* must read * The Hurricane Andrew Cover-up

2005-09-16

Richard Moore

Friends,

I thought the Katrina response was unprecedented. I was wrong.
Way wrong.

rkm

        "No! No!" I cried out. "You don't understand. I need to get to
        a hospital. I've been badly injured."

        "No! You're the one who doesn't understand," he hissed back.
             
         With that, he reached over to his holster and took out his
        gun. He grabbed me, forcing me up against the side of the car,
        and proceeded to put the barrel of the gun against my temple.
        I heard the hammer cock.

--------------------------------------------------------
http://www.nexusmagazine.com/articles/hurricane.html

Deadly Silences 
The Hurricane Andrew Cover-up 

The authorities grossly understated the death toll from
hurricane Andrew, the worst natural disaster in US history,
and left thousands of survivors to die in a zone contaminated
by radiation.

Extracted from Nexus Magazine, Volume 8, Number 3 
PO Box 30, Mapleton Qld 4560 Australia. •••@••.••• 
Telephone: +61 (0)7 5442 9280; Fax: +61 (0)7 5442 9381 
From our web page at: www.nexusmagazine.com 

© by k.t. Frankovich © 2000/01 
PO Box 703, Umatilla, Florida 32784 USA 
E-mail: •••@••.••• 
Website: http://www.whereheavensmeet.com 

THE EMERGENCY ALERT THAT CAME TOO LATE

The largest natural disaster ever recorded in the history of
the United States was hurricane Andrew, which struck South
Dade County, Florida, as midnight turned the clock into August
24, 1992. Contrary to what the American news media broadcast
across the United States and throughout Europe, the first
outer wall of the hurricane unexpectedly slammed into South
Dade, packing 214+ mph winds which quickly escalated to 350+
mph. Most of the 414,151 residents living in the danger zone
were asleep when the outer wall struck. Thousands of them lost
their lives, for no one in South Dade had been evacuated or
even advised to evacuate. Instead, residents had been
repeatedly informed by local news media that South Dade should
expect to experience "50 mph winds".

By 11.00 am the following morning, 8,230 mobile homes along
with 9,140 apartments had vanished off the face of the Earth.
The Hiroshima-like horror was beyond catastrophic. Entire
families perished in ways too horrifying to describe. The
stench of death had already begun to saturate miles and miles
of the massive devastation; the hot humid air was reeking with
foul, rotting flesh.

How do I know? Because I was in the midst of it all.

Never will I forget the frantic, last-minute "emergency alert"
broadcast that was aired on television just before all hell
broke loose. My son and I had the TV on, hoping to catch an
updated report on the hurricane, when the screen suddenly went
blank with a loud warning signal. Before we knew it, a
panic-stricken voice began the announcement:

We interrupt this program to bring you an emergency alert from
the National Broadcast Emergency Center. This is an emergency
alert! I repeat, this is an emergency alert! The outer winds
of hurricane Andrew have just reached the Florida coast.
Hurricane Andrew has unexpectedly shifted five degrees south.
I repeat, Hurricane Andrew has shifted five degrees south.
Andrew is expected to strike South Dade within minutes. I
repeat, Andrew is expected to strike South Dade within
minutes. All South Dade residents should take immediate cover!
I repeat, all South Dade residents should take immediate
cover! This is an emergency alert!

Our tiny pre-fab apartment, which was nothing more than a
glorified mobile home, had been constructed to withstand
maximum wind speeds of 90 mph. The blood-curdling announcement
gripped us both. Paralysed by sheer terror, our bulging eyes
stayed glued to the television as the voice continued.

All South Dade residents are advised to stay put! Do not
attempt to leave the area!

Within seconds, we actually heard hurricane Andrew bearing
down on us, slamming into us with all the force of a speeding
locomotive. The horrendous wall of winds crashed against our
tiny apartment like an exploding bomb! Glasses flew off the
kitchen counter, shattering onto the quaking floor. Hanging
pictures plunged straight down the walls towards the ground.
The huge hanging mirror crashed on top of the television set,
spraying the living room with shattered glass. The entire
apartment resembled a rickety old train, shaking fiercely out
of control while rumbling down a railroad track. The
screeching winds quickly transformed into the piercing,
monotone hum of a jet engine, sounding as if it had sucked us
inside! It was so deafening, all other noises ceased to exist.
It felt like a monstrous earthquake-and-tornado hitting at the
same time!

