George V. Reilly

The Start of Hurricane Season


The Ninth Ward of New Orleans, as shot by Scout Prime.

Christy at Fire­DogLake has written a post about this year’s hurricane season, which officially started on June 1st.

New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf is still a disaster area: watch the video linked to above. Disaster pre­pared­ness is far from where it should be. The levee im­prove­ments are inadequate. Re­con­struc­tion is mired in bu­reau­cra­cy and stalled in in­com­pe­tence. The money promised has not ma­te­ri­al­ized. Only one-third of New Orleans residents have returned.

Christy links to a report put together by Nancy Pelosi, detailing the in­com­pe­tence and cronyism of the Re­pub­li­cans, both in the immediate response and in the long-term followup.

  • Up to $1 billion dollars in waste and fraud for housing con­trac­tors and payments made by the government, mainly to con­trac­tors from outside the Gulf Region.
  • The SBA has rejected more than 60% of small business loan ap­pli­ca­tions in the wake of Katrina. Of those that have been approved, only 4% of funds have been disbursed to small business owners at this point. (Oh yeah, I got yer business friendly en­vi­ron­ment here. What was that Republican talking point that small business is the backbone of American jobs and com­mu­ni­ties?)
  • Less than 2% of all Federal aid that has gone to the Gulf Coast has been used for education ex­pen­di­tures.
  • The Rubber Stamp Republican Congress still refuses to ease Medicare re­stric­tions for children in the Gulf Coast region, despite the fact that there is a sub­stan­tial health care crisis for children in the region, stemming from infections and other issues arising from prolonged exposure to pathogens from flood waters, stress, and other factors. (1/3 of all children living in FEMA trailer parks have been found to have a chronic illness.)
  • 40,000 families are still waiting for some sort of housing assistance, meanwhile there are 10,000 FEMA trailers still parked in the mud, just sitting there unused.
  • Con­trac­tors with a political connection to the Bush Ad­min­is­tra­tion were paid up to 15 times the actual cost of jobs contracted.
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