piranha: red origami crane (Default)
hurricane wilma is battering cozumel, and cancun (pictures).

i wonder whether i'd be writing journal entries while a hurricane is busy trying to tear my home down. probably.

cuba evacuated 370,000 people from its western coast. how come cuba is so good at evacuating? they seem to have it down pat. lessons to be learned?
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
so since the bush administration has said we don't want to play the blame game (and then promptly went to blame state and local officials about not asking for federal help early enough), i've been digging through records to see just what the feds were doing compared to the locals, bureaucracy-wise.

and there's something weird. bush's declaration of an emergency for louisiana parishes covers middle and upstate louisiana, but not the coastal parishes. am i just dense and missing something?

here's the list: Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Claiborne, Catahoula, Concordia, De Soto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Pointe Coupee, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Helena, St. Landry, Tensas, Union, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll, West Feliciana, and Winn.

the very parishes for which the hurricane warnings were in effect are not among them:

WWUS74 KLIX 281550 NPWLIX [...]

quick map here.

at first i thought maybe they were already covered from a previous declaration (louisiana itself declared a state of emergency for tropical storm cindy, which ended on august 4, and one for hurricane dennis, ending o august 7), but can't find anything about that other than a FEMA disaster aid declaration for cindy from august 23 (wow, that much later; cindy hit july 5).
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
hey, none of my CU pals has written about this yet:

Last week, Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network launched the "Katrina Community Wireless Rapid Response" project to funnel grass-roots offers toward areas in need.

this might be the sort of thing for which people in [livejournal.com profile] war_on_error want to be on the lookout. head on over there, btw, and help brainstorm, if you have a moment.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
especially during a major disaster such as hurricane katrina, please, do not leave a message such as these ones online: "mike, please call or text me. michelle. luv ya!", or "big cuz ruby, be lookin for U! maw-maw iz worried sick. call us!"

it's pretty interesting, entering data for peoplefinder. my heart goes out to all those people, but i want to shake a lot of them, and tell them that nobody is gonna be able to help them find their loved ones if they give such bad information. chances that the missing person zirself is gonna find that one message on that specific message board are extremely small, and messages like the above don't make it into any central database. nobody can search on them; do you have any idea how many rubys and mikes there are?

i doubt my flist needs instructions, but in case somebody googles this, you should include the following information:

  • the full name of the person, including any nicknames under which zie might be known.
  • zir sex.
  • zir age.
  • a short physical description, a link to a photo if you have one.
  • zir address, at the very least the city and state. the neighbourhood or the street name, if the person's name is common.
  • whom zie worked for (zie might have been at work when the disaster struck).
  • other people who might be with zir. but remember, families can get separated during disasters; create a record for each person for whom you're looking.
  • any information about when and where zie was last seen.
  • your own name, your home phone / cell phone / pager (with area codes), your email address.

all this data will end up in at least one database; the more precise information you give that is useful for distinguishing your missing person from the many others, the better. hugs and kisses for the missing person are great; just make sure you leave pertinent information first. proofread the information, especially names and phone numbers. proofread them twice. oh, and? don't use ALL CAPS -- it's hard to read.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i found something useful to do for the people in the hurricane area, other than donating money -- there is an effort to create one central database of missing persons, collecting data from everywhere else. the initiator is managing the effort through a wiki, which means many more people can help than with any of the proprietary databases.

if you have a extra hour to kill, and want to help, head on over there, read the instructions, and enter some data. no fancy technical skills required.

via [livejournal.com profile] geekchick.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
there's no shortage of commentary on NOLA out there today, coming from the safety of our collective armchairs. i'll be picking on just one, the person who said that if you can't be bothered to put away $40 for a tank of gas to get the hell out of dodge, you're too stupid to live.

what, an $40 extra gas is all it takes? if you think an extra $40 is gonna do it for you, you are yourself extremely ill-prepared.