Before either one of us could react, the metal front door of
our apartment began to peel steadily downward towards the
floor, like a piece of wet, limp paper. Then the voracious
jaws of Andrew attacked for the final kill. A mega-giant,
two-storey-tall, solid concrete transformer pole with
electrical cables attached, torpedoed right through our living
room wall and roof, exploding the entire building on impact!
And that was just the beginning.

 

ATROCITIES IN THE AFTERMATH

There isn't a person on the face of this Earth who will ever
convince me that hurricane Andrew was a "hurricane" by any
sense of the definition. Just ask any survivor of Andrew what
the six-and-a-half-hour siege was like and the answer will
always be the same. "We didn't have any prior warning. We
heard hurricane Andrew suddenly bearing down on us like a
speeding locomotive." This is the same description given by
survivors of monstrous F-5 tornadoes (packing winds of 350+
mph)--the only difference being that tornadoes strike for just
seconds, whereas hurricane Andrew struck and stayed for hours
on end.

The injuries of those who survived were mind-boggling. I had a
broken jaw with eight teeth knocked out. Huge shards of glass
impaled my body so deeply, they were impossible to remove
without the aid of a scalpel. My head injuries were so severe
that they permanently affected my eyesight.

But I was only one amongst thousands of severely injured
victims who struggled to survive the aftermath. For ten long
days we were roped off from the outside world by United States
military forces, leaving us stranded with no food, no water,
no medical supplies, no shelter. Suffering from severe
shell-shock, we waited and waited for rescue teams to arrive,
but that just never happened. None of the injured in the
roped-off areas was ever rescued from the devastation. It was
the worst gut-wrenching betrayal I have ever experienced. I
saw grown men lying on the ground in the foetal position,
moaning and groaning pathetically as they tried to hug and
rock themselves. My son was amongst them.

Don't get me wrong. United States military forces were indeed
present in the roped-off areas within hours of Andrew ending.
But they were not there to help survivors. The National Guard
along with the Coast Guard, the Army, FEMA (the Federal
Emergency Management Agency), Metro Dade Police, state police
and local police removed dead bodies and body parts as quickly
as possible during those first ten days of the aftermath.
Horrified survivors watched as both uniformed and civilian-
clothed men searched the rubble and filled body bags, which
they then stacked in military vehicles or huge refrigerator
trucks normally used to transport food, only to drive off and
leave the stranded injured to fend for themselves.

Not until I managed to escape the aftermath did I discover
that the "thermo-king" sections of these same refrigerator
trucks, jam-packed with wall-to-wall body bags, ended up being
stored at Card Sound Navy Base, located in an isolated area
just above the Florida Keys. The inside temperature was kept
cool by portable generators until the bodies were either
incinerated or just plain dumped into huge open grave pits.

Those working on the body pick-up operation were forced to
take what is known as the Oath of Sworn Secrecy, which is
strictly enforced by the government. Many of them plunged into
shock, once exposed to the ghastly devastation and countless
mutilated bodies.

The horrors were way beyond human comprehension. I can vouch
for this, as I accidentally stepped on the severed hand of a
young child when I initially crawled out of the debris, only
to witness shortly thereafter two dead teenagers and the
decapitated body of a baby girl.

Fighting mental shock became such a big problem for the body
pick-up teams that a special group of psychiatrists had to be
brought in to help them cope with it. I believe this in itself
is the reason why many who worked on the body collection
didn't comprehend the tragic consequences this would
inevitably lead to in the future.

The survivors of hurricane Andrew and the rest of the American
people were betrayed by their own government. But the betrayal
also extended to foreign nationals. At the time Andrew struck,
South Dade was inhabited by a large population of Mexican
illegal immigrants. The United States Department of
Immigration was fully aware of their presence but quietly
turned its back on the situation, knowing full well that South
Dade farmers couldn't afford to harvest their crops without
the help of the Mexican illegals. The heavily populated
migrant camps were situated at the edge of the Florida
Everglades. The people who lived there vanished without a
trace during that fated night. Many bodies were found way out
in the Everglades.

