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The Elderly: Helpless and Left to Die. Don't know about it? Well it didn't happen in the USA.
Dawson's Danube ^ | 9/18/2005 11:13:43 PM | Bill Dawson

Posted on 09/19/2005 4:33:20 PM PDT by FreedomCalls

The outrageous coverage of Hurricane Katrina here in Austria and Germany has included many references to “third world” similarities.  See, for example, Ray’s blog posting concerning Stern magazine’s editorial, “Somalia in America’s South.”   The sneering arrogance, the gruesome Schadenfreude and the completely over the top moralizing reminded me of something that occurred two years ago in the United States, which also elicited “third world” references. 

You will recall that on August 14, 2003, an enormous power failure occurred across a huge chunk of the United States and parts of Canada.  On September 5, 2003, I made the following blog entry here:

Third World?

After the blackout that hit the US and Canada, the next issue of Austria's profil magazine contained a two-page story titled "A Bit of the Third World" and with the following eye-catching pull-quote

Why would George W. Bush want to fix up Baghdad's infrastructure, when there is so much to repair at home?
Clever! Whoa, that's like really puttin' things in perspective for me!

This "article" is not labeled as an opinion piece or guest column; it's just an "article" in the International section of this weekly news magazine. But I'll translate the first paragraph and you tell me if you think this "article" is actually an opinion piece written by someone who is obsessed with ... you guessed it:
One thing you can always say about George W. Bush: he makes himself scarce in frightening situations. On [9/11] ... he found himself in Florida and last week, as large parts of the northeast fell into darkness, he was fortunate enough to be in San Diego collecting dough for his reelection campaign, though things were looking gloomy on the other side of the american continent.
This is an opinion piece, whether or not they label it as such. It is written by Martin Kilian. I assume this is Martin Kilian, professional America-hater, who writes for Weltwoche (Switzerland).

The blackout occurred 14. August, and this Kilian "article" appeared in the 18. August issue of profil. I tell you that just to give you a bit of an idea of when one might expect an article about a major event to first appear on the newsstands.

On 11. August, Le Figaro first reported that "the heat wave is killing people" in France.

On 14. August, according to the Washington Post, French government officials reported that at least 3,000 people had died from the heat wave.

By the 21st, the Post reported that the French government had acknowledged that up to 10,000 people may have died.

On 29. August, this CNN report indicated that the toll was actually over 11,000.

Wouldn't you say that 11,000 deaths from heat in a modern and industrialized country such as France could also be compared to the "Third World"? Okay, maybe that's unfair -- we don't want to be like Kilian, after all. But at least it's some pretty big news! Or is it?

The 18. August, 25. August and 1. September issues of profil, as far as I can tell, make absolutely no mention whatsoever of the heat deaths in France..
I later followed-up with a few other postings, including:

You know where I’m going with all of this…  In light of the press’s treatment of the Katrina situation, it is worth revisiting their absolute silence over a nearby catastrophe — totally preventable in ways that the Katrina catastrophe was not — of almost unbelievable proportions. 

When I sat down to write about this today, I realized I had not “checked the facts” since September of 2003.  In much the same way that projections about Katrina’s death toll could turn out to have been wildly off, perhaps the original reports about the deaths during France’s 2003 heatwave also ended up being exaggerations. 

They were not exaggerations.  Eurosurveillance (“Peer-reviewed European information on communicable disease surveillance and control”), an organization that is funded by the European Commission and which, in 2005, “embarked on the process of becoming the regular scientific communication of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)”, recently published a report entitled “Summary of the mortality impact assessment of the 2003 heat wave in France.”

The analysis of death certificates given by the departmental health offices allowed InVS to produce a first estimate on 28 August of 11 435 excess deaths (excess of 55%) between 1 and 15 August 2003 [2]. On 25 September, INSERM estimated the cumulative excess deaths between 1 and 20 August at 14 800 (excess of 60%) [1].The impact was greater for women (70% increase in excess total mortality) than for men (40% increase in excess mortality)(1). This was the case even for same age groups. Excess mortality reached 20% in the 45-74 year age group, 70% in the 75-94 year age group and 20% in people aged 94 years and over [1].
INSERM also showed that during the last third of the month of August and the month of September the mortality had reached the usual level [3]. October and November 2003 showed the usual death rates in every region.


