Being a few hundred miles away from the disaster, I can offer no better insight than what you can see on the news. Let me say for once, that for a bright shining second, I was impressed with the folks at CNN.
I watched a large block of the primetime coverage on CNN and it was well worth it. Anderson Cooper, who always seemed a little too self satisfied for my taste, showed that there is indeed a human hiding beneath that smirk.
After spending the day traveling around with search and rescue from the Coast Guard and other organizations, Cooper was visibly shaken. Several times during his hour-long program he stressed just how slowly FEMA seems to be responding to this disaster. He was very pointed and demanding of answers and didn't simply let some of these bureaucrats safe in their offices rattle on and on about how hard they were working to get help out to the people without reminding them of how little help the people he saw were getting. It was inspiring to watch. Here was the media actually doing what it was supposed to be doing, asking tough questions and not just accepting rehearsed talking points.
Towards the end of the hour they showed footage that Anderson Cooper and his crew had taken that day as they traveled around with searchers trying to find survivors among so many houses filled with the bodies of victims. It was wrenching to watch. After rescuers broke into several houses it was obvious that Cooper was himself in shock. He was pale and struggling with tears as he kept repeating over and over "We are the first ones here and the houses have been sealed up for two days with victims inside... and the smell ..... I just can't describe it"
That's all I can really report on. The reporting itself. Katrina went by us with just some roaring wind and a lot of rain. You could smell her though. Ocean carried on the wind. The smell was dangerous and vindictive and I'm very glad that I didn't meet her on a coastline.
The scale of this is larger than can be imagined right now. If there is not some massive movement of funds, personnel, and equipment very soon, I'm afraid the damage from the water will simply be the tip of the iceberg. Too many people with nothing left and nothing to lose are down there struggling to survive and keep their families alive. Given the lead time they had it is inexcusable that it's taking this long for even basic necessities to get to the people. I'm afraid the horror of this is just beginning.
I try not to let it. I say it's wrong and inappropriate, but it just keeps running through my head.
"Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close, close! I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are what they are?"
-The Lord of the Flies