When I lectured at the Clearwater Convention in Florida in
1999, a man in the audience stood up and introduced himself as
Chief Petty Officer Roy Howard. He proceeded to address the
audience with this exact statement, which is now a matter of
public record:

Just for your information, I was called up to active duty
after hurricane Andrew went through South Dade County. I spent
nine weeks down there. Now I will certify for the benefit of
our audience here that the death figures that were officially
published are totally inaccurate. According to the information
which I received from my own sources within the National
Guard, the figure I was quoted when I was down there was
5,280-something. And they were quietly disposed of in
incinerators that were hurriedly put together by both the
National Guard and FEMA...

As the Chief Petty Officer stated, "5,280-something" bodies
were confiscated by the United States National Guard. In
addition to this, the Coast Guard independently confiscated
"1,500 bodies" from the lakes and surrounding waters. Neither
one of these figures embraces the number of dead bodies
confiscated by other branches of federal and state government
directly involved in the body pick-up operation. This leaves
the number of dead confiscated by various US authorities in
South Dade still unknown.

The total number who died during hurricane Andrew is obviously
staggering, yet whenever the "official death toll" is
mentioned in the media, a figure of anywhere between 15 and 59
is quoted. The population of the 21 communities annihilated by
Andrew's eye-wall had been officially recorded by the Dade
County Census Bureau as 415,151 before Andrew struck.

Bodies of human beings confiscated and disposed-of like
rubbish, as if their lives had no more worth or meaning than a
piece of discarded litter--it's horrifying to be suddenly
confronted by the same kind of atrocities as perpetrated by
the Nazis. Once again repeating history, a master-minded
cover-up was dutifully carried out by armed military forces,
right smack in the midst of horrendous human suffering.

To complete this historical comparison, in the same way that
many residents who lived near Nazi concentration camps were
unaware or in denial of the atrocities close by, so too were
many residents who were located just outside the catastrophic
devastation left behind by Andrew's eye-wall.

 

GOVERNMENT BETRAYAL

So what actually did take place when Andrew survivors tried to
get help from those collecting dead bodies in the aftermath?
Well, I for one can give a first-hand account.

About the third day into the aftermath, a long line of police
cars cautiously drove into my area during the late afternoon.
We had not had contact with any other people from outside the
devastation up until this point. There were approximately 12
to 15 police cars comprising this caravan, each marked from
different locations throughout the state. Each car was driven
by a man dressed in a dark police uniform and had three other
plain-clothed men riding as passengers, making a total of four
men in each vehicle.

Someone from our group spotted the caravan and ran to get me,
knowing that I had been badly injured and urgently needed
emergency medical help. My twenty-five-year-old son and one
other adult male survivor helped escort me to the caravan. We
hurried towards the lead car. It stopped moving when we
approached the driver's side. The officer sitting behind the
wheel rolled down the window. For a few moments he rudely
ignored us, at one point giving us an impatient look of
disgust.

This is the exact conversation and course of events that took
place.

"Please, sir, I need medical help," I begged, barely able to
speak.

The officer sitting behind the wheel sighed heavily. He turned
his head away from me and gazed out his windshield. The other
three men in the car quietly looked at me.

"Sir, please, I need to get to a hospital...," I begged
frantically.

The officer took his time about reaching over to turn off the
engine. With another sigh, he slowly opened the door and
climbed out. He then proceeded to close the door and stood
there with his legs spread astride.

"Lady, do me a favour," he answered. "Find yourself a piece of
paper and a pencil. Write down your name and social security
number next to the telephone number of your nearest living
relative. Tuck the piece of paper in your pocket so tomorrow,
when I find your body, I'll know who to contact."

"No! No!" I cried out. "You don't understand. I need to get to
a hospital. I've been badly injured."

"No! You're the one who doesn't understand," he hissed back.

With that, he reached over to his holster and took out his
gun. He grabbed me, forcing me up against the side of the car,
and proceeded to put the barrel of the gun against my temple.
I heard the hammer cock.

From the position he had pushed me into, I could see directly
into the car. The man sitting in the front passenger seat
looked away from me immediately, glancing down at the floor.
The two passengers in the back seat turned their heads
quickly, staring out the window on the opposite side of the
car.

