Thursday, September 01, 2005

It's Obvious That The Hurricane Crisis Is Not Over

Written from Lake Louise, Alberta--

Even if we assume that a few days after most disasters, rumors grow and everything may appear bleak, it's obvious that the New Orleans and Gulf Coast hurricane disaster is in a great crisis.

Part of the trouble, as I pointed out two days ago, is that under this Administration
FEMA has been weakened. Its planning for this kind of catastrophe has initially proved inadequate.

However, it was somewhat reassuring this morning to see Homeland Security and the military so much involved.

What is disconcerting for someone, like myself, who covered the Kobe earthquake disaster in 1995, is that the Japanese were able to get a lot more relief right on the scene within 48 hours after the earthquake struck. They were feeding people on every street corner in Kobe and set up massive evacuation centers.

Once the Japanese got revved up, things went smoothly, and I hope the same thing is true with us. On the other hand, there simply wasn't the violence and looting in Kobe that there has been in New Orleans.

At this point, this has to be largely a federal response. State and local officials are overwhelmed.

We can hope, and the public should demand of this Administration, a massive and adequate response.

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