Here is a email written by Jim who has been dealing first hand with the Hurricane Katrina
I found this in a artical on
"In case you are wondering if the reports from the New Orleans area were exaggerated ... Not a chance!
"We (Josh and I) just arrived back from Houston where 8 members of our Civil Air Patrol Squadron (Apollo Composite Squadron based at Georgetown airport -Texas) assisted the multi-agency disaster response team (the first time this has been activated on this scale). Our squadron also provided a HF communications (long distance capable and self-sufficient running off batteries and later a generator) in case it was required.
"The team that we were working with handled incoming aircraft from the New Orleans airport. They were transporting nursing home and hospital patients, as well as seriously injured victims that is some cases were taken from the helicopter to the airlift aircraft. We received some patients that were still wearing wet clothes from being pulled from the water!
"Aircraft were from the Air Force and Coast Guard, and included C-130's and some C-141's (both sizable cargo planes suited for the job).
"The team included Veterans Administration, US Army, US Navy, NASA, US Air Force, Coast Guard, Civil Air Patrol and other civilians. That is quite a feat....
"The team was based at Ellington Field (south of Houston).
"Over 700 patients ranging for critically injured to ambulatory were off loaded and processed from 21 aircraft by the time we left Sunday afternoon, when the team was told to stand down. This was done because other disaster relief cities were getting setup to help in the effort. Aircrews were telling us that they had requested to be sent to Houston due to the quick turn around professionalism of the team at Ellington. I have been involved in several government and military operations in the past and this was by far the BEST run with NO interagency headaches or bickering. Between aircraft there was cleaning restocking and more cleaning to be done plus setting up for the next aircraft.
"Due to the fact that once an aircraft was in the air they could be diverted anywhere that a disaster response team is located, the first thing we said to a victim was 'Welcome to Houston' ... several though they were supposed to be in Atlanta ... but that was a problem with weather and not bad planning.
"We stayed with our patients from the time they arrived through registration, triage, stabilization, and on to get them their 1st meal some had has since before the hurricane. During that time, we heard tales of the last few days particularly from the recently rescued from the water (they ALL considered themselves rescued). Note, as a strict rule we did NOT ask any of the victims what happened to them nor what they had been through. Some were not able to talk at all. Some were taken to the hospital directly from the aircraft ... others to the morgue.
"One man told us he had laid in [an] alley in the same position (legs contorted from his injuries) 'flat on my back watching and waiting to be found by rescuers and hoping that he was not found by the bad people that were raising hell, hurting people and running around stealing ... I am so embarrassed to be from the same place they call home'. He was so glad to be anywhere but there. He told me that the water he got on the plane and the boxed dinner was the first thing he had had since the hurricane.
"One couple that was visiting New Orleans when she was hospitalized for an illness was to be released the day before hurricane. However, she had minor complications and they opted to stay put rather than leave town. After the storm pasted they had to be moved from her room to the inner part of the hospital since their hospital windows were being shot out by gunman ... they were on the eight floor. The bottom floor had many bodies in it as they made their way out of the building ... they said 'not many of them were from injuries from the storm.'
"An elderly woman was asking to be put into a cab to be driven back to her home. She was not very coherent, but was certain that she would be able to get back to her home. She did not want to be anywhere else! Her injuries were particularly troubling since they were from being beaten and not from the storm. She had been sown up with regular sewing thread (not medical grade) by someone who had done a very good job (as in a doctor or nurse).
"There were a great deal of folks that were just sick and old being transported from nursing homes or hospitals.
"One elderly man was being signed in and was asking for his wife ... she had been loaded on a different aircraft and he was not sure if she had even been flown to Houston or not. As a member of our squadron got her name and started searching for her she was wheeled up by his stretcher. Their response was kind of thing that made ALL of the work worthwhile ... and THEN some."
"I want to address one subjected that was brought up by a couple of victims. RACE ... The older man mentioned above found in an alley (mentioned above) said something very interesting on the subject. 'The folks that are saying racism had anything to do with how we were treated or ignored should BE ASHAMED of themselves as THEM are being the RACISTS! I watched as the rescuers tried to do their job and as you folks are doing your jobs ... some of you are brothers here some are Mexican some are Asian a lot are white but you are ALL here helping TOGETHER ..'. . I did not mention but this gentleman is black as were most but not all of the victims we saw. This was an equal opportunity disaster ... it just happened to occur where a large number of the people were black. The inability to get aid to them was due to the daunting task needed to mobilize and support a force needed to do the job. [Emphasis added.]
"To a person there were all very glad to be out and very grateful for all of the workers help ... particularly the they mentioned several time the young kids in uniforms (there were high school kids in Jr ROTC and our cadets age 13 and up). They had just come from the mayhem, danger and lawlessness they were glad to see the kids because they knew that if the kids were there it was safe and controlled environment. In case you are wondering yes we all kept an extra special watch on all the kids to be sure they were as safe as possible ... to the point of having to inform them at the end of shifts that yes that HAD to leave sleep / rest. They wanted to keep working and helping.
"Unlike the dome (Astrodome and Superdome) which is a WHOLE different story and subject.