Thursday, September 08, 2005

Kansas City Reporter Broadcasts From New Orleans in the Heart of the Storm

Earlier in the day Verbeck had watched as Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard broadcast a plea for drinking water.

“Broussard said that at one point on Wednesday, a FEMA man had finally shown up” — two days after the levee break — “spent 15 minutes with him and said everything was going to be fine and that a field representative would be back to take over. And by Thursday that FEMA field rep had never shown.”

Verbeck learned that a Wal-Mart truck carrying water had been stopped and refused entry into the area by FEMA. A FEMA official told Broussard that “bottled water had arrived at Baton Rouge, which was an hour north, at 2 o’clock in the morning. It was noon and there was no water. It was a shambles. Poorly planned.”

Verbeck called Heart to Heart International in Olathe and asked if it could ship water down there pronto. And when the relief organization said yes, Verbeck decided not to broadcast the news, “in case some petty bureaucrat was listening” who might put a stop to the aid.

There were the terrible calls from residents trapped in their homes. One caller, whom he put on the air at 3 or 4 a.m. one night, still haunts him.

“A woman with a lot of dignity called in. She gave her address … east of the canal and north of the Superdome.

“She said, ‘I’m in my house and I’m up to my chest in water.’

“ ‘Are you alone?’

“ ‘No, I have three babies.’

“She said, ‘Can you save our lives? Can you save our lives?’ … There was nothing we could do to save her life, but she asked us anyway, with dignity.”

Read the rest here.

-Kansas City Star


Gadfly said...

The thing that broke my heart watching CNN on Saturday ... the president of a parish near N.O. speaking about an elderly woman in a nursing home, who had been in contact with her son on a cell phone. He was sobbing openly as he yelled at the camera:

"... Tuesday night, he said they're coming to get you. Wednesday night, they're coming to get you. Thursday night, they're coming to get you. Friday night, she drowned. Nobody's coming to get her. Nobody. All I see are press conferences. I'm sick to death of press conferences. SHUT UP AND SEND SOMEBODY!"

My eyes literally welled up

Kat said...

Yeah...I felt the same way when that guy was talking. It was bad.