Thursday, September 08, 2005

Even The Brits Are Aghast

Focus: When the levees broke, the waters rose and Bush’s credibility sank with New Orleans - Sunday Times - Times Online

There seems to me a strong chance that this calamity could be the beginning of something profound in American politics: a sense that government is broken and that someone needs to fix it.

It did, after all, fail. It failed to spend the necessary money to protect New Orleans in the first place. This disaster, after all, did not come out of the blue.

Below is a passage from the Houston Chronicle in 2001, which quoted the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the three likeliest potential disasters to threaten America. They were: an earthquake in San Francisco, a terrorist attack in New York City (predicted before 9/11), and a hurricane hitting New Orleans.

Read this prophetic passage and weep: “The New Orleans hurricane scenario may be the deadliest of all. In the face of an approaching storm, scientists say, the city’s less-than-adequate evacuation routes would strand 250,000 people or more, and probably kill one of 10 left behind as the city drowned under 20ft of water.

“Thousands of refugees could land in Houston. Economically, the toll would be shattering . . . If an Allison-type storm were to strike New Orleans, or a category three storm or greater with at least 111mph winds, the results would be cataclysmic, New Orleans planners said.”

Katrina, of course, was category four.

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