My son and the other survivor watched as the officer had
pulled back the hammer on the gun. So shocked out of their
minds by what they were witnessing, neither one could move!

"You don't belong here!" the officer growled, pressing the
barrel into the side of my head. "Now you get the hell outta
here before I blow away your ass!"

He shoved my face into the car window and then released me.
Someone grabbed me from behind and whirled me around so fast,
I didn't have time to think! Before I knew it, I was being
thrown over a shoulder. My rescuer took off running as fast as
he could! I caught a brief glimpse of my son running next to
me. With one gigantic leap, he and the survivor who carried
me, dove behind a pile of debris. All three of us crashed on
top of each other in one tangled-up heap.

"I'll shoot your damn asses!" the officer's voice rang out.

 

When hurricane Andrew slammed into South Dade, the State
Attorney of Florida was none other than Janet Reno. Her office
was located at the Dade County Court House in the City of
Miami. The President of the United States was President George
H.W. Bush, and the Vice-President was Dan Quayle. Bill Clinton
was running for President, and Al Gore for Vice-President.
Senator Bob Graham held office, and the late Lawton Chiles was
Governor of Florida. His successor turned out to be Jeb Bush,
still the Governor of Florida and, ironically enough, the son
of former President Bush whose other son, George W. Bush, the
then Governor of Texas, has since become the "self-selected"
President of the United States...

Curious how the United States Government evacuated Homestead
Air Force Base just before hurricane Andrew struck, yet never
released the information to the civilians of South Dade.

"This is worse than anything we saw in Saudi," said Master Sgt
Lester Richardson (who had spent six months in the Middle East
during Operation Desert Storm) one week into the aftermath.
"These people need a miracleÉ"

The survivors did need "a miracle", but what we got instead
didn't resemble anything near it.

 

MEDIA UNDERSTATEMENT

While we remained roped off from the outside world by Metro
Dade Police and the military, the news media reported grossly
understated information from the first day onward.

On August 24, 1992, the morning hurricane Andrew ended, the
Miami Herald broke with: Andrew Hits Hardest in South Dade.
Five thousand people were left homeless by the storm, Metro
Dade Police Director announced. They'll be moved into shelters
in North Dade.

Over subsequent days, the Miami Herald read as follows:

August 25, 1992: Destruction at Dawn. Among worst hit in the
Country Walk area of South Dade, few homes escaped at least
minor damage and many were utterly destroyed. 10 killed in
Dade.

August 27, 1992: The Toll Rises. 22 dead as the search
continues. 63,000 homes destroyed. 175,000 homeless. 1 million
without power.

August 28, 1992: WE NEED HELP. Relief effort collapsing due to
United States inaction, Metro charges. Aid us now or more will
die, Feds told. As Dade County's hurricane relief effort
neared collapse Thursday, more than 1,500 airborne US soldiers
were ordered into the county to cope with what is now being
called the worst natural disaster in United States history.
The move came after a day of bitter sniping among agencies
that share responsibility for the relief effort. United States
aid official Wallace Stickler stated: "Andrew has caused more
destruction and affected more people than any disaster America
has ever had." Dade County's Emergency Director pleaded for
federal help, one angry voice among many that spoke in dire
terms of needs unmet. Frustrated to the point of tears, Kate
Hale said that the relief project was on the brink of
collapse, a victim of incompetence and political games: "Where
the hell is the cavalry on this one? We need food! We need
water! We need people! If we do not get more food into the
south end [South Dade] in a very short period of time, we are
going to have more casualties! "We have a catastrophic
disaster. We are hours away from more casualties. We are
essentially the walking wounded. We have appealed through the
State to the Federal Government. We've had a lot of people
down here for press conferences. But Dade County is on its
own. Dade County is being caught in the middle of something
and we are being victimized. "Quit playing like a bunch of
kids and get us aid! Sort out your political games afterward!"

On the same day Hale made the desperate plea, Miami Herald
staff writers Martin Merzer and Tom Fiedler wrote: The
question echoed through the debris Thursday: If we can do it
for Bangladesh, for the Philippines, for the Kurds of northern
Iraq, why in God's name can't we deliver basic necessities of
life to the ravaged population of our own Gold Coast?" The
short answer: because no single person or agency is in charge.
The result: a planeload of food and equipment is still a
rarity. Instead of delivering goods, helicopter pilots shuttle
government officials who just sit idle. Metro police turn away
individuals trying to bring in food or water to a barren South
Dade.

