Friday, September 09, 2005

Red Cross not in New Orleans...old news...

Very old news, indeed.

I heard anecdotally several years ago that the Red Cross had no plans to send anyone into New Orleans in the event of a flood or storm, either paid staff or volunteers, because it was too dangerous. The RedCross FAQ page was putting it into print - more or less - but the spin was that they were being told by the authorities to keep clear.

National Geographic's warning last year included this.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City. Even the Red Cross no longer opens hurricane shelters in the city, claiming the risk to its workers is too great.

Seems to me that if they had an official policy not to endanger their people because the place would not be safe, it would be okay to simply say so and state the reasons why. I understand how that would be some kind of PR problem for an agency almost entirely dependent on volunteers, but an outspoken voice of the Red Cross might have raised the credibility of unheeded warnings.

3 comments:

Cass said...

Hoots, there is a difference between opening a shelter, and taking in relief supplies, yes?

Hoots said...

I'm sure there must be. I cannot imagine that the Red Cross is not fully active in Louisiana considering the importance of blood collections and all the other important work that they do. My point is more about the long-understood dangers of bad weather from the Gulf to New Orleans.

The Red Cross has a rational policy not to put anyone in danger. For that they are to be commended. It is stunning that so few other entities are as rational. Think how many important people and businesses live and invest in denial of that danger. I already hear that businesses in the French Quarter are counting the days until they get back to "normal."

Seems to me the next conversation needs to address the more important issue of whether and how the city can be made whole and safe, this time - hopefully - with a better grip on reality.

Cass said...

Yes, they have shelters in LA, just not in NOLA. Baton Rouge, for sure, adn I think others as well.

And, no, they should not put their folks in danger.

As to the last paragraph, yes.