31
Aug
05

The Eve After Destruction

Katrina has come and gone. Unfortunately, the effects will be more lasting than ever. We are short on National Guard and Reserve troops to help the people in the devastated areas. Months ago the Governor of Louisiana begged the President to bring some or most of them home to help, knowing the catastrophe a bad hurricane can bring. Because there is no one to clean up and secure the cities in the aftermath, looting and other crimes are being committed at an alarming rate. Electricity will not be restored in some parts for two months or more. New Orleans is under water because here were no troops to help secure the levies before the storm and it may never recover. I hope all of you got to see New Orleans before it sank back into the sea. If I were Chavez, I would have called President Bush immediately and offered to send Venezuelan troops to help clean up and secure Louisiana and Mississippi. What a point that would make!

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3 Responses to “The Eve After Destruction”


  1. 1 United We Lay
    August 31, 2005 at 5:56 pm

    Oil and High Water

    In Katrina’s wake oil prices have spiked, but the real price increase may not be felt until the winter

    By Hilary Hylton / Time

    As Hurricane Katrina hurled toward the Gulf of Mexico bad memories flashed through Tony Lentini’s mind. Last Sept. 7th, Hurricane Ivan hammered a similar area, and Lentini, a vice president of Apache Corporation, an independent oil and gas exploration company in Houston, says that it’s taken a year to get some of Apache’s facilities back online. In the sixty days after Ivan struck, the Gulf lost 29 million barrels of production. “What you do as the storm approaches is you have to balance your people’s safety with the country’s dependence on the Gulf,” says Lentini.

    That precarious balancing act becomes even more difficult when a storm like Katrina, a Category 4 hurricane, rolls into town packing winds up to 140 mph. Ivan, was a smaller Category 3 storm with lower winds and waves. Damage estimates from Katrina are as high as $26 billion, and oil production in the Gulf will certainly be down, at least in the short term. Yesterday, oil futures spiked to $70.80 before easing to $67.90 by the end of the day, and all of this comes at a time when consumers are already paying high prices at the pump.

    The United States consumes 20 million barrels of oil a day, and produces 7.7 million barrels a day—a quarter of our oil and gas production comes from the Gulf. Katrina shut down 92 percent of the oil and 83 percent of the natural gas production, according to the federal officials. Onshore wells and pipelines also were affected and seven Louisiana refineries producing 8.5% of the US total production grinded to a halt.

    Here’s what’s known so far about damage to the oil and gas infrastructure:

    Two multi-million rigs are reported to be free of their moorings and Royal Dutch Shell said its huge Mars platform, which pumps 220,000 barrels a day, is offline.

    The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, the largest U.S. terminal, has yet to open and Midwest refineries may soon experience shortages.

    Producers are moving to restart production on the western and eastern edges of Katrina’s strike zone, but assessment of the central zone where up to a third of the Gulf’s rigs lie will not begin until midweek.
    Even with all the damage, the real squeeze on the consumer’s wallet may not be felt until winter when natural gas prices are certain to be higher, since U.S. utilities rely on natural gas for 16-18 percent of their fuel for electricity generation. Then there’s oil. After Hurricane Ivan had severely damaged seven oil platforms and key pipelines buried 20 to 30 feet deep in underwater mudslides near the mouth of the Mississippi, President Bush tapped into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a move the Administration dubbed “an exchange” since it called for the supplies to be replaced. Political critics are pressing him to repeat that move, but industry analysts are split on whether this really helps keep prices down. Still, most observers expect Bush to approve another “exchange.”

  2. 2 United We Lay
    August 31, 2005 at 5:58 pm

    Coping With Katrina

    “The devastation is greater than our worst fears,” declared Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Two days after Hurricane Katrina tore through the Gulf Coast region, elected officials and aid workers are beginning to assess the totality of the damage done by the storm. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said up to 80 deaths have been reported in Harrison County alone; some estimate the number is closer to 110. Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu reported that at least 50 to 100 people were dead in New Orleans. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans is submerged under water, with some sections of the city experiencing standing water as deep as 20 feet. Approximately 3 million residents along the Gulf Coast remain without power, and tens of thousands have no phone service. Residents who returned to their homes in parts of three states — Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama — were without safe drinking water, had limited shelter and food, faced the threat of looting and downed power lines, and had poor access to medical care. Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway said, “This is our tsunami.”

