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  • With Hurricane Isaac Coming, Everyone Asks the Wrong Question

    As Tropical Storm Isaac is upgraded to Hurricane Isaac, the national media’s focus is on comparing the potential impact of Hurricane Isaac to Hurricane Katrina.

    Given that Hurricane Isaac appears headed to New Orleans and may hit land exactly seven years after Hurricane Katrina did, this focus is natural. With this focus comes the inevitable question on whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is “prepared.” But a more important question is whether New Orleans and Louisiana are prepared for Hurricane Isaac.

    Though it became easy to scapegoat former FEMA Director Michael Brown for FEMA’s failure during Hurricane Katrina, the reality is that FEMA’s failure occurred only because Mayor Ray Nagin (D) first failed to evacuate his city, and then-Governor Kathleen Blanco (D) failed to evacuate New Orleans and the surrounding region. Had the correct actions occurred at the local and state levels, FEMA’s ability to serve as the final backstop would never have been tested.

    Of course, seven years after Katrina, FEMA has made progress to put in place the capabilities it will need to deal with most catastrophic events. The real issue for FEMA is whether it can handle an exceptional catastrophic event. Hurricane Isaac may or may not help us answer that question.

    Remember that FEMA under Brown successfully dealt with four hurricanes hitting Florida in September 2004, a mere 11 months before Hurricane Katrina. FEMA’s performance with those four routine hurricanes obviously did not mean it could handle a truly catastrophic event like Katrina. The same false assurance may be the outcome with Hurricane Isaac, especially if it remains a Category 2 or weaker hurricane.

    Of all the government players involved in responding to a disaster, FEMA is the one farthest from the disaster zone. This geographic limitation is why we have advocated for the end of the centralization of natural disasters and for state and localities to resume their primary responsibilities in dealing with events that occur in their spheres of control.

    Hurricane Isaac will certainly contain echoes of Hurricane Katrina, but whether those echoes will mean anything remains to be seen.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to With Hurricane Isaac Coming, Everyone Asks the Wrong Question

    1. Bobbie says:

      The reports again gave adequate warning. Hopefully the states effected have government state officials who don't bailout before they know everyone is safe and on their own. I wouldn't count on anything run by the feds. It's mostly for show today! Mr. Obama can't manage his own government or oath of office and his followers follow his lead. Keep safe!

    2. Lloyd Scallan says:

      I would suggest Matt get the story straight. Katrina's winds were not the cause of the misery. The flooding that destroyed thousands of houses and buildings and sent thousands of people onto rooftops and the Superdome, was a result of faulty workmenship and materials by the Crops of Engineeers when they built the leeve system. The Corps used mud, and in some cases, old newspapers to fill gaps in joints of the flood walls. Nagin and Blanco (both Democrats) refused help from Bush. Blanco feared loosing prestage. Nagin was holded-up in a downtown hotel, not bothering to check that partions of the city were already flooding as he spoke. By that time the almost 100 school buses that were available (Nagin claimed he could't find drivers) were useless because of flood waters. Important to is that in certain sections of the city, (mostly black areas), the people refused to leave on their own accord, but actually stated on camera, that they would wait for the "government" to come to rescue them. Today, with the RNC convention taking place, the media is so bent on distracting from Obama failures, they again focus on Bush and Brown.

    3. A Jay says:

      The part that is left out is the fact that the state is REQUIRED BY LAW to ask for help from the Federal Government before the Federal Government can act.. The press seemed to overlook that fact when they started blaming George W. Bush for the response to New Orleans before. The current governor is staying at home in case he has to make a decision.

    4. iamnaia says:

      It'a about time I see someone mentioning that it wasn't (former) Pres. Bush's fault.

    5. Lloyd Scallan says:

      The media focus on Isaac during the RNC should be obvious to everyone. Divert attention away from Obama deployable record, and tie Bush and Brown to the present day Republicans. I've lived down here my entire life. I saw the fear of loosing power and control of "School Bus" Ray Nagin and Katheen Blanco (both Democrats), when they refused help from Bush the day after the storm. Only after 3 days of suffering did Blanco relent. In the aftermath we learned of the lack of proper materials (sand and old newspappers) the Corps of Engineers used that led to the collapse of parts of the levees, with led to most of the city flooding. But also, the people in the poorer sections refused to use their own intiative to get out when they had the chance and acually stated the were waiting for the "government" of come to save them. Only after they realized the incompetence, many fled to the Superdome as a last resort.

    6. jbug says:

      It,s not any different today than it was for Katrina Obama makes promises that things were in place and I havent heard anything. Also before He was elected I heard of the rebates He was going to issue and there was yet not one rebate check. Only president bush issued rebate checks several times to us to help the economy. People are without electricity and I dont hear anything about any help from Fema distribution of water etc. I t is no different than it was back than. We are on our own. All words and no action

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