On August 29, 1992, six days into the aftermath, the Miami
Herald reported: Problems Plague Red Cross. The man on the
phone wanted to donate 100 electric generators, extension
cords and enough tools to build a small subdivision. But the
operator who took his call at the Red Cross Command Center in
Miami had no idea what to do with the offer. "We get a call,
we take a message, we give it to somebody who signs it to
somebody else," said the operator, Melitta de Liefd. "We have
no idea what happens to it. The whole place is being run by
senior citizens and college kids." Welcome to Red Cross
headquarters--where the brains of Dade County rescue effort
have been knocked almost unconscious most of the week. Callers
offering services and supplies are put on hold. Others can't
get through at all. The hurt and suffering plead for help over
ham radio.

On August 29, 1992, one week after hurricane Andrew struck,
the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reported 250,000 people
homeless in South Dade.

 

A NUCLEAR INCIDENT

Of course, the rather "insignificant" incident resulting from
Andrew's winds bombarding the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant
was not aired by the news media either nationally or abroad.
Tom Dubocq reported in the Miami Herald of September 5, 1992:

Demolition crews toppled a 400-foot smokestack at Turkey Point
[Nuclear] Power Plant [owned by Florida Power and Light
Company], Friday [September 4]. The stack, which had a gaping
200-foot crack, was dropped without a hitch, a Florida Power
and Light [FPL] spokesman said. The other smokestack at the
plant will be salvaged. Turkey Point will be shut down for
several months while repairs are made. The cost will exceed
$90 million, according to an initial damage reportÉ When
Turkey Point was built in the 1960s, its main structures were
designed to withstand 235 mph winds. Hurricane Andrew was
clocked at 164 mph at the plant. FPL officials don't know why
the smokestack didn't hold up...

One hundred million dollars worth of damage resulted from the
nuclear power plant's smokestack having been cracked wide
open. The plant is situated approximately 15 miles northeast
of where I lived. How well I recall the leaflets circulated
several months before Andrew struck, advising all residents
within a "thirty-five mile radius" of Turkey Point nuclear
plant to be aware of the potential hazards involved if an
event such as a natural disaster or unexpected catastrophe
happened. Such a grim reminder of the Chernobyl tragedy.

Could it be more than coincidence that within 24 hours of
hurricane Andrew ending, all 12 survivors in my little group,
including our animals, broke out in big, raw, oozing sores
which itched and burned at the same time? We suffered horrible
headaches which made us so nauseous we had the dry heaves, and
our stomachs cramped badly from sudden onsets of diarrhoea.
These symptoms lasted well over three months. Within a
relatively short period of time, each one of our surviving
animals died from cancer.

 

HURRICANE BUREAU'S FAILURE TO WARN

Speaking of coincidence, I often wonder what kind of a
coincidence it is that the National Hurricane Bureau is
responsible for reporting to the US Department of
Commerce--especially considering that during 1992 South
Florida did $31 billion worth of trade in tourism.

Hurricane Andrew had barely left Florida, heading for
Louisiana, when the Division of Tourism placed a $47,000
advertisement in USA Today , reading "Florida, we're still
open". "Most people have very short memories. We're all sort
of banking on that," said Donal Dermody, Director of the Nova
University Center for Hospitality Management.

Kind of puts a big damper on belief in the human race: hide
the truth, ignore the suffering, do it for a dollar!

What upsets me most is the incident that happened during the
late afternoon hours just prior to Andrew striking. I had just
walked out to the garbage dumpsters, located by the parking
lot, to throw away some garbage. I turned to head back to the
apartment when the horn of an oncoming car began blasting
away. I looked up to see a familiar resident, whom I had
spoken to on many different occasions, heading directly
towards me. This particular individual worked at Metrozoo.
Being affiliated with wild animals, he frequently stopped by
to ask me questions about the behaviour of certain species. He
sped right up to me and then slammed on the brakes.

"Come here!" he whispered excitedly.

I leaned down close to him. "What's the matter?"

"Listen!" he paused to look around nervously. "You've got to
get the hell outta here now!"

"Why?" I asked, puzzled by his behaviour.

