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September 4, 2005

Discover America! It’s 2700 smiles wide
Posted by Patrick at 12:02 PM * 54 comments

The Observer, Sunday, September 4, 2005:

British families trapped in New Orleans last night claimed that US authorities had refused to evacuate them as Hurricane Katrina approached the city.

Although assistance was offered to US residents, British nationals were told they would have to fend for themselves. According to those who remain stranded in the stricken city, police had visited hotels and guest houses on the eve of the hurricane offering to evacuate Americans, but not Britons.

The order meant UK holidaymakers without cars were left helpless in the face of the hurricane. Some have been trapped in hotels and guest houses since the hurricane struck at 7am local time last Monday.

One family from Liverpool, trapped in a flooded section of the city, told relatives yesterday of their bewilderment when they realised US citizens would be offered preferential treatment.

Gerrard Scott, 35, spoke to his brother Peter from the Ramada Hotel in New Orleans where he has been stranded without assistance with wife, Sandra, 38, and seven-year-old son Ronan for the past six days. “Those that didn’t fit their criteria were told to help themselves. The police said they were evacuating Americans, and took away the majority.

“The British who were left all thought the police would come back, but nobody has. They have just been left,” said Peter Scott last night. Among the 30 or so people still inside the Ramada Hotel is a woman recovering from breast cancer who had been confined to a hotel room by herself because of fears over her immune system. […]

Other Britons are, apparently, stranded in the hotel. However, contact with the outside world remains haphazard.

There is a payphone in the hotel lobby, but US operators have been refusing to accept collect calls from stranded Britons.

“Some of them are just hanging up even after they have explained they are trapped in New Orleans. It’s like—what emergency?” said Scott.

Comments on Discover America! It's 2700 smiles wide:
#1 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:17 PM:

Maybe if the pay phone company put their call center in Mumbai, the stranded Britons in New Orleans would be allowed to make collect calls because the operators would be better informed and more sympathetic.

#2 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:17 PM:

Oh, only Americans get caught in emergencies? They got out the Spanish MP, who hadn't asked for special treatment. Have they thought that the tourists will make sure all of their friends, neighbors, and relatives know what happened, and then a few thousand potential tourists will then go someplace much safer? Like not the US?

#3 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:19 PM:

Unbelievable. It's this sort of thing that makes me occasionally ashamed to be American. The people who gave that order should go to prison.

#4 ::: wrye ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:22 PM:

I've heard rumors of the same about Canadians. I'll see if there's a link about...

#5 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:34 PM:

Sorry, I can't believe this. It smells wrong (pardon the pun). The entire story is "they said," except for quotes from one family (Peter Scott of Liverpool and his brother Gerald, Gerald's wife Sandra, and their son, Ronan). It's nasty, and sensational, and difficult to verify.

(If the story is true, I apologize to all involved, for myself and the rest of America.)

For the readers of this blog: Is there a Peter Scott in Liverpool, with a brother named Gerald who's on holiday? If so, what is Peter's reputation for credibility? Last and by far not least, has anyone else heard from other Britsh nationals who experienced similar things?

Brenda Kalt

#6 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:36 PM:

"Heard from"=talked to or gotten email from a person they know to whom a similar thing has personally happened.

#7 ::: Jim Henley ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:39 PM:

Serves them right for the Brits not backing us in Iraq! Hey, wait!

#8 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:41 PM:

hmm, I have seen some various things about tourists being trapped in the last few days. however not a full article on the subject.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say it's going to turn out to be worse than this.

#9 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:10 PM:

Brenda - this sounded really odd when I read it.

Among the 30 or so people still inside the Ramada Hotel is a woman recovering from breast cancer who had been confined to a hotel room by herself because of fears over her immune system

If her immune system is compromised to the point where she needs to be isolated then why would she be on holiday in the first place? I'm not saying it's not possible, or that she would be in the wrong for going on holiday, it just that it made me think huh? in a totally different way than everything else has made me think huh? over the last week.

