Sep 02 2005

Katrina Was Unexpected

Published by at 12:15 pm under All General Discussions,Katrina

For all those on the left trying to villify the President and his administration by using Katrina’s death and destruction as your soap box – I suggest you be careful. Making these kinds of claims and then having them proven wrong, and vile, will result in a backlash like you have never experienced.

It is important to understand a major assumption held by a lot of people as Katrina advanced: the levees would not fail, they