it'd easily cost > $1000, and the gas to get out of town is the least of it. first, you need to have a reliable enough car, which is not something an average working poor in a metropolitan area might have sitting around, just in case. but i'm magnanimous -- let's assume you do. now you need to find shelter and food where you're going. you won't know the place you're going to, so you're not tuned into where the bargains are; everything will be more expensive than at home where you know your way. prices will also be higher because of gouging. free shelter will be hard to find, will not take pets, and will offer all the undesirable side effects of shelters (noise, illness, theft, violence). hotel rooms don't usually allow or provide for cooking, driving up your cost for food.

if you anticipate not returning within a short period of time, you will have to rent an apartment. if you can find one -- you're competing with all the other evacuees and regular folks who live there. it'll cost you extra security deposit, and higher rental fee because you're not a long-term renter. you won't have a job at this point in time either, nor are you likely going to find one; there'll be a lot of competition. nobody in your family will likely have a job.

all of this presumes everyone is basically healthy. if we're talking elderly people, very young children, disabled people, seriously ill people, the cost, effort, and danger of evacuation go up.

i'm only touching on the practical issues. none of this talks about how it feels to uproot yourself (and your kids and pets), to go to a place where you don't know anybody. people handle disaster much better when they're in their own community, in their own place.

also: think about assessing this before having seen what this storm of which you are being warned will do. it's easy in hindsight -- once you know your house will be flooded over the gables, you know you should have gone. but how do you know beforehand? the last N storms didn't do anything bad, they missed you, or petered out before getting to you. the media always sensationalises the dangers. you're living in a city which knows about flooding. if the levees hold... if the eye of the storm passes further to the west... if if if. you don't know. you have to guess.

last, but not least -- sure, you're right, people who move to new orleans ought to know that the city is going to be covered by water anyway if global warming continues apace, and that in the meantime it's a sitting duck for hurricanes. in italy, people live on the slopes of mt. vesuvius. i'm living a mere 28m above sea level on the coast of vancouver island. there is danger in many places. some seem a bit more dangerous than others, but none are 100% safe, and when choosing where to live, people don't just take danger into account. NOLA is where it is because a big-ass river that goes through the whole damn country meets the ocean there. like, *duh*. that's where humans build ports, because it makes trade easy. and where there is a port, there are people needed to make it work, since we haven't yet perfected robotics.

california is dangerous to live because it might slide into the ocean. the midwest is dangerous to live because it's tornado alley. the east coast is also in danger from hurricanes. where do you draw the line, how do you choose your own place of residence? me, personally -- not gonna live on the slopes of an active volcano. but blaming the people who do? i dunno. too easy. none of us make purely rational choices; my diet might kill me long before the next outbreak of mt vesuvius.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i'm keeping a tally of things i'm coming across that look severely fucked up. reorganised into several sections:

political grandstanding and lies
how deep goes the rot
delays, rejection of aid

i dropped the section on looting; i am just not interested enough in it.

i'll be adding dates now as i go along, filling in missing ones later. LJ format is not the best for doing this sort of thing. i'll probably break this out into 3 separate posts later.

cut because of long URLs )
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
stop whining and do something.

i started to fall into that trap. it's easy; most of us are far away and feel helpless, while so many people have lost their homes to hurricane katrina. the above post stopped me in my tracks. there's plenty of time for complaining about the evacuation and the careless cost cutting measures of the bush regime later.

so instead of whining, i'm propagating this hopefully useful link: hurricane katrina help wiki -- IMO a wiki is a fabulous resource for this sort of thing because anyone who has information can just add it themselves. and here are some answers for paul who wrote the article linked above. [livejournal.com profile] bubba, you might find the FEMA information interesting.

and then i'll go and find out everything there is to know about sudden emergency preparedness in my own town and put it together on a website. i started that a while ago, but always get sidetracked.

oh yeah, the GI bug has departed. about time. that was a week of pure misery, though it sounds hollow to say that when comparing it with an actual catastrophe. well, i felt sorry for myself while it lasted, and now i am over it.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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