When I think of people isolated for immune reasons who are recovering from breast cancer I think of patients who got an autologous bone marrow transplant and are in isolation for six weeks, in hospital, although I don't know if this still happens, I've been out of the medical field for several years.

#10 ::: NYer ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:11 PM:

The shame I feel is compounded daily.
Quite extraordinary, if true. If not, plenty else to be ashamed about.

#11 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:43 PM:

Georgiana - Lot's of people in transitional recovery states wind up staying in hotels if they have to travel to receive treatment, but their insurance company kicks them out of the hospital before its safe to go home. The hotel lets them be close to the hospital if they have problems. And can get there on their own. Disgusting but true.

It's not clear if the woman in isolation is British, which would be odd. If she was from rural LA, it would make more sense.

#12 ::: CalDevil ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:46 PM:

The shame you should feel is for the knoweledge that certain cities and states in our nation are so grossly corrupt and incompetently managed that even when they have decades of advance notice of the consequences, in the face of impending disaster, they are unwilling to execute the necessary evacuation of the population. All the while the assets available for such an evacuation literally go to waste in a parking lot.

That is shameful.

#13 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:49 PM:

Mm, Kool-Aid! The spin begins.

#14 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:54 PM:

Ack - I can't believe I wrote a plural as a possesive above. Maybe the fact that my blood is boiling is interfering with my proofreading skills.

#15 ::: windypoint ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:56 PM:

For Bryan, who hasn't seen anything about trapped tourists yet.

Tourists at the Superdome

#17 ::: Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:24 PM:

All those people - from the UK, Australia, Spain - why do you think they went to the convention center?

Perhaps they've had a lifetime of experience of actually trusting that their government was functional in times of disaster?

ANY middle-class (and up) American would know the cultural cues and stay the heck away from any government organized evacuation. ANY European would figure that going with the government plan would be better than trying to make it themselves.

A cultural difference. One the points at a tremendous failure of our culture. We've learned (and now, had it reinforced!) that we should never trust the government with anything that matters.

#18 ::: maria ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:26 PM:

There were some pictures on the news tonight of the first Britons arriving home, so thankfully some have got out ok.

#19 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:37 PM:

Well another reason why they went to the convention center has been detailed in the past few days regarding the fact that as tourists they did not have as much capacity to travel as people who had cars. And given that so many different forms of transportation were closed down prematurely they were fucked.

Yeah I'd seen those before, well not the spanish MP one but the superdome one. The thing I'm wondering is if in fact there was an organized situation where these people were concerned of evacuating americans over non-americans. And if so can a command to that effect be found somewhere? What I would expect the Bush administration to have done, since it sounds like them, is to issue orders to that effect in the hope of keeping illegal aliens in the dieing zone longer. And these legal tourists just got caught by accident.
In other words I visualize a situation of malice, topped with incompetence.

You know, this completely reminds me of that thread where people were talking about not going to the U.S because a tourist there was effectively a nonperson without civil rights etc. who could be disappeared on governmental whim.

I am not sure what the felicitous description of this situation is, and how to best phrase the tie-in. But there does seem to be an overarcing connection awaiting its mot juste.

#20 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:52 PM:

It's not about an order. How bureaucracies work is that most of the people assume that if they don't have specific instructions to do something, they can't do it, or it's forbidden. Most people will not do something that can lose them their job, even if it might save someone's life (and, oh, you people who go 'but I would and so would my friends', go read John Scalzi's article about being poor again -- we're talking about call centre operators here).

Much of the US has the same sort of relationship with everywhere that's not the US as the people of Hartlepool did with the French. So of course there's a tendency to help Americans first; it's only natural and they've been taught for their whole life that America is the best country in the world and Americans are the best people in the world.

You don't need orders; if sufficiently many individuals are making decisions, some of them will make terrible ones. It's probably still an isolated instance. And if there was an order, it could have been something as simple as 'we've got people from out of state trapped in there and we need to get them back to their own states'; bingo, someone interprets that wrongly and bob's your uncle.

