Planning, Response Are Faulted
By Josh White and Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 2, 2005; Page A01
Tens of thousands of people remain stranded on the streets of New Orleans in desperate conditions because officials failed to plan for a serious levee breach and the federal response to Hurricane Katrina was slow, according to disaster experts and Louisiana government officials.
Though experts had long predicted that the city -- which sits below sea level and is surrounded by water -- would face unprecedented devastation after an immense hurricane, they said problems were worsened by a late evacuation order and insufficient emergency shelter for as many as 100,000 people.
Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., (R-La.), said he spent the past 48 hours urging the Bush administration to send help. "I started making calls and trying to impress upon the White House and others that something needed to be done," he said. "The State resources were being overwhelmed, and we needed direct federal assistance, command and control, and security -- all three of which are lacking."
"How many people are going to die, per hour, before you get 40,000 troops in there?" Madden asked yesterday. "I think it has cost lives. . . . They can go into Iraq and do this and do that, but they can't drop some food on Canal Street in New Orleans, Louisiana, right now? It's just mind-boggling."