Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Thinking Ahead to the Next Katrina

Because hurricanes, floods, earthquakes or other natural disasters will happen again, it may be worth spending a moment while this event is fresh in our minds, to think about some of the lessons from it.

Was there severe flooding following the hurricane because the Bush Administration ramsacked the budget for flood control along the lower Mississippi River, to pay for homeland security and the war in Iraq? Or, have we simply overdeveloped the vulnerable coastline, putting more people and more stuff to destroy in the paths of hurricanes (see here, also)? Has the relentless focus on homeland security, defined narrowly as preventing acts of terrorism, resulted in the destruction of the bureaucracy responsible for disaster response and mitigation?

If this isn’t it, you have to wonder what magnitude of disaster will have to happen for us to start taking disaster preparedness and response more seriously.


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