Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New Orleans turns to foreign aid

(Stash, thanks for the prodding...here's an initial post to get the ball rolling...BB)

Well, it’s official: We’re now a "Third World" country. It’s been nearly two years since Hurricane Katrina, and we have yet to seriously attempt to restore one of the most-fabled U.S. cities.

Becky Bohrer of The Associated Press reports that NOLA city leaders are talking to foreign countries for assistance in rebuilding.

Kenya Smith, director of intergovernmental relations for Mayor Ray Nagin, said city leaders are talking with more than five countries. He wouldn't identify the countries, saying discussions were in the early stages. But he said the city is "very serious" about pursuing foreign help.

"Of course, we would love to have all the resources we need from federal and state partners, but we're comfortable now in having to be creative," Smith said. He did not know if the city would have to overcome any obstacles if it got firm pledges for aid, but "we want to make sure we're leaving no options unexplored."

For months Nagin has complained bureaucracy is choking the flow of much-needed federal aid dollars to New Orleans - slowing the city's recovery. As of June 8, the city said it had received just over half of the $320 million FEMA has obligated for rebuilding city infrastructure and emergency response-related costs. The city has estimated its damage at far more than that - at least $1 billion. And that doesn't include other improvements - such as raised neighborhoods - meant to help build the stronger city promoted by Nagin and his recovery director.

Discussions with foreign representatives have been occurring off and on since the storm, but Smith said the city became re-engaged after a news report in April that millions of dollars in aid offered by foreign countries after Hurricane Katrina went unaccepted.

Yikes. The Bush administration had a chance to redeem itself after the "heck of a job" it did in the in the immediate wake of the storm. Instead it’s chosen to make the recovery of NOLA one of the "crown jewels" in its legacy of failure, leaving the city to fend for itself.

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At 11:31 AM, Blogger Stash said...

Louisianna, as soveriegn state, should contact Cuba or Venezuela for assistance seeing as how they can't get any from the United States.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger bleeding blue said...

The Bush administration turned down foriegn aid offers to the tune of 800 million after the storm, with hardly a "thanks, but no thanks".

You're on your own with these guys currently "in charge".


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