#21 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:52 PM:

Georgiana: about the cancer patient now "in isolation" -

she might have been strong enough to travel under first-world conditions; but after days of flood conditions, no running water, no sanitation, she's now at risk from third-world problems. Dysentery, to start with.

Thus, it might help a tiny bit for her to keep away from other people.

I wouldn't be much surprised if we see things like yellow fever before this over.

#22 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:03 PM:

"It's not about an order. How bureaucracies work is that most of the people assume that if they don't have specific instructions to do something, they can't do it, or it's forbidden."

damn, the Danish governmental ministry I work for just started looking really good. Although it is true that I have never encountered a well functioning American Bureaucracy, despite two decades of residency.

#23 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:07 PM:

Bob - that's a good point. Plus she could have been taking some sort of protective medicine that she doesn't have anymore.

#24 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 04:32 PM:

The CBC is reporting dysentry in Biloxi, already.

#25 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 04:50 PM:

Much of the US has the same sort of relationship with everywhere that's not the US as the people of Hartlepool did with the French.

They're worse.

They re-elected the monkey.

#26 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 05:12 PM:

ANY middle-class (and up) American would know the cultural cues and stay the heck away from any government organized evacuation.

I'm middle class. (Or so.)

I would not have stayed away, before this.

I'm pretty sure I would now.

Though, to be honest, I'm /not/ positive I'd stay away, because emergencies? They stress me out. So decision making? It turns into lots of stressing over decisions, large and small. Someone telling me to do something, firmly? I rain blessings upon them.

Must fix this tendency.

#27 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 05:59 PM:

I'm one of those people with a badly weakened immune system, and were I a bit stronger and somewhat better supplied with cash, I'd be traveling the way it sounds like that woman did: set up a safe spot in a good hotel room. In my case I'd have a small portable air filter along with my sundry medications and immune-boosting supplements, plus the fixings for focused healthy meals at the start and end of my day. The idea is, as suggested above, that a weakened immune system can deal with some crud as long as you can get rest someplace set aside for it.

#28 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:10 PM:

The other thing is (about travelling) is we didn't know the Gulf Coast was going to be hit by a category 4-5 hurricane until Friday or Saturday of last week. So of course you're going to wind up with tourists in the city who couldn't get out on Saturday or Sunday and may still be stuck there.

While I've never been in a situation to have to be evacuated anywhere (well, accept once in a train derailment in Canada, but that was competently handled), I used to believe our government was somewhat capable. Now, I know that's not the case!

#29 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:38 PM:

Do you suppose these stranded British tourists were among the stranded tourists whisked to the head of the line of buses at the Superdome?

My sense of this story is that it is being flogged to counter the criticism that the citizens of New Orleans are being handled by the National Guard in much the same way that citizens of Bosnian Muslim towns were handled by the Serbian Army.

#30 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:43 PM:

It's still early to figure out what the real story is.

I'm surprised and relieved to find that someone was paying attention to, and making plans to evacuate, any tourists at all.

It's possible that someone was given the task of evacuating the American tourists, and someone else was given the task of evacuating the foreign tourists, and that latter person utterly screwed it up.

#31 ::: Emi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:43 PM:

On a similar note it is all over the Australian news that consular officials are not being allowed in to help our nationals (and we are even supporting the US in Iraq).

#32 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:50 PM:

I have it from the Australian Broadcasting Commission that the Australian government has been refused permission to set up a temporary consular office in or near NO to identify Australians and arrange evac and repatriation, using means provided by the Australian government. The Australian government is not likely to further pursue this matter. Unless, of course, the public outcry here, already audible, becomes deafening.

#33 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:55 PM:

The Australian government is not likely to further pursue this matter. Unless, of course, the public outcry here, already audible, becomes deafening.

More yelling and screaming needing to be done. It may eventually get through to Those On High Who Are Responsible, but probably not until the goblets of New Orleans Flood Water show up on the atate dinner tables. (I have fantasies of the Secret Service throwing waterballoons, too.)

