Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Calfifornia fire still burning, call for help

FEMA trailers 'toxic tin cans'

Daily updates from fire relief:
From Robert Lame Bull McDonald, MD, at the Indian Health Council

(November 1, 2007) Messages:

My Fellow Native Americans and other Community Leaders, Greetings

This is Dr. Robert Lame Bull McDonald, MD of Valley Center and a physician at the Indian Health Council on the Rincon Indian Reservation in the North San Diego County fire zone.
Please continue to read the information below and let me know if you can help in our disaster relief efforts.

Hoka hey Pastor Joe,

It sounds like you folks are really on the ball in Rancho Bernardo. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your community. I am sure you have many needs in your own community and it is quite honorable to offer to share your resources of aid. Perhaps we can help distribute and delegate the resources where they are needed most and used for the best.I am forwarding your email to some of my friends and leaders in the disaster area here in the Valley Center area. Together and with help from our Lord the Creator we can stand strong and smile because you can't keep a good town down. (eaayh... ) God Bless,Robert Lame Bull McDonald, MD Hello Mr. Governor,Thank you for all the aid you have provided our communities in North San Diego County. Below is an email from one of our local leaders, Pastor Joe Farrell. Perhaps your office can use this information.

Hello Chelsea,

Here is an email of great significance to our community. It is from a leader in our sister community of Rancho Bernardo. Please let me know if you have anyone in Valley Center who can field this great offer of help from Pastor Joel Farrell and the Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian church. Hello Dr. Dan Calac,Perhaps the LaJolla community or one of our other areas can benefit from the help of Pastor Joel Farrell and the UCSD student volunteers. Please read his email below.

Hello Dr. Tran,It was a pleasure to see you in the disaster zone during the fires. Your experience as a combat medic and your delivery of the much needed medical donations helped us all tremendously. Perhaps you can help lead a group of UCSD volunteers into the field if you have the time. Your experience as a Professor of Anatomy would be a great asset in helping direct UCSD students. Are you available to help lead these volunteers to where they are needed?

Hello Brenda Norrell,Once again your remarkable journalism has brought together a great team. Thank you for posting information on your “censored-news blog.”

Subject: Firestorm Response

Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 10:16:47 -0800

From: joe@rbcpc.orgTo:

Hello Dr. Robert,

I am one of the pastors at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church. I read a piece you wrote on the “censored-news blog” that my wife came across yesterday. I pulled your email from blog.We have over 70 families connected with our church that lost their homes in the Witch Creek fire. Because of where we live and where national media sent their news anchors, we had a ton of coverage. We also have a ton of help, in terms of volunteers, materials, clothing, and other fire survivor response items. We have been sending teams out to homes in this community to help the families sift through the ashes in hopes of finding anything of significance. It has been powerful for the families and the volunteers. Many neighbors who lost homes and have no connection to this church have also accepted the help to do this work. We also have churches and organizations calling us to offer more- food, cots, thousands of blankets, etc. and we are referring them to other places with greater need.I have read about the extensive damage done out there and can imagine it because of what I see here. How can we help?One possibility, I have a team of 20-25 students from the University of San Diego who are signed up to help this Sunday morning (9-12ish). If you could use them, I would love to send them your way to begin helping the clean up and long rebuilding process. We would equip them with tools and gear.Further, we are setting ourselves up for a long term journey with the families that lost so much, but we also live in a community with so much to give, so I am looking for connections to help people over a period of years in the re-building. If you might be a connection point, that would be a huge blessing. If not, perhaps you might be able to point me in a new direction or to another contact.Please feel free to write me back or call my cell (858) 583-4834.

Peace,Joe Farrell

(Oct. 31, 2007)
Hoka hey, Theses pictures were taken today by me. Dr. Dan said the remaining road blocks may be lifted tonight or tomorrow. He also said the media has been kept out of the area to protect those who have lost so much. The fires are still not completely out. Firefighter camps and relief center camps are starting to pop up everywhere. I think they have a lot of Mop up work going on but sometimes a fire truck goes screaming by with lights and sirens. We have the Santa Ysabel clinic open again but only until 3 p.m. daily. The DMAT Physicians went out on the reservations hardest hit by the fires to search for people who may need medical attention. Most people should be okay and most people on the LaJolla Rez are still evacuated. The IHC made a list of our patients with COPD and CHF and I have called some of the elders on the list to find that they are in good health. We have a mobile unit that we might send out again in a day or so. It is a giant RV the size of a greyhound bus. The Red Cross has been faster to respond than they were during Katrina. Most people here are happy to have the Red Cross in town. Fema is rumored to have already begun distributing checks to people. The High School Gym is cleared out a bit with much less people in cots. More of the deadly Santa Ana winds are predicted in a day or two.