"I haven't got time to explain," he whispered. "But I just
came from the National Hurricane Bureau in the Gables. Gotta
friend of mine who works over there; bigwig--know what I
mean?"

"Yeah..." I nodded.

"Well, this isn't for public information, if you get my
drift," he went on rapidly. "But the National Hurricane Bureau
has known all along that hurricane Andrew is going to slam
into South Dade! They're telling the public it's going to come
in at Palm Beach because they want Miami Beach evacuated, and
there aren't enough shelters for South Dade residents to
evacuate to. They don't wanna cause panic. So they're keeping
quiet. We're all a bunch of god-damn sitting ducks! You got to
get the hell outta here! This is a killer hurricane! Nobody's
ever seen anything like this before!"

"Holy shit!" I exclaimed, shocked out of my mind. "You mean
Andrew's coming over South Dade?"

"Damn straight! That's exactly what I mean! They figure the
eye of the storm is coming right in over us! Those fellas at
the National Hurricane Bureau have known it all along! I'm
gettin' the hell outta here now! Shit, man, this thing is a
killer hurricane! Listen, I gotta run! Get your son and get
the hell out now! You ain't gonna have a shot in hell once it
hits!"

I ran into the apartment and called my son at work, begging
him to come home so we could get out. I had no reason to
disbelieve anything I had just heard. I knew my neighbour well
enough to know he wouldn't fabricate anything like this. So I
related the entire conversation to my son, Eric. He was
stunned! Eric said he would leave work within a few minutes,
but as the minutes ticked on they dragged into hours.

Another immediate course of action I took after hearing the
terrifying warning from my neighbour was to phone the local
CBS television station located in Miami. I called three
separate times. Each time, my call went directly into the
local news broadcast room of meteorologist Bryan Norcross.
Although I never spoke to Norcross directly, I did manage to
speak to three separate individuals working in the broadcast
room.

I specifically stated: "I live in South Dade, adjacent to
Metrozoo and within walking distance of Country Walk, in a
pre-fab apartment that is constructed to withstand up to 90
mph winds. Should I evacuate?"

All three individuals advised and reassured me that I was
situated in a safe area. There definitely wasn't need for me
to take any evacuation measures.

Meanwhile, one work catastrophe after another seemed to crash
down on my son, until finally it was just too late for us to
evacuate. By the time he got home it was almost midnight.
Within minutes of his arrival, Andrew slammed into us with
full force.

 

ONGOING TRAGEDIES FROM THE COVER-UPS

It's not easy dealing with the anguish I feel because of all
the perpetrated lies. So much suffering resulted. It took
three-and-a-half weeks before my son and I managed to escape
the devastation on our own. Homeless and penniless, with no
insurance to cover our losses, we slowly made our way north
towards Broward County, our only possessions being the clothes
on our backs and a demolished van. The long, agonising journey
turned out to be another nightmare from hell.

Over 4,000 people were officially listed as "Missing" in
Andrew when we parted South Dade. I had lost 23 pounds during
those wretched weeks of being trapped in the devastation and
still had not received any medical attention. Little did I
realise it would take another three weeks before a doctor
would even agree to see me without any money or
identification. By then, six weeks had passed since I had been
injured. Most of my teeth had turned a putrid grey colour
because the nerves had died as a result of fierce blows to my
head, complicated by my broken jaw. The final heartbreak came
when doctors discovered the optic nerve in both my eyes had
begun to die off--which meant, because of the head injuries, I
was going blind.

This may sound strange but, regardless, it is the truth.
Today, in the year 2001, there still remain three ongoing
tragedies created by hurricane Andrew cover-ups--tragedies
which remain unbearable for the survivors to live with.

The first tragedy is the horrifying fact that the bodies of
our loved ones were intentionally confiscated from us by our
own government and then so inhumanely disposed of. Without
graves, or some kind of memorial erected in their memory, we
have no hope of reaching closure.

The second tragedy is the impact the cover-ups had in
downplaying, dismissing and ignoring our horrendous suffering.

And the third tragedy is the great number of Andrew survivors
who were inevitably forced to join the ranks of approximately
10 million other homeless Americans struggling to stay alive
on the streets. With 10 million Americans homeless, and
another 32 million Americans going to sleep hungry each night,
the United States Government can't truthfully claim to be a
government for all the people.