#34 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 12:42 AM:

I can imagine reasons for setting up consular facilities in Baton Rouge, rather than nearer New Orleans, and getting people out of New Orleans without caring about details such as nationality.

Spot the flaws in such a sensible plan.

I think you have to assume now that FEMA are incompetent, and the local disaster management teams are too tired to reliably make sensible decisions.

It may turn out to be a good thing that some of the military arrived late, but that sort of relief-by-accident isn't a good sign.

#35 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 02:04 AM:

Despite a fair amount of reality-based public-spirited thinking about the disaster that I'm getting a lot of public credit for, I still cherish the fantasy that in a few moments I will wake up and New Orleans will be fine and none of this will have happened, nor could happen, because America isn't like that.

Didn't I learn, in elementary school, to recite something like We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare. . . .

Surely, this isn't a country that lets whole cities be wiped out in order to devote resources to making certain industries rich, that has evacuation plans based on the idea that it's OK for the bottom 20% to die in a natural disaster. Surely this can't be happening, can't have happened, would never happen.

And little details like refusing to evacuate foreign nationals that fly in the face of legal principles like equal protection under the law much be interpreted as eveidence that this is all a bad, bad dream?

#36 ::: Jenny K ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 02:46 AM:

"ANY middle-class (and up) American would know the cultural cues and stay the heck away from any government organized evacuation"

I second kate's response.

I'm very upset that there weren't more evacuation options available to people who did not have access to private cars, but this oversight itself does not excuse what happened afterward. (It also doesn't excuse the federal government because this became a joint responsibility the moment Bush declared a state of emergency for LA - on Sunday.)

I live in southern California and this, when I haven't been paralyzed with grief, has scared the shit out of me. We don't get warnings for earthquakes, so the whole, "we didn't get much warning" excuse doesn't work for me. FEMA had better well be whipped into shape before we have another major earthquake (and trust me, we will) because I expect emergency response to do what its supposed to do at all levels, not just my local government.

I won't have the option to evacuate my grandmother or great aunt or younger cousins before the earthquake hits, and once it does, we may not have the option to leave, despite having the normal number of cars per driving age residents. Even if we do what we are supposed to do and stockpile water and canned food, there is no garuntee that it won't be spoiled or that we can get to it. FEMA, DHS, and the National Guard had better well be on their way.

#37 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 03:10 AM:

I don't know about the middle class american's cultural cues etc. Of course I never lived in an area with natural disasters requiring federal help so I might not be as clear on these cues as others. That said I do remember many times over the years in which natural disasters occurred and the federal government showed up, coordinated rescue efforts, and saved lives. I think there has been a real breakdown in communication and it would have been nice if Bush had announced sometime after his inauguration that they would no longer show up, coordinate rescue efforts, or save lives.

#38 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 03:59 AM:

I don't think anyone saw it coming that the Bush Administration wouldn't care if lots of Americans died. This was totally outside the models of what we considered possible. We've hit the trifecta of incompetence, malice, and non-election year.

#39 ::: Jean Rogers ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 06:13 AM:

For what it's worth, reporting in the UK has been exceptional in that usually, any disaster that happens, the news will tell you how many Britons were involved and how they are doing. I'm not proud of this, but evidently that's what we are assumed to want to know, to the extent that you hear appalling tales of death and destruction, followed by "it is not known if any Britons were involved". That's what matters.

Not this time. I was actually saying, last week, how odd it was to have a disaster in which it seemed that no Britons had been affected. Today is the first time that's been contradicted.

#40 ::: Jenny K ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 07:31 AM:

Jean, Great Britain isn't alone in that, trust me. We do it too.

In fact, during my year abroad in England, I even had several fellow students make fun of us Americans for really only paying attention to our own athletes in the Olympic games. I pointed out that, well, we had a whole lot more of them to watch.

#41 ::: Ali ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 07:39 AM:

Jean - it has been mentioned on the news that (I think) 2 Britons have died. I guess those were the only deaths they had confirmed to report. So although it's been better than normal, they're still reporting the British deaths with more importance.

