Obviously the whole of Spain shares in the grief and horror as the news bulletins are dominated by the awful situation in New Orleans and surrounding areas. Yesterday it emerged that three Spanish families are trapped in the Convention Center in New Orleans in dramatic conditions. One of the Spaniards is a Member of Parliament for the Catalan Socialist Party and she managed to speak by phone on Spanish radio yesterday to describe the situation.
Lourdes Muñoz Santamaría, the Spanish MP was on holiday in New Orleans with her partner and their 10-year old son when the hurricane hit the city. They were staying in a hotel in the Convention Center, and last night on Spanish radio she said the situation there was completely out of control. She sounded desperate – as desperate as all the poor people there who must wonder if and when they will be rescued from the hell of the last few days.
The Spanish MP said they had had no food or water for 24 hours, because hotel employees had raided the kitchens of the hotel to take food and water home to their families, and emergency aid was non-existent.
She said that unless they were rescued soon, she didn’t know what would happen, that there was no organization or authority and that the center and its surroundings were in “total chaos, “like the jungle where the only law is survival of the fittest”. She said that bodies lined the corridors of the Convention Center, that when some buses had arrived to transport people trapped in the center to another destination a “human avalanche” ocurred, because of the lack of control, and that people tried to hijack buses that drove past without stopping.
Today the Spanish government has confirmed that the other two Spanish families in New Orleans have joined Lourdes Muñoz Santamaria and her family in the Convention Center and they are all waiting to be rescued.
The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister told Spanish media yesterday that the Spanish government was doing all it could to secure the rescue of the Spanish tourists, and that it had offered its help to the US Government.
This Guardian blog post describes how people can help the relief work in New Orleans