Thursday, August 24, 2006

Just give him more time, please

I mean that headline with overwhelming sarcasm.

The Chicago Tribune:
WASHINGTON -- President Bush on Wednesday reassured still-struggling victims of Hurricane Katrina that he has not forgotten them, but he warned that recovery will not be achieved by the first anniversary of the devastating storm.

"It's a time to remember that people suffered, and it's a time to recommit ourselves to helping them," Bush said after meeting in the Oval Office with Rockey Vaccarella, who lost his home to Katrina. "But I also want people to remember that a one-year anniversary is just that because it's going to require a long time to help these people rebuild."
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
FORT WORTH, Texas - Dot McLeod's post-Katrina world is defined by the bare, white walls of a one-bedroom apartment in a city where she is a stranger.

McLeod, in her late 70s, is confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk since September, when the helicopter rescuing her from the hurricane's floodwaters sputtered and knocked her against a roof. Her New Orleans home destroyed, she was taken to Texas - and left here.

McLeod is lost - sad, lonely and homesick. She has no one to take her out, nor anywhere to go in this foreign place. In the last year, she has felt the sun on her face only about five times. She cannot give visitors directions to her building because she does not know where it is. She assumes the facility caters to senior citizens because she sees so many of them from her window.

"I've never seen anything but this room," McLeod said during a recent interview. "I would like to go home, but everybody says there's nothing to go home to."

McLeod is one of thousands of elderly evacuees whisked away from their southeast Louisiana homes in Katrina's wake and dumped in cities hundreds of miles away. Like so many others, McLeod owned her home but had no flood insurance, meaning she lost everything she knew and owned, and received a pittance in return.

In New Orleans, although she had no husband or children, she had a close-knit network of neighbors, a grocery store she could walk to, a paid-off property with low taxes. Now she has just one friend - a fellow New Orleanian who shares her tiny apartment - and she relies on Meals on Wheels, waiting nervously for the daily knock because the delivery man will take the food and leave if no one answers the door immediately. Her $650 monthly Social Security check, once more than enough to live on, is no longer sufficient.

"I didn't need anything else in New Orleans," she said. "It costs three times as much here."


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