Medical evacuations from the Superdome stadium have been disrupted after a gun shot was fired at a rescue helicopter. Suspending the helicopter rescues at the Superdome, a spokesman for the Louisiana ambulance service told the BBC the crowd had grown unruly and he was concerned for the safety of his staff.
On tonight's news, CTV (Canadian TV) said that support was offered from Canada. Planes are ready to load with food and medical supplies and a system called "DART" which can provide fresh water and medical supplies is standing by. Department of Homeland Security as well as other U.S. agencies were contacted by the Canadian government requesting permission to provide help. Despite this contact, Canada has not been allowed to fly supplies and personnel to the areas hit by Katrina. So, everything here is grounded. Prime Minister Paul Martin is reportedly trying to speak to President Bush tonight or tomorrow to ask him why the U.S. federal government will not allow aid from Canada into Louisiana and Mississippi. That said, the Canadian Red Cross is reportedly allowed into the area.
Canadian agencies are saying that foreign aid is probably not being permitted into Louisiana and Mississippi because of "mass confusion" at the U.S. federal level in the wake of the storm.
Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes. A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice's timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, "How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!" Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.
Lots of good linkage and commentary from Tom Tomorrow:
We've all made a lot of jokes about the Department of Homeland Security over the past four years. But apparently, the Department of Homeland Security has absolutely no plan for dealing with devastation on this scale, which is supposedly the thing we've all been worried about for four years.
interdictor runs an ISP atop a highrise in New Orleans, and is posting regular horrific updates:
National Guard shoving water off the backs of trucks. They're just pushing it off without stopping, people don't even know it's there at first -- they drop it on the side in debris, there's no sign or distribution point -- people are scared to go near it at first, because the drop points are guarded by troops or federal agents with assault rifles who don't let people come near them, which scares people off. It is a mess.
But the economic damage from closing the Port of Southern Louisiana for up to three months is huge -- plausibly equal to 5% of the US balance of trade with the rest of the world. I can't put a figure on that total, but I'd be surprised if it isn't an order of magnitude more than the $25-30Bn insurance costs, and possibly even higher than the cost to date of the Iraq war and occupation ($200Bn).
What are the likely consequences (locally and globally) of blowing a 5% of GDP sized hole under the waterline of the US economy?
Coming up next: cholera!