An Archive of Jacob Appelbaum’s Post-Katrina weblog

Red Cross seizure of community medical equipment at gun point?

Posted in algiers,fema,Katrina,media,supplies by jacob on September 11, 2005

It’s really strange hearing so many people being angry with the Red Cross. I thought these guys were the good guys, right? I’m sure they are good people doing good things and that it was simply a mistake.

At the moment I’m sitting in this very same meeting that Joel just wrote about. The people at this meeting are really trying to setup a medical center for the community. We’re right across the river from the city center, across from people who are afraid to leave, who don’t know what’s going on, who don’t know how poisonous the area has become. These people being a part of the community before Hurricane Katrina are the best people on the ground to run the community after Katrina. I think it’s safe to say that these people are the real deal. They want to add vitamins to the hygiene packets, more things to keep people clean and healthy. They’re in need of multi-vitamins and hopefully they’ll get more soon.

I’m not really surprised that the Red Cross has the ability to use FEMA agents as armed guards. FEMA should guard them. FEMA should guard everyone. The Red Cross is doing important work, they’re saving lives. However, I’m really surprised they’re allowed to hold people at gun point and seize their belongings without any questions. This isn’t the Red Cross I grew up reading about is it? Is this possible? A reporter from Air America plans to follow up with the Red Cross about this. Here is another initial report of the seizure.

The people in New Orleans don’t all trust the Red Cross. Many of the people are afraid to leave, afraid to seek help, sick, wounded and these people are probably the best people to help.

More updates to come on this story as it’s pretty much a halfhearted rumor at best. Currently the guy from Air America is on the phone with this person. 

This is some sort of Grim Meathook Future alright.


10 Responses to 'Red Cross seizure of community medical equipment at gun point?'

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  1. heatheranne said,

    It’s all very sad. For certain, there is no perfect solution, but this is far from acceptable.

  2. jacob said,

    I agree. Nothing is perfect but certianly these people should be held accountable. It’s an emergency but it’s not time to simply stifle everyone who isn’t the Red Cross.

  3. […] then Jacob Appelbaum’s weblog » Red Cross seizure of community medical equipment at gun point? […]

  4. […] On a cheerier note, there have also been reports of the Red Cross and FEMA seizing medical equipment brought in by volunteers — equipment and supplies actually being transported FOR the Red Cross. […]

  5. kellan said,

    Red Cross are not the “good guys”. Might be instructive to ask around SF for people’s perceptions of Red Cross in ’89 (or come down to Santa Cruz where people are still angry).

    They merely are *very* good at being on the scene with food, water, and blankets, fast. Not particularily efficient, not particularily humanitarian, but very fast. Its an important task, but it in no way makes them the good guys.

  6. Red cross confiscating their own shipments?

    There’s something funny going on with the Red Cross now in New Orleans. A Red Cross volunteer trying to bring medical supplies from Covington to Algiers is claiming that he was detained by police for 11 hours and had his supplies confiscated:

  7. Ian McKellar said,

    Remember, this is not the Red Cross, this is the American Red Cross who have been withholding funds from the International Committee of the Red Cross for the past five or so years.

    They generally seem to be a fair bit sketchier than the International Red Cross.

  8. softci said,


  9. desiccant said,


  10. Bob Stuart said,


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