Imagine this….in the span of 8 days you are surrounded by fire, evacuated from a place you call home and placed in a shelter (Qualcomm Stadium) where you are afraid, disoriented but at least feel safe from the fires and are being fed. Then you find out – only 3-4 days later (still in shock and disbelief from losing your home) that you will actually be booted out of Qualcomm Stadium so the football game can take place on Sunday (it is our understanding that the head of the NFL called Mayor Sanders and told him the game would take place in San Diego and relocating it to Houston was NOT an option – we do not know if Sanders gave any push back to this demand).
Now you are shuttled off to the Del Mar Fairgrounds for shelter…only to be booted out of there within a couple of days. The evacuees were given around 24 hours notice to get out of Del Mar fairgrounds after barely just arriving. When one of our reporters asked an American Red Cross worker where the evacuees would go next she stated she did not know but they would “probably be taken to other shelters or something”. “Other shelters or something” ? This is happening in less than 24 hours and if the Red Cross does not know who does?
This worker was also asked what items the evacuees needed at this time. Her response was “I don’t know you would have to go back and ask them” . When the reporter went back to ask them there were bold signs stating “Donations at this location were no longer needed”. She went up to the evacuees and asked if this was true. Many told her, in fact, it was not as they needed clothes, strollers, baby items…they were rattling off lists of things needed and stated the signs were put up because they were making them leave the next day at 12:30PM so they did not want to have to deal with excess donations. These items that were donated and still there would be hauled off by Goodwill the next day.
It is a shame when people give freely, only to find their donations are being abused by the actual organizations who solicited the help in the first place. When did we start treating people like cattle to be shuttled off to one uncaring place after another? Where was the media once the clowns and entertainment went away and only the ugly truth of the brutal impacting events lay bare for all to see.
Is it not surprising that there was much frustration among evacuees regarding the American Red Cross and FEMA. This video series only shares the raw feelings and beliefs of San Diego County Fire evacuees as recorded by the reporters. Although it is believed among most of the evacuees that, once again, the Red Cross and FEMA dropped the ball during a National Disaster there were some words of praise given to the everyday volunteers who had not yet become desensitized by the system. It is our belief that many join such organizations to help their fellow man and they volunteer because they have a true calling to help others. However, like many organizations, the bureaucracy and desensitization of those at the top impede the good intentions of the volunteers at the bottom.
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