#42 ::: windypoint ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 08:02 AM:

Dave, the outcry here about lack of a consular office isn't going to become deafening. We haven't even managed to convince John Howard to protest the detention without trial of our citizens who were found in Afghanistan, a simple delay in providing consular service isn't likely to become a big political issue.

I'm hoping that the least that happens is the Opposition repeatedly asks questions in Parliament about our own disaster preparedness, if only for the joy of seeing Howard having to basically say "we are better than that" over and over again, knowing that by doing so we make him distance himself just a bit from Bush.

#43 ::: jayanne ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 08:05 AM:

Do you suppose these stranded British tourists were among the stranded tourists whisked to the head of the line of buses at the Superdome?

No idea -- I do know the UK people in the Superdrome were smuggled out of there by US troops, and the ones in the Convention Centre were got out by a National Guardsman.

My sense of this story

The Observer story? I've only seen it there, not in the Times or on the BBC or Channel 4.

#44 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 08:13 AM:

windypoint: Oh, agreed. I think you're right to say that there'll be no great outcry, considering, though there may be questions in Parliament and a great deal of viewing with alarm. BFHD.

Apologies for having obtruded Australian politics into this.

#45 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 09:08 AM:

Jean Rogers: For what it's worth, reporting in the UK has been exceptional in that usually, any disaster that happens, the news will tell you how many Britons were involved and how they are doing.

This strikes me as human nature, and may even help to personalize a disaster. In the aftermath of the tsunami, there was a lot of coverage of what happened to various Americans, and where no Americans were availble, random Europeans. Still mostly about what happened to white people, but at least not 100% about Americans.

#47 ::: Abigail ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 09:52 AM:

ANY middle-class (and up) American would know the cultural cues and stay the heck away from any government organized evacuation. ANY European would figure that going with the government plan would be better than trying to make it themselves.

I can't speak for Americans, but as a (nominal) European, this is completely on the nose. I don't live in an area prone to natural disasters (well, the next big earthquake that hits, Israel is going to fall into the Mediterranean sea, but apart from that) but my country is used to man-made emergencies, and there's a definite reliance on the government and the military. The first Gulf War is a good example. People were expected to take care of themselves to a limited extent - we were instructed to seal off a room with duct tape and plastic sheeting, stockpile food and water inside, and carry our (military-issued) gas masks everywhere - but beyond that, the emergency plan for a chemical or biological attack involved the army going door to door to evacuate the area.

The American government's inaction over the last week has been nothing short of staggering to me. As late as last Monday, I was commenting to friends that of course the government was going to bus out people who didn't have cars - how could they do anything else?

I hold an American passport, and It's always been a plan of mine to live in the States for a few years - I was thinking of looking for a job there after I graduate this winter. The last week has got me wondering if this is a good idea.

#48 ::: Lis Carey ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 10:33 AM:

Many years ago, when I was an impulsive and occasionally hot-headed teenager, I was eating my lunch in a burger joint in downtown Boston, and two businessmen were sitting at the next table talking. One of them said to the other, "If New York were bombed, the Boston Globe headline would be "New York bombed--ten Bostonians killed". And they went on for a minute or three about how Boston was so self-absorbed and New York City wasn't like that and their papers wouldn't do that.

When I'd listened to enough of this, I turned to them and said, "That's because Bostonians, no matter where they go, still have friends and family here that care what happens to them. In New York, I guess everyone is hatched, not born, and they have no friends or families, so disasters in other places are just exciting pictures in the news."

My point is that, while the "thousands killed, two local people affected" headline is a popular instrument for either self-flagellation or abuse of whatever place is the preferred target of denigration it is in fact a natural and appropriate part of news reporting. It's exactly the same impulse that's behind the posts to fannish mailing lists and the fannish check-in sites set up for this disaster now, and for 9/11 four years ago. It's part of the basic human design that we care about members of our group; it's one of the triumphs of the human spirit that we have succeeded in redefining "our group" so that it can include huge numbers of people who are not, in any usual sense, "family." Asking, and caring, what's happened to various members of "their group" hasn't stopped agencies, companies, groups, and individuals from rushing in with offers of aid to everyone affected, not just the members of "their group." (Bushco may have stopped a lot of that aid from getting where it's needed, but that's Bushco, not the people offering the aid while asking about the individuals closest to them.)

