Hi. Thanks for those links. I have family that were lucky enough to evacuate New Orleans and are now staying with my parents just west of New Orleans. They are lucky to be alive, but have found out that they lost everything--all their homes, possessions, and livelihood. They are left with just the clothes on their backs that they evacuated with.
Also, I hope word also gets out that there are over 500 people still trapped in Versailles (a big Vietnamese community on the East Bank of N.O.) in Queen Mary Catholic Church. They are up to their necks in sewage/flood water. Helicopters keep passing them by and they have not been rescued yet. They have run out of food and water and are still waiting for help. CNN did a small blurb on this, but I feel like no one wants to get them out. It is so frustrating.
Here is some information I just found out that might be helpful to some of your readers who have loved ones who have also evacuated.
hope everyone's friends and family are all safe. Just heard from a friend that the victims of the hurricane are able to get aid from FEMA. you can register online or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) for assistance. you can get refund for all the money you put out for the hurricane like hotel costs, gas money, food, etc. you can also get federal aid for temporary living costs such as rent, food, etc..... i've also heard that you can go to the food stamp office and show your ID and get some federal aid. so spread the word.
You'll reach so many more people than I will ever hope to, Cleo, and with all the depressing and horrifying stories you're linking in your journal, I come bearing a bit of light.
A woman named Elizabeth, along with her church, is doing something a bit different. She's thinking more along the psychological needs of the victims. A convention center in Gadsden, near her, houses refugees from the hurricane, 150 children among them. What Elizabeth wants to do is go to KBToys and purchase $20 gift cards for the children, and has arranged transport so that she can give the certificates to the children and take the families to the store herself so the kids can purchase the toy that they want.
Her blog is here: http://www.decablog.com/jett/blog.php
She outlines her plans, her reasons, and has a paypal link in the first three entries. Check it out, and if/when you can spare a bit of change, consider passing it along to Katrina Kids Relief. If you prefer to send her a check or money order, you can email her about that, the link being there at her blog. If you can't spare the change, maybe share the link with your friends, or just copy/paste this post into your own journals and whatnot, every little bit helps.
Air America Public Voicemail: "Air America Radio's Public Voicemail is a way for disconnected people to communicate in the wake of Katrina. Here's how it works: Call the toll-free number above, enter your everyday phone number, and then record a message. Other people who know your everyday phone number (even if it doesn't work anymore) can call Emergency Voicemail, enter the phone number they associate with you, and hear your message. You can also search for messages left by people whose phone numbers you know."
Also from bluebythebook: "Also, if you're looking for a way to help personally, MoveOn.org Civic Action, formerly known as MoveOn.org, launched a new web site yesterday, http://hurricanehousing.org/ asking its 3.3 million members and the public to post any available housing for the thousands of people left homeless by Hurricane Katrina. The organization will directly connect evacuees with volunteer hosts, and also provide the housing information to the Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Pass it on! The more people who know, the more effective this will be."
The scariest thing you'll hear all day. From Making Light: The Red Cross has been ordered not to enter New Orleans with relief. The commenters draw a conclusion that is both terrifying and outrageous, yet seems less and less deniable the more you read. More links from the comments on that entry:
The ARC can't enter NO with relief, yet: The report of a checkpoint on one of the intact bridges turning people back.From a Making Light poster, Rachel: "I am a trained Red Cross disaster relief volunteer. I've offered to go wherever they feel like sending me. No one's gotten back to me yet. If anyone knows of any organization that will fly out trained volunteers (I'm in Los Angeles) please email me."
Firefighting gear stockpile unused.
FEMA wouldn't give permission to airdrop food.
Northern Command has been ready for days, just waiting on orders.
Feds delayed the paperwork for other states to send their National Guard troops for days.
Louisiana begged for help on Sunday.
All helicopter flights were grounded during Bush's visit (that means moving patients, food delivery, search & rescue). [My note: well, that's probably standard during a presidential visit. Ill-advised at this time, perhaps, but standard.]
DHS/FEMA turned away assistance from Chicago.
Someone on DailyKos has come up with a much longer list of aid offers delayed and denied. They didn't want to believe it, either, but also point out that the overall effect could be the result of mixed intention and ineptitude: "Possible motives? Note that any or all of them can apply, simultaneously; actions are often taken for more than one reason." If you read no other link, read this one.
Reporters struggle to make the truth known amid all the spin. ("This is complete and utter incompetence. If anyone heard Michael Chertoff on NPR yesterday, it was laughable. He didn't know that there were people trapped in the convention center; he kept referring back to the Superdome whenever the interviewer asked him about the convention center. This is the head of fucking Homeland Security.")
(Does Anderson Cooper know about all this yet? He is the Secretary of Take No Shit, after all [tm Wonkette].)
Hang out a bit at bibliotech's journal, too: she's got tons of news links, I just realized, that I can't even begin to start collecting. Including a list of which celebrities are donating to charity, and the comments of one Viggo Mortensen, private citizen.