Left In Lowell

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September 7, 2005

MA/NE Relief Effort Moving Forward Fast

by at 10:56 am.

Sorry I was not able to post yesterday, lots of things are happening and I’m fairly busy.

So, the MA/NE Katrina relief group is hitting the ground running, and Greta’s family, whom I posted about yesterday, will be able to reach New England (and since I last wrote, more family members have hooked in with them, and also will be able to afford to drive up here as well because of the generous donations of my own readers and others). They are leaving Jefferson Parish today I believe, and making their way north. I can’t thank you all enough for what you’ve done so far. I’m simply stunned. But there’s so much more work to be done, so stay with me.

Our new group, now tentatively called ARKS New England (Aid and Relief for Katrina Survivors), has a new website where donations can be made directly to ARKS online. Our name is subject to changes - because we have emergency requests to attend to, we couldn’t spend the time to come to consensus on silly things like names and website domains. That can all be adjusted later, we figure.

The latest news is that the state of MA is on hold in bringing up the 2500 to Otis, because, they say, people don’t want to leave the area where their homes once were. I’m certain that many are worried about the motives of the government in relocation - will they eminent domain their homes and give them away? Will survivors be even allowed to return?

We’re doing a more human, person-to-person contact and I think this mass movement of thousands by the Red Cross, the states, and (*cough*) FEMA, while more efficient, is probably making survivors very nervous. ARKS coordinator Katrina has already made contacts with Louisiana churches and mosques that are overwhelmed with survivors and she says they are excited about our group, because they cannot forever support the many who are using their facilities as shelters, and more come all the time. From what I’m hearing, I don’t think we will have much trouble finding hundreds who will want to come to the northeast, personally. And as time goes on, and it sinks in that NO will not be habitable for a very long time, many will likely realize they can’t live in the Astrodome or convention centers for months or years, and we are preparing for that day as well.

You can still sign up for the email discussion list, but I warn you, it’s high volume right now as we settle in to a process. If you want to be an active member of ARKS I suggest you do sign up. If not, I will start making a list of “announcement” email addresses which will only get periodic reports, or you can check the website for our progress. That way, when we call on volunteers or donors or have needs, we can let you know immediately, but otherwise, you won’t be inundated. Just email me at lynne -at leftinlowell dots com.

5 Responses to “MA/NE Relief Effort Moving Forward Fast”

  1. Mariposa Says:

    Lynne, thanks for keeping us all in the loop about this. This is a very exciting proposition and speaks to our progressive, grassroots mentality about getting things done person by person, if need be.

    I’m not sure where your group is on supplies and whatnot, but if you all need anything, please let me know. I was hoping to organize a supply drive here in Townsend for the folks coming to Otis, but since it appears for now that they aren’t coming, we might just go with a Red Cross fundraiser.

  2. Lynne Says:

    I’ll tell you that personally, I am NOT impressed with the Red Cross. Reports have come in that they did not go anywhere near NOLA and still to this day aren’t in the city, that their policy is to wait on the outskirts for people to come to them. Well, the people couldn’t come, could they? And if you aren’t in their system - i.e. people who had their own cars and fled in them, like Greta’s family, staying in churches or hotels temporarily, are having trouble getting any help or funds to find better shelter even in cases where they already have a place to go, they just need money to get there.

    We will be looking at supplies donations ASAP, but we need funds now, so like everyone else, I guess we’re asking people for fundraisers and donations of money first, but it will not be long at all before we need and want clothing and goods and food donations as well.

  3. Planted in Medford Says:

    I am also unimpressed with the Red Cross, to put it mildly. By complicity, they are guilty of causing deaths. Here are their excuses for doing nothing to save the lives of people who were trapped in New Orleans:

    “Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

    “The state Homeland Security Department had requested–and continues to request–that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city. ”

    More at:
    http://www.redcross.org/faq/0,1096,0_682_4524,00.html

  4. Mariposa Says:

    There are many reasons to blame for the slow relief effort to the gulf states, but the Red Cross is not one of them. The RC isn’t in NOLA today because NOBODY should be in NOLA. First, the RC is not a search and rescue operation and second, NOLA is a toxic waste dump now and will be for some time. People are already dying of cholera-type infections.

    I’ve supported RC for many years now and I’ve always found them to be very professional and compassionate. They do the best they can, but they aren’t the government (at any level) and don’t make decisions about who gets access to a disaster site.

    Your disaster relief satisfaction may vary.

  5. Lynne Says:

    It’s good to hear multiple perspectives on this.

    I’m also reacting to some of the hardships they aren’t helping with here (RE people trying to get here to stay with family) either. People are having immediate difficulties, though maybe it’s supposed to be FEMA that’s doing those jobs…it’s all such a mess.

    Thanks, FEMA and Bush!

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