Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans - Anarchy

The situation in New Orleans is quickly deteriorating into anarchy with armed gangs roaming, basically shooting at the authorities, looting, taking hostages, etc. Meanwhile, thousands of people are waiting for help (within the Superdome) and not getting any.

Search and rescue have been halted due to the danger presented by the armed gangs. This is surreal and seems to be like straight out of a Hollywood movie (Escape from New York)! It was reported that all gun stores in New Orleans have been looted and all firearms and ammunitions were taken. National Guard have been sent and are in the city but it seems that there is a lack of coordination and nobody seems to know what to do first. I would think that the first couple of things to do is to (a) regain control of the city even it means shoot to kill and (b) provide a safe passage for the folks needing help and move them out of New Orleans (Houston is swamped) to other cities.

In the meanwhile, what can we do to help? Congress is looking at approving a US$10.5b relief package with scores of organizations/individuals donating (Shell - $15m, etc). It seems money will help later when the situation is under control and the rebuilding process begins. By all means, please contribute and help all you can but be aware of scams. My suggestion would be donate to the red cross.

The finger pointing can happen later as the priority right now is to help and save as many folks as possible.

There is this article on ZDNet which links to a blog maintained by folks still within New Orleans including a live webcam feed plus pictures taken throughout the week. Here's the link to the pictures Warning: Slow loading due the amount and size of pictures.

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