(from BBC via a sleepless DU'er.)
This was on the episode of BBC World News which played on a local (Philadelphia area) PBS station at 6:00 am this morning. I can't find a stream or transcript online. It's sitting on my TIVO right now marked do not delete but I have no way to put it onto my hard drive and no place to serve it from anyway. If you do have a recording of it, it starts about 9 minutes in. I've done a hand written transcript, the spelling and punctuation are mine. The bolding is also mine to emphasize what I think is the important part. The BBC announcer was interviewing Lieutenant Commander Sean Kelly whom she referred to as Leftenant Commander. This is the entire interview with no missing context.
Announcer: The relief operation is the largest ever conducted in America. It's being coordinated by the US Northern Command in Colorado. Leftenant Commander Sean Kelly explains how the relief effort is being organized.
Kelly: US Northern Command is the command that coordinates the military support for our federal and state agencies. They call up and request a capability and we try and provide that capability, whether it's medical resources, search and rescue helicopters, food, water, transportation, communications; that's what we provide.
A: So it sounds like you're providing a bit of everything. I mean, do you know how much you're actually providing?
K: Right now we've got 4,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marine and coast guardsmen supporting this. They've delivered more than 9 million meals, I can't remember how many millions of liters of water.
A: 9 million meals? Do you actually have 9 million meals?
K: It's those 'meals ready to eat'. The packaged meals that the Army takes out with them out in the field. We have 9 million of 'em ready. I know at least 100,000 went to the Superdome the other night to help the people out there in New Orleans. So they're staged at various places throughout Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana.
A: Now I'm sure you're aware of the criticism that the authorities have been slow to respond to this. When did you get the order to start relief work?
K: NorthCom started planning before the storm even hit. We were ready for the storm when it hit Florida because, as you remember, it crossed the bottom part of Florida, and then we were plaining, you know, once it was pointed towards the Gulf Coast. So what we did was we activated what we call defense coordinating officers to work with the state to say okay, what do you think you'll need, and we set up staging bases that could be started. We had the USS Baton sailing almost behind the hurricane so that after the hurricane made landfall it's search and rescue helicopters would be available almost immediately. So we had things ready. The only caveat is, we have to wait until the President authorizes us to do so. The laws of the United States say that the military can't just act in this fashion, we have to wait for the President to give us permission."