The impact was greater for women (70% increase in excess total mortality) than for men (40% increase in excess mortality)(1). This was the case even for same age groups. Excess mortality reached 20% in the 45-74 year age group, 70% in the 75-94 year age group and 20% in people aged 94 years and over [1]

[see the original for footnote references]

Paris itself experienced a disastrous 142% excess in the mortality rate, meaning more than twice the usual number of people died there between August 1 and August 19, 2003.  This occurred even though the temperature delta in Paris (+6.7) was no higher than, say, Toulouse (+6.6), where the mortality rate suffered an excess of “just” 36%. 

To put Paris’s numbers in a Katrina perspective: according to today’s New York Times online, the death toll in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida — which, I know, will rise — stands at 812.  The excess death count in Paris alone between August 1 and August 19, 2003, was more than double the current Katrina figure: 1,854.  And these were deaths from heat.  I don’t mean to underestimate heat, which I know can be a terrible killer of human beings.  But I just don’t believe that the heat wave of 2003 can be compared to a Category 4–5 hurricane putting an entire major city under water. 

These numbers from France were and are extremely tragic and sad.  Yet let me tell you the following with great certainty:

Athough France is only a hop, skip, and a jump away from Austria…

I want to close by noting something that I think is important.  I realize the gruesome and somewhat catty nature of a tit-for-tat blog entry that compares and contrasts natural disasters in order to make a political point.  It’s embarrassing even to discuss the French tragedy in these terms.  But the overwhelming bias and arrogance displayed by the European media towards the United States should not go unanswered.  The seering heat in the fever swamps of the European press offices blinds its occupants to nearby tragedies that cannot be blamed on the United States.  For the sake of a hopeful, future return to sense and balance, the double-standards and hypocrisies must be exposed whenever they are as glaringly obvious as they are in the case of these two natural disasters.

KEYWORDS: antibush; austria; bush; france; germany; heatwave; hurricane; hypocrisy; katrina; press
He's right. Compare 14,800 dead from a heat wave versus about ~750 dead from a Catagory 4 Hurricane and the hysteria over the hurricane dead is way out of porportion. I guess that's the price we pay for having an open society and competing 24-hour-a-day news outlets. They world sees our dirty underwear and while hiding their own.
1 posted on 09/19/2005 4:33:22 PM PDT by FreedomCalls
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To: FreedomCalls


2 posted on 09/19/2005 4:34:45 PM PDT by ocr1
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To: FreedomCalls

Wow, this is heavy!

3 posted on 09/19/2005 4:38:12 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie
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To: FreedomCalls

Oh and I noticed that they are not subtracting out the "natural" deaths from the figure for deaths related to Katrina. Prior to Katrina there were about 20 obits in the Times-Picayune every day. So 20 people a day would have died in New Orleans with or without a hurricane. Those deaths should not be reported as hurricane-related (unless you are trying to inflate the numbers).

4 posted on 09/19/2005 4:40:11 PM PDT by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty," not the "Statue of Security.")
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To: ocr1
"The Elderly: Helpless and Left to Die. Don't know about it? Well it didn't happen in the USA."

Oh really. well the MSM and Clinton did all they could to cover it up. but:

Where was Clinton, Dewitt and FEMA in 1995? During the month of July heat wave of that year in Chicago, in spite of repeated warnings of the impending disaster, all of them stood by and let well over 1,000 (even higher if counting those who were admitted to hospitals and died later) poor, disabled and mostly Black elderly die alone and unaided in one week. Why did Clinton, Dewitt's FEMA and Chicago Mayor Daley not follow their own heat disaster plan?

Why did Clinton and FEMA down play the number of dead? Why were so many of the unclaimed dead stuffed into pine boxes and buried unceremoniously in mass graves? Why was this hushed up in the MSM after several independent studies and resulting reports laid the blame directly upon all of them.

Picture of mass grave from Slate. ( I had the link to full story at Slate archives, but they have now pulled it)
5 posted on 09/19/2005 5:45:19 PM PDT by Ursus arctos horribilis ("It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!" Emiliano Zapata 1879-1919)
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To: FreedomCalls

I live overseas and my news sources on TV are the BBC and CNN International. I can tell you that if you have been watching international news during this disaster, all you have gotten is a very distorted Bush/America bashing view with less facts and more rumors/lies than the Americans have gotten.

6 posted on 09/19/2005 7:07:59 PM PDT by Elyse
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To: Ursus arctos horribilis

...and all the while our "progressive" friends ask us to show them where the supposed "liberal media" is.

One doesn't need to look far to find it as evidenced here.

The real problem is not only to show the hypocrisy but to show the deeply ingrained slant through which these people view the world.

7 posted on 09/20/2005 11:30:34 AM PDT by Grey Conservative
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