Tag Archives: Katrina

Katrina underscores the issues in the Bush Administration

Hurricane Katrina 003  view of Thrift Shop and Water Well 1

For the next several days, I will re-post some of the things that I typed more than 10 years ago about Hurricane Katrina.

From the Center for American Progress:

1,833 lives lost. 270,000 homes destroyed. $55 billion in insured damage. Up to $1.4 billion in American tax dollars wasted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Today, the costs of Hurricane Katrina are still staggering. But even more staggering has been the slow pace of recovery on the Gulf Coast. No one was happy with the federal government’s initial response to the hurricane. Eighty percent of the American public think the federal government’s response could have been “much better,” and in September President Bush stated, “This government will learn the lessons of Hurricane Katrina.”

But at Katrina’s one-year anniversary, it is clear that the nation is still waiting for the help Bush promised. Sunday, as part of the White House’s “public relations blitz,” Bush trumpeted in his weekly radio address that the federal government has “committed $110 billion to the recovery effort.”

But those billions of dollars have yet “to translate into billions in building.” Perhaps most disappointingly, Bush has forgotten about his promise to the nation to confront poverty “with bold action.

more

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Bush has clearly said that he doesn’t care.  When his poll numbers tanked, he tried to pretend that he cared.  Fortunately, America didn’t buy it.

We have made more progress in Iraq than we have in New Orleans and we haven’t done squat in Iraq.

Hurricares are getter bigger and badder

I know that people like John Boehner and that Senator from Oklahoma really don’t believe in science. They’ve tried to mock scientists who spent their careers documenting the effects of man’s impact on planet Earth. Sure, if you dig you can find one or two studies which discount the data. The overwhelming majority of data that’s coming out of climatology, though, points to the fact that man is influencing his environment.

From Climate Progress:

Hurricane season officially begins tomorrow.  So I’m (Climate Progress) updating one more 2008 post on the science.  Last September, Nature published a major analysis that supports my 2-parter (Why global warming means killer storms worse than Katrina and Gustav, Part 1 and Part 2).  As Natureexplained:

… scientists have come up with the firmest evidence so far that global warming will significantly increase the intensity of the most extreme storms worldwide.

The maximum wind speeds of the strongest tropical cyclones have increased significantly since 1981, according to research published in Nature this week. And the upward trend, thought to be driven by rising ocean temperatures, is unlikely to stop at any time soon.

The team statistically analysed satellite-derived data of cyclone wind speeds. Although there was hardly any increase in the average number or intensity of all storms, the team found a significant shift in distribution towards stronger storms that wreak the greatest havoc. This meant that, overall, there were more storms with a maximum wind speed exceeding 210 kilometres per hour (category 4 and 5 storms on the Saffir–Simpson scale)….

“It’ll be pretty hard now for anyone to claim that cyclone activity has not increased,” says Judith Curry, an atmospheric researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, who was not involved in the study….

“People should now stop saying ‘who cares, storm activity is just a few per cent up’,” says Curry. “It’s the strongest storms that matter most.”

Lessons from Katrina (update)

We are all focusing on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast as we remember Hurricane Katrina. Let me start by saying I love NOLA. I love the people and the culture. I started blogging just a couple months before Katrina. I knew that the levees had broken hours before MSN reported it because of discussion boards on the Internet.

I took this picture in 9th ward 3 years ago.

9th ward

So what are the lessons?

  • there should be no political considerations when doling out aid
  • experts are experts for a reason. They should be in charge of planning and resource management.
  • we as Americans do a bad job of planning for future problems. Money was consistently diverted from the levees into projects that would give politicians “more to run on.”
  • there is no excuse … We must get help to everyone within 48 hrs. There is no excuse.
  • this could happen again.

What are your thoughts? What lessons have you learned?

From HuffPo (written by Janet Napolitano):

We’ve also made tremendous progress since Katrina and Rita in improving our country’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from major disasters of all kinds.

An example of this progress is the recovery efforts this summer following the worst flooding in more than a century in Nashville, Tenn. These floods took the lives of more than 30 individuals, devastated communities, and threatened the safety and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of residents. Despite this historic damage, our swift and effective response demonstrated what a difference preparation, coordination between federal, state, and local governments, and the quick deployment of resources to local communities can make.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, played a key role in the government’s response. But as our FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate would be the first to say, preparing for — and responding to — disasters truly is a shared responsibility. While we continue to strengthen and streamline efforts to prepare for disasters at the federal level, citizens, families, communities, faith organizations, and businesses all have an important role to play in our collective response to emergencies.