Hell, we'll even settle for Geraldo

Here is a little more on the American Red Cross response or lack thereof to Hurricane Rita victims in eastern Texas.

Local TV news reports in the Beaumont area yesterday indicated a fiasco for the ARC’s first day of opening assistance centers. A number of residence in counties to the north of the coast which also were hard hit by Rita have said the Red Cross told them their lists do not show those areas were damaged despite having a presidential disaster declaration (and that people are living in the wake of the storm like their 19th century ancestors).

Individuals have also been told they cannot receive the $360 per person per household in ARC assistance unless their residence sustained damage. This is despite the enormous expense many incurred evacuating as well as returning to homes with no electricity or water.

In Beaumont, Jefferson County Judge Carl Griffith said this area — which was among the first to take in victims of Hurricane Katrina — was not receiving the same aid given to Katrina victims by the Red Cross. Griffith said yesterday that he thinks the reason is that the national media is no longer covering the recovery from Hurricane Rita and thus the ARC no longer has its feet to the fire over the job being done here.

I think the national media has been very short-sighted throughout the hurricane season. It seems a disproportionate amount of time was spent on covering New Orleans as opposed to other areas such as the Mississippi Gulf Coast. That isn’t to say New Orleans wasn’t and isn’t a big story. It is. I just think the ongoing recovery efforts in Mississippi, other areas of Louisiana, Texas, and even Florida from last year’s hurricanes, deserve more attention than they are getting.

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