Maybe it's just me, but I honestly thought the world learned a
lesson from the Nuremberg trials in Germany: "Evil can only be
defined as absence of empathy..."

 

SIMILARITIES IN TURKEY

On June 20, 2000, I flew to Istanbul, Turkey, where I lectured
at a major international conference. While visiting there, I
was asked if there was anything I specifically wished to do or
see. My simple answer came very naturally.

"Yes, I would like to visit the areas that were devastated by
the earthquakes last August and November and spend time with
the survivors."

The following day my simple wish was granted. I was graciously
escorted by a medical doctor who had unselfishly devoted many
hours of practice in the devastated regions. When he informed
me that 20,000+ died in August 1999 during the Izmit
earthquake and that another 20,000+ died in November during
the Bolu earthquake, I was stunned. This was not what the news
media had reported.

"Are you saying that between the two earthquakes last year,
over 40,000 people died?" I asked.

His eyes filled with tears. "Yes," he nodded sadly. "Over
40,000 people perished, between the two disasters."

The horrendous destruction I saw matched every word he stated.
I walked over areas where the earth had opened up, swallowing
entire buildings before closing back up again, like a giant
white shark gulping down its prey. I understood when weeping
survivors squeezed my hand tightly, too overcome by grief to
explain how they never found the bodies of their loved ones.
Long pauses of silence took over when tears replaced words.

The poverty I witnessed was too startling to escape my poorly
sighted eyes. Pathetic cardboard-type huts, covered by plastic
sheets, greeted me everywhere I went. Then there were the
bleak rows of government-funded temporary housing which lacked
simple basic needs like indoor private showers.

I often wonder, now that I've returned back home, how those
Turkish survivors weathered the 115° temperatures of July,
since their temporary housing lacked proper insulation and
air-conditioning. As the month of August began to unfold,
torrential rains bombarded the country, bringing a new kind of
disaster: flash flooding. How many lives were lost to this
disaster?

The most pathetic survivors of all are children. Like many of
the children who survived hurricane Andrew, many Turkish
children whom I saw who could no longer smile or play.
Shell-shock has very pronounced effects on the young; often,
they stop communicating altogether.

One little girl in particular caught my attention. Her arm had
been badly injured, twisted into a permanent position of
deformity. She stood very still, holding her hair in her good
hand, never moving or showing any signs of emotion.

"She needs medical attention," I said to the doctor.

"Yes," he agreed, "a lot of the young survivors desperately
need medical attention."

His answer puzzled me. "But I thought financial aid was
donated from foreign countries."

"Yes," he nodded, "but most of the money ended up in the
pockets of government officials. It never reached the
survivors."

How well I knew what that meant. How well indeed.

After pausing, he added, "When the earthquakes struck, one
foreign country offered to construct a hospital at the
devastated site. But because of political differences, our
government refused the offer."

I left the Turkish people, wondering: what kind of future is
man creating for himself? Only one thought came to mind: "Evil
can only be defined as absence of empathy..."

Editor's Note:

This article is based on excerpts reprinted in The Unopened
Files , issues 17 & 18, 2000, originally published in k.t.
Frankovich's book, Where Heavens Meet (Language of Souls
Publications, Inc., USA). To obtain a copy, order via
amazon.com or send payment to: k.t. Frankovich, PO Box 703,
Umatilla FL 32784, USA (US$24.95 + $3.20 s&h in US; £14.99 +
£3.50 p&h to UK; elsewhere, US$24.95 + US$8.00 p&h). For
further information, visit www.whereheavensmeet.com or e-mail
•••@••.••• .

About the Author:

k.t. Frankovich has had a distinguished career as a writer in
film and television, winning the 1975 Gold Venus award for
documentary film writing. She has devoted her personal life to
rescuing abandoned, lost and abused animals. k.t. is a poet
and an author of short stories and several books. She is a
frequent guest on radio talk shows across the US, and is
passionate about exposing the tragedies surrounding the
hurricane Andrew disaster.
-- 

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blog: http://harmonization.blogspot.com/

"Escaping The Matrix - 
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WHY WE NEED IT, AND HOW WE CAN ACHIEVE IT ", old draft:
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