(Oct. 30, 2007)
The fire is still burning on the LaJolla Reservation and the roads are still blocked. Our MA from LaJolla, Corrine Nelson, said her Rez is 95 percent gone. Dr. Dan Calac (Paula tribal member) took a team up to our mountain clinic in Santa Ysabel today near where the fire started.
They had to go the long way through Romona because the National Guard with M-16s had the road blocked.
He had more tales of destruction, fire still burning in some areas. We had open clinic today at the Indian Health Council (IHC) with help from a Seattle based DMAT team.
I helped out as best I could while my mind was on Kathy and Natika. They stayed home today. Kathy lost her Dad to COPD the week before the fires. Natika has started her own neighborhood pet rescue and is trying to find a home for a very playful dog who seems oblivious to the changes upon him. Natika also put together a load of clothes, toys and kid stuff she donated.
At noon I delivered medical supplies to the firefighters and National Guard camp at the Valley Center Fire Dept. I did not have time to check on the folks at the VC High School Gym today. I hope to do that tomorrow. I was told one family there did not speak English and their home was damaged without power or water. They thought some of the food at the shelter was gifted to them to take home for their family. An arrest was made because someone else thought this was theft. They still have mass at the Rincon church even though its burned and gutted by fire. I plan to attend mass there on Sunday.

People have been asking me what they can do to help. Prayers will help. We could also use a few Tipis, FEMA trailers or donation trailers. The migrant farm worker population may need help getting organized. Other people need clothes, diapers, bottles, and toys. Gift certificates for meals or groceries and hotel rooms may be needed. The casinos are starting to phase people out the door and the High School needs to reopen tomorrow. I don't know what we are going to do for all the people that still have no place to go. We may have to start a tent city or a Tipi camp. The best plan I have right now is to pray. Prayers will help.

God Bless, Robert Lame Bull McDonald, MD

(Oct. 29, 2007)
Our clinic in Rincon is open again today for urgent care only. I spent some time in the mobile unit at the San Pasqual tribal office today. Still getting a lot of smoke inhalation and asthma exacerbations. Particulate matter will likely linger in the air for several more days. Thank God for Dr. Hi Tran who hand delivered hundreds of albuterol inhalers, combivent and Flonase! Kathy, Natika and I, have just returned to our house today after a full week of evacuation from the fire. We left when we saw a wall of flame coming at us with an occasional burst of fire shooting hundreds of feet into the sky. I did not even think that was possible. We found out later they were called "fire tornadoes" They make a very hot wind which helped prompt our decision to evacuate. Our house survived but we lost some trees, water, power, missing a cat. Ashes are in our living room and garage but we cant find any source of fire inside the house. I think the strong winds somehow blew them in from the outside. Natika's baby sitter and her family lost everything including all their horses, cattle and even the chickens. All the animals are dead. Her pregnant dog was scared and ran into the house and would not come out. It could not be found before it was too late. Many of our friends and patients on the reservations we service also lost everything. Kathy and I try to help out as best we can by staffing mobile medical clinics inside the road blocks and inside the fire zone. The fire burnt right up to our clinic parking lot. We helped set up disaster relief centers at Harrah's Rincon casino a few hundred yards from where we usually work at the Indian health Council Clinic, one at the Pechanga casino, and we brought some meds and supplies in to the camp at the Valley Center High School gym. Our pharmacist was holed up in the dark at the main clinic and helped send us boxes of meds we requested from the mobile medical units. Our pharmacy ran out of inhalers and other important meds that we needed both for the evacuees and the firefighters so Dr. Tran brought in several hundred inhalers from Beverly Hills. We will meet at the main clinic in about 10 hours to plan what to do next to continue to provide medical care to the area. Some of our reservations are still under road block, on fire, and people are evacuated.
Hope all is well. I never thought I would say it but, I miss the rain.
Your friend Robert Lame Bull McDonald
Photos: Fire aftermath in Southern California by Robert Lame Bull McDonald
Incoming message: Beware FEMA trailers toxic
Good morning-I got a very distressing phone call yesterday from a Native journalist who has heard that the govt. is planning on using the FEMA trailers and mobile homes that they have on hand, to house people displaced by the California fires.Some of you who are new friends of mine may not have read the newspaper series that I wrote about the FEMA trailers being overloaded with formaldehyde gases and that people living in them are VERY VERY SICK!Please help me get the word out to any and ALL people who may be offered these government FEMA trailers and mobile homes as temporary housing, that they should try EVERY available avenue before being forced into one of those units! PLEASE! If you need more info, contact me and I will provide you with whatever you need.TRIBAL MEMBERS- if you know tribal leaders at any of the reservations out there, PLEASE get in touch with me so that I can let these leaders know what is being offered to them. I know that many people will have no other options BUT to live in one of these units, but we need to connect these folks to my contacts in the Sierra Club who have been testing and PROVING the formaldehyde levels in the units used by hurricane victims.We can thank our government for this mess folks. They have KNOWN for a very long time that these units were potential death-traps but they have not spent ONE DIME on building new and safer ones for victims of disaster in this country. Not one dime.Please, help me get the word out so people in California are forewarned!

Los Angeles Times: 92 Percent of La Jolla burned
By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 31, 2007
"...The first three days, we were fending for ourselves," said La Jolla tribal Chairman Tracy Nelson, his voice breaking, at a gathering sponsored by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs at the Tribal Hall of the Rincon reservation.
The Poomacha fire, which began Oct. 23 as a structure fire on the La Jolla reservation, burned 8,679 acres there and destroyed 59 homes and other buildings. In all, 92% of the reservation burned, Nelson said.
Read article:

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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