RE: Katrina


Responding to Bob and the "refugee" discussion-
You are correct, those needing assistance are certainly not concerned with their label- at this point, but I wonder if they or we should be. The label we assign to an object reflects our perception of that object and in turn influences our interaction with it. I'm only raising the question of how using a term that is typically associated with those fleeing countries for war, political, or religious reasons might influence our treatment of those in need. Not to sound glib, but they may as easily be labeled "homeless." Would this change the way we perceive their situation? Will the duration of our desire to extend assistance to those in need be affected by what we label them? That is my question. Maybe not.

I don't intend to split hairs or belabor the issue. In times where the choice of words are so closely watched politically, I find it interesting that we so quickly latched onto this descriptive. Are government officials using this term?


Mauro

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