#49 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 11:38 AM:

Dave,

No apologies needed--I'm pretty confident I speak for the majority of people here when I say that I give a shit about what happens to Australians when they visit our country.

#50 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 03:12 PM:

Coming to this a bit late, I'd like to add a note of caution here. I read the Observer regularly (I'm a Guardian reader during the week, and the Observer is their Sunday incarnation) and they always run a second-headline-on-front-page story of the "politician bites voter" variety. If it isn't the government plotting to ban cooking knives, it's British tourists being rounded up and executed in Louisiana, or something. Okay, I exaggerate. But my point is, so do they. I put it down to the long and brutal circulation war they've been fighting with the Murdoch press and the Telegraph group.

Now, this story has legs -- unlike the usual Observer Sunday Scare -- as witness Tony Blair talking about it and promising consular services. (Nor is it surprising that the Guardian have covered this -- they're the sister publication, after all.) So it seems likely that some British ourists have indeed been caught up in the mess and have suffered from a lack of positive assistance. But I'd be very cautious about believing in a Shock! Outrage! front-page story from the Observer without independent corroboration, and I speak as a reader who is broadly sympathetic to their political leanings. I've been burned once too often to believe them if they said the sun was going to rise in the east tomorrow.

#51 ::: jayanne ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 05:31 PM:

Charlie, I thought The Observer might be having a go, too (I read The Guardian during the week but don't always get The Observer); and perhaps they were. But here's the family -- not though saying exactly what Peter Scott said they'd said:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4217022.stm

So it seems likely that some British ourists have indeed been caught up in the mess and have suffered from a lack of positive assistance.

That's probably true -- but it's also true that the National Guard helped the UK people in the Dome and the Convention Centre, both while they were there, and by getting them out.

#52 ::: Steinn Sigurdsson ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2005, 01:41 PM:

It is stupid not to expedite tourist evacuations; first of all, it is what USians want in the reciprocal situation - so do onto others etc; secondly, the tourists have somewhere to go - get them out, and you don't have to feed them or give them medical care, they'll catch BA or Air France and begone; and, finally, they get in the way, they don't know the streets, can't follow directions, half of them can't understand the directions, and they have absolutely no fallback system, no neighbours, friends or store of 9mm ammo to go scavenge. So get them out expeditiously.

That said, the leadoff in an Icelandic paper last week, was "~ 20 Icelanders known to be in area impacted by Katrina" followed by "an Icelander escapes the storm" (he drove out a couple of days before it hit as I recall). But then locally we've been hearing mostly about the PA people who were visiting NOLA, the students here who have family there, and this weekend, the refugees who finally got here from there.

#53 ::: cab ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 09:27 PM:

Sorry to all to carry on this blog ridiculously late...I am an American living in England since January, I watched live some of the Brits returning home..3 girls in particular that were interviewed after landing at Heathrow said , "We were treated very well..the Army and the people made sure that we had food and water" Some people they said, gave up their own food and water to make sure we were okay. This was live. When the news reported it again..as news channels do..they skipped the positive and focused all on the negative. Which was about the violence and the sanitation. Just when I was feeling good. I wrote the ITV news station and told them it was an insult. Why take away a glimpse of positive in an already dismal situation. To hear of poor people reaching out to these girls was at the least a glimmer of hope for humanity. Don't believe all that you read from our media.

#54 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 09:53 PM:

Nobody's perfect?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4214326.stm

Jamie Trout from Sunderland said his group had contacted the British embassy in the US to ask for help, but was told to contact British officials in New Orleans instead - even though their office was 15ft under water.
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Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.