    THE SUPERDOME FACES WORSENING CONDITIONS: As of Wednesday morning, the Superdome in New Orleans housed approximately 20,000 to 30,000 stranded civilians. Conditions deteriorated as the population inside the dome grew. Bathrooms were filthy, urinals were backed up, electricity was out, air conditioning was not available, and part of the roof collapsed. Scores of sick patients from nearby evacuated hospitals were moved into the Superdome, where four individuals later died. Yet despite an environment that the Washington Post termed a “festering hellhole,” many in the Superdome were more than happy to have a refuge from the chaos erupting outside. National Guard soldiers did their best to accommodate the massive crowd. But with the increased threats of flooding putting the city of New Orleans at greater risk, Gov. Blanco ordered the evacuation of the dome within the next two days.

    HOW TO HELP: Charities and the federal government are launching what aid agencies predict could be “the longest and costliest relief effort in U.S. history.” Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is urging those who want to help to make cash donations. Cash donations “allow volunteer agencies to issue cash vouchers to victims so they can meet their needs. Cash donations also allow agencies to avoid the labor-intensive need to store, sort, pack and distribute donated goods. Donated money prevents, too, the prohibitive cost of air or sea transportation that donated goods require.” Here is the list of agencies that FEMA is directing people to contact (if you decide to give to a different charity, beware of scams).

  3. 3 United We Lay
    August 31, 2005 at 6:01 pm

    NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) — A day after Hurricane Katrina dealt a devastating blow to the Big Easy, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on Tuesday night blasted what he called a lack of coordination in relief efforts for setting behind the city’s recovery.

    “There is way too many fricking … cooks in the kitchen,” Nagin said in a phone interview with WAPT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi, fuming over what he said were scuttled plans to plug a 200-yard breach near the 17th Street Canal, allowing Lake Pontchartrain to spill into the central business district.

    An earlier breach occurred along the Industrial Canal in the city’s Lower 9th Ward. ( Watch the video featuring Nagin’s complaints about delayed sandbagging — 0:56 )

    The rising flood waters overwhelmed pumping stations that would normally keep the city dry. About 80 percent of the city was flooded with water up to 20 feet deep after the two levees collapsed.

    The Army Corps of Engineers is working to repair the levee breaches, the agency said Tuesday, but it gave no timetable for repairs. (See the video of water surging into the saturated city — 1:53 )

    The Corps has workers assessing damage at the two locations. The National Guard, Coast Guard and state and federal agencies are working with the agency to speed the process, it reported.

    “These closures are essential so that water can be removed from the city,” a statement from the Corps of Engineers’ headquarters in Washington said.

    Walter Baumy, the agency’s engineering division chief, said the Corps is trying to line up rock, sandbags, barges, helicopters and cranes to patch the damaged levees.

    Col. Kevin Wagner, a Corps official in Baton Rouge, said that engineers also were eyeing the prospect of filling shipping containers with sand and lowering them into the breaches to stanch the flooding.

    The National Weather Service reported a breach along the Industrial Canal levee at Tennessee Street, in southeast New Orleans, on Monday. Local reports later said the levee was overtopped, not breached, but the Corps of Engineers reported it Tuesday afternoon as having been breached.

    But Nagin said a repair attempt was supposed to have been made Tuesday.

    According to the mayor, Black Hawk helicopters were scheduled to pick up and drop massive 3,000-pound sandbags in the 17th Street Canal breach, but were diverted on rescue missions. Nagin said neglecting to fix the problem has set the city behind by at least a month.

    “I had laid out like an eight-week to ten-week timeline where we could get the city back in semblance of order. It’s probably been pushed back another four weeks as a result of this,” Nagin said.

    “That four weeks is going to stop all commerce in the city of New Orleans. It also impacts the nation, because no domestic oil production will happen in southeast Louisiana.”

    Nagin said he expects relief efforts in the city to improve as New Orleans, the National Guard and FEMA combine their command centers for better communication, followup and accountability.


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