Photo of the Day

House in Galveston on Avenue N, October 15, 1900

The Deadliest Disaster in American History

On September 8, 1900, the coastal city of Galveston, Texas was hit by a hurricane like none that the U.S. has ever experienced before or since. Winds of 120 mph slammed the city with flying debris that cut through homes like shrapnel. Waves crashed onto the streets, leaving the city 15 feet underwater at one point. And, worst of all, virtually nobody had the foresight to evacuate.

Galvestonians had experienced ocean flood waters from storms before but hadn’t ever done much more than board up windows and build beach houses up off the ground as prevention. This lack of preparation would cost them dearly.

The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 remains the deadliest natural disaster in modern U.S. history, leaving behind an estimated death toll of 8,000-12,000 people.

The actual death toll will never be known because the magnitude of the disaster far exceeded the ability to accurately count and identify bodies. It is very likely that many of the dead were washed out to sea. Nevertheless, it was the deadliest natural disaster in America?s history.

The trouble began on Friday, September 7, when Galveston was issued a storm warning by the central office of the Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service). A single-paragraph story with a headline that read “Storm in the Gulf” appeared in the following day’s newspaper but did little to cause the citizens much concern.

However, Isaac M. Cline, a Weather Bureau official, drove his horse-drawn buggy through Galveston’s neighbourhoods, urging people to seek shelter. Even Cline didn’t believe there was cause for serious concern, though, writing in 1891?that “it would be impossible for any cyclone to create a storm wave which could materially injure the city.” (It should be noted that Cline survived the storm, but of course, those words would haunt him dearly.)

But as the tides began to rise and the winds came, Galveston was punished with unmerciful hurricane winds that left sheer chaos in their wake.

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Photo of the Day

Steve Callahan was 30 and sailing the Atlantic alone when his 21ft sloop was hit by a whale and sank in a storm.

Adrift on a raft in the Atlantic for 76 days

‘I got scared by?the thought I’d be dead in a few hours; I found a way to fix the raft and it felt like the biggest victory of my life’

On the night of January 29, 1982, Steven Callahan set sail alone in his small sailboat from the Canary Islands bound for the Caribbean. On February 5, the ship sank in a storm, leaving Callahan adrift in the Atlantic in a five-and-a-half-foot inflatable rubber raft. Naked except for a t-shirt, with only three pounds of food, a few pieces of gear and eight pints of water, Callahan drifted for 76 days, and over 1,800 miles of ocean, before he reached land and rescue in the Bahamas.

Steven Callahan was a ?young man from Maine with adventure in his heart. He realized his dream and sailed his own design 21 foot sailboat across the Atlantic from Newport to Bermuda, then on to England. His return from England would be with a race called the Mini-Transat and would complete a circumnavigation of the?treacherous Atlantic by returning him to Antigua in the West Indies. At least, that was the plan. Little did he know how bad his plans would turn on the trip back west.

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Disaster Tourist

Yesterday Phil Goff went to Tauranga to share his world class expertise with sinking ships.

Trevor Mallard went large on the issue last night posting screenshots of Phil Goff’s Facebook page and John Key’s Facebook page with the clear inference that Phil Goff cares and John Key doesn’t.

Then we had this photo appearing on Stuff of the caring Phil Goff in his shiny shoes and suit using a shovel.

A caller to Leighton Smith’s show this morning though puts this all into perspective:

Goff caught staging a photo op by whaleoil

Goff was ditched by the Otago Chamber of Commerce because they couldn’t sell any tickets and so he legs it to Tauranga to stage a photo-op.

Phil Goff the disaster tourist milking tragedy and playing politics.


More Mates #eqnz

This morning I blogged on Mates and Not Mates.

I have just received some more information from a tipline source in Sydney about more Aussie mates.

I can report that Dick Smith stores are Mates. They have signs up in their stores asking for donations all over Sydney.

Coffee Club are mates. A a store in Sydney yesterday the owner was all dressed in Red and Black and had signs up asking for donations.

When people realise that my source is from New Zealand they are deluged with offers of support and condolences by even more of our mates from across the Tasman. Plenty of people know what it means to be mates.

Qantas and their subsidiary are still Not Mates.

Yesterday there was this news about Jetstar where they tried to stiff a nurse who helped out in a mid-air emergency. Jetstar are Not Mates and this just confirms it.

So far our Mates are:

Air New Zealand, Coffee Club, Dick Smith, Fonterra, Kiwishops

UPDATE:?The two “Kiwi shops” in Perth have set up donation boxes to collect from local ex-pats.

Not our Mates are:

Qantas, Jetstar

Mates and Not Mates

When the earthquake struck Christchurch it devastated the central city, has killed hundreds and left many people without homes, relatives and busineses. It is a time for mates and a time for stepping up.

Air New Zealand stepped up. They immediately put on 747s and charged bare minimum prices to get people home or out of the region. They are a good corporate citizen. They are our Mates.

Our nearest neighbours Australia reacted immediately sending rescue folk, troops and Police from across the country.

