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News :: Media
Hurricane Katrina: The People Did Not Have to Die
01 Sep 2005
There was no way to stop Hurricane Katrina, but the chaos, suffering and death that resulted from this storm WAS preventable. Why didn’t the government organize massive and systematic evacuation? Why weren’t the levees maintained? Why were so many people left to fend for themselves?
<h3>Hurricane Katrina: The People Did Not Have to Die</h3>
<br>
<p class="byline">Statement by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA -- August
31, 2005
<p> 
<p id="issueinfo"><cite>Special posting for Revolution, </cite>August 31, 2005,
posted at <a href="http://www.revcom.us";>revcom.us</a></p>
<p>There was no way to stop Hurricane Katrina, but the chaos, suffering and
death that resulted from this storm WAS preventable. Why didn’t the government
organize massive and systematic evacuation? Why weren’t the levees maintained?
Why were so many people left to fend for themselves?</p>
<p>This government has spent hundreds of billions for the war in Iraq – but
didn’t evacuate a city facing a devastating storm <em>that had been predicted
for days. </em>They got all kinds of helicopters and transport plans in Iraq but
in New Orleans people were trapped in the city and stuffed into the sports
stadium.</p>
<p>People, from all walks of life, are suffering because preventive measures
that could have lessened the effects of the hurricane are not profitable. People
were forced into an "every-man-for-himself" situation, so millions
were left to try and survive on their own. Over <em>100,000 people </em>were
left in New Orleans -- often because they didn't have a car, gas or cash.</p>
<p>This disaster revealed the unequal and oppressive relations of this system.
People live in conditions where when a disaster hits, they are left in severe
and needless danger of death. On TV, we’ve seen the many thousands of Black
people trapped in New Orleans and other dangerous places. We see the results of
slavery, segregation, Jim Crow and the present-day effects of this oppressive
history in sharp relief.</p>
<p>Before the storm even hit, Louisiana's governor Blanco gave authorities the
power to suspend civil liberties. Federal Homeland Security officials have
declared a national emergency. In the media, people desperately trying to
survive are being demonized as "dangerous armed gangs of looters."
Meanwhile, the governor is sending in troops. All this cannot be good for the
people.</p>
<p>Louisiana’s governor called for a day of prayer. And while individuals can
pray if they want, the government should be meeting the needs of the people,
mobilizing others to help, not telling people to pray.</p>
<p>The new developing dangers are caused by the way that society is<em> set up</em>,
NOT by nature. New suffering must be prevented. <strong>The disaster that looms
is not inevitable IF HUMAN BEINGS ARE MOBILIZED TO PREVENT IT. </strong>If
people are NOT mobilized in this way, if the government is NOT forced to take
URGENT measures right away, then hundreds and possibly thousands more will
needlessly die from disease and/or not being rescued.</p>
<h2 align="center">WE DEMAND:</h2>
<ul>
<li class="space">At the government’s expense: People must be housed and
cared for until they can safely return to their homes; hotels, convention
centers, and other buildings must be provided to people in need of shelter;
there must be free communication for people to contact relatives.
Immediately, there must be emergency medical care and measures to prevent
massive epidemics and needless dying. There must be no arrests for so-called
looting. There must be emergency relief –people must be immediately
provided with water, food, medicines, and other basic needs FREE OF CHARGE.
<li class="space">The needs of all must be met, with first priority to those
most urgently in need. There must be immediate, orderly, and safe
evacuation. If necessary, events in nearby cities must be cancelled to
accommodate people. People must not be evacuated into situations which are
going to reproduce disease and danger.
<li class="space">There must be intense search and rescue efforts in all
areas. People must NOT be allowed to die. All necessary resources, including
mobilizing volunteers, must be brought to bear on this. The government must
not repress people who volunteer or prevent them from helping, but instead,
must assist these efforts.
<li class="space">There must be no profiteering and speculation off people’s
misery by the sharks of insurance companies, oil monopolies, real estate
developers, etc.</li>
</ul>
<p> </p>
<p align="center"><strong>Download this statement from the <em>Revolution</em>
newspaper website: <a href="http://www.revcom.us";>revcom.us<br>
</a>– and stay tuned for updates.</strong></p>
<p align="center">Contact the Revolutionary Communist Party: PO Box 3486
Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654, <a href="mailto://rcppubs (at) hotmail.com">rcppubs (at) hotmail.com</a></p>
<div>
</div>
<div class="footer">
<hr class="footer">
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolution Online<br>
<a href="http://revcom.us";>http://revcom.us<;/a><br>
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654<br>
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497<br>
</div>

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