Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gustav = Unease

So Gustav is a Category 5 hurricane expected to hit somewhere between the Texas coast and Florida. New Orleans is being evacuated, no SuperDome or emergency services this time. FEMA says that the levees won't hold in New Orleans. My in-laws were leaving on a 40th-anniversary vacation in Jamaica tomorrow--Gustav's already past there, but Hannah may be over Florida when they return. I know a number of people who live in this zone and it leaves me worried again. One's a single mom with severe physical disability and a toddler. I don't have a good feeling about all of this and am worried about a repeat of three years ago.

Several friends and my sister's family survived Allison a few years ago and others had to evacuate with Rita. I darn well don't trust FEMA or any other government agency with disasters. When there is no warning and neighborhoods start to flood and people are on their roofs or sleeping in the attic, where are they? Not getting people out, they aren't, not anyone. FEMA's not going to put you up in a motel or even a shelter even if you have a toddler in a waste-filled, danger-filled house that would get CPS to take away said toddler in an everyday situation. They expect you and said toddler to live there, sans air conditioning, refrigeration, telephones, or other amenities in high heat, sleeping even if pregnant on low cots in mold-infested rooms with no working electricity, with no transportation because the car's been flooded while you and everyone else wait months and months to get your home repaired because everyone else is also waiting for their homes to get repaired. Money from insurance is slow to come, is inadequate to help with expenses, and other people can't help out because they're all busy with similar situations. My sister was home alone with her daughter when Allison hit. I listened on the phone with her as she wept in fear as water started filling her street and then filling her home while she prayed her husband could make it home and they could get out. There was no warning for them and no assistance. While there's some warning with Gustav, there is no organization, no decent oversight, no contingency plans when it comes to any natural disaster. Good luck, people.

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