From my sources on the ground I hear that the Australian cops have been extremely professional and effective in Christchurch. Great people doing an excellent job. Australia has fronted up above and beyond. We tried to help Queensland where we could and when you do send help you hope that one day, should it be needed that the help is reciprocated. Australia has delivered, they are so generous and supportive. You can’t speak higher of them. 300 plus cops AND the USAR teams, who are world class. The Australian military support has been brilliant too. I understand we have also?received?donations from all Aussies states. Give Gillard her due, she has fronted. They are our Mates.

They are heroes and mates that we salute.

However we now turn to Not Our Mates.

Qantas and Jetstar reacted far differently.

Jetstar has decided that people travelling to and from Christchurch with a bag (and it has to be an evac) is $99. Anyone else is normal fares. I think it is fair to say that we can call that profiteering.

Jetstar’s owner Qantas also seems to have?forgotten?how many customers come from NZ. They made a $1000 a ticket getting the outstanding Australian cops into Christchurch. The spirit of ANZAC and mateship does not apply to Qantas. In the darkest day, you remember. Qantas made their views known and we accept their decision.

Qantas has failed to recognise that have a choice of airlines to cross the Tasman. ?”Anyone But Qantas” is the new call.

We remember our mates and Qantas are not our mates. That’s fine, you made the call Qantas, now take the lumps.

Apart from not being our mates, they are idiots and the shareholders should be annoyed.

Option A : Stick a pack of cops on a plane for three hours.

Glory of press statement and stories across your home markets saying:

“Qantas makes plane available at short notice to help Christchurch”

“Qantas has been flying to Christchurch for X years. It is an important part of our network. Qantas was proud to help 120 top Aussie cops to keep the people of Christchurch safe. Kiwis cops have been working tirelessly for the community. In the spirit of Australia, we were proud to help give them a break. We put on a free flight for the police. We also took x pallets of bottled water to help out Christchurch in its darkest days. Qantas is there for Christchurch”

Result : Glowing Trans-Tasman media stories, endorsment and brand enhancement by a major factor. Whaleoil endorsement. Major political figures in NSW and NZ say “good guys”. Customer base takes pride in their airline.

Value : Millions. Kiwis talk for years about Qantas being “our mates”. NSW Government pleased. Australians proud of their airline.
Cost : A$120,000

Option B : Be a pack of tight bastards.

Value : A$120,000
Cost & Result : Crap media across Australia and New Zealand. Immeasurable brand damage. Make an enemy of Whaleoil. Negative Media. NSW Govt has to ask Federal Govt for cash, embarrassing both Govts.

Message to Shareholders of Qantas : Seriously? You let these clowns look after your money? REALLY????

Remember folks, remember well who our mates are in times of need and then when you make a choice for where you will spend your dollars, spend it with our mates. As we hear more of donations and assistance I will create a Mates and Not Mates list. Qantas is now Not our Mate.


So I’ve been watching the news coverage about the Village of the Damned and now I see that extra police are needed to maintain order as opportunist criminals think about looting.

The city centre was shut to the public today and will remain closed overnight with police staffing cordons throughout the area. No licensed premises will be open in the CBD.

There is a formal curfew in place between the hours of 7pm and 7am that has been put in place to protect the public from falling debris. Anyone breaching the curfew can be arrested.

Mr Parker?said he?requested Prime Minister John Key ask the army to maintain safety and security and help the police over the next 24 hours.

Of course if you are able to protect your own stuff you don’t need the Police to come to the rescue. Bob Parker should also request a shoot on sight order against looters.

My official policy, should someone ask, would be for all registered members of gun clubs should be allowed to shoot looters with the shotgun of their choice.

The movements in the iPredict stocks for the Christchurch Mayoralty are interesting too. (MAYOR.ANDERTON down 20.33%, MAYOR.PARKER up 98.97%)

I reckon all Bob Parker needs to do now to win the mayoralty is to announce that he is going to halt campaigning so he can concentrate on re-building the city. Jim Anderton will look like the greedy old venal prick that he is by continuing on.

The law allows for the elections to be delayed up to 14 days in a rolling fashion in the event of a natural disaster. Since it is a postal ballot then Bob Parker would be best served by keeping the elections on and focusing on re-building the city and looking after its citizens and leave campaigning to the venal. He is guaranteed nationwide media coverage every day, speaking as Mayor of the city, from now until the foreseeable future, no one else will get a look in.

The cost of damage from today’s devastating quake could be as much as $2 billion, Earthquake Commission chief executive Ian Simpson says.

The EQC’s claims staff had been flat out taking calls today and there was no data yet on the number lodged, he said.

“It’s very early to start estimating the numbers so far,” he said.

“At a guess, and it is just a guess so far, we are looking at …around 100,000 claims in total from the event and the cost will be easily into the hundreds of millions of dollars just for EQC for the residential property… It could reach between one and two billion dollars.”

People who had private house insurance were automatically qualified for EQC cover.

So that idea of mine to sell the South Island would have meant that taxpayer would be at least $4 billion better off already if we had flogged it off years ago.