OT: What makes the New Orleans Disaster really scary 11326
If there were drivers, busses, and fuel, why did the mayor need to do anything? Sounds like they already got the word. Or maybe the "fueled and ready to go" part is speculation based on little more than the fact that New Orleans had a couple hundred busses available in theory.
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What is really going to be scary is the political aftermath in New Orleans. The local business elite is already fomenting plans...
But look at it logically. buttuming they did have them and they were ready to go, 200 city busses will have seats for around 12,000 people. They're going to have to bring some Clothes Line and things and you'd need cops riding shotgun so you probably won't fit many more than that.
So each bus would need to make eight or nine trips to evacuate 100,000+ people. buttuming they go 100 miles away, that's at least a three-hour round trip. So if my math is right they could just barely do it in 24 hours if there were no traffic, drivers worked round-the-clock, and everyone was lined up and ready to go.
But there will be traffic, lots of it, and in order allow for that and to get the people lined up to go you'd have to give the order even earlier, maybe another day or day and a half earlier. This raises the risk of a false alarm that costs a grundle of money and opens you up to political criticism for being a "nervous nellie".
In the case of Katrina, the mayor would have had to issue a mandatory evacuation on Friday night or Saturday when the storm was still a category 2 or 3 and the location of landfall was still in doubt. How many of those have there been over the last ten years? The mayor would have to have some big brbutt ones to do that Friday night.
My point being that this problem is a lot harder than it may appear to an armchair quarterback with 20-20 hindsight. Keeping the people there and evacuating them later may in fact be a better strategy if you think the feds will show up in a day or two to help you do that.
On a slightly different topic, the reason I mentioned taxes in my previous post is that part of disaster planning is about economics and politics. You can only afford so much, and having buttets sitting idle or calling unnecessary evacuations is politically untenable in the current environment of "taxes are evil and government is always wrong".
On top of that, any given state may only have a disaster like this every 20 or 30 years but a disaster or two is almost certain to occur somewhere in the US nearly every year. That's why the federal role is so important. The feds need only to deploy the resources of one or two states but can use them to back up all of the states. This is much more efficient thatn "every state for itself".
So a sensible policy would be to have New Orleans plan for a category 3 storm (i.e. no levee breach) and buttume that the feds would step in after a day or two if there were a bigger one. Asking the locals to plan for dealing with the worst case on their own is simply unrealistic.
None of this means that I think the mayor or governor did everything right. There is plenty of blame to go around but one thing is clear; the feds did not hold up their end of the deal here. The governor asked for aid, the President authorized it, but somehow FEMA dropped the ball.
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But it isn't going to be you asking him to, is it? You'll say "oh, yeah, he messed up", but you won't go so far as to actually criticize any of...
It would be really nice if our President, who appointed the guys running FEMA, were man enough to accept some of the blame for that instead of sending out his little attack pundits to put it all on someone else.
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So, you hadn't done the math, just took this GOP talking point on faith, and now you want me to explain how it would work. Well, I don't know. As I said, it might...
-- - Bob Hauck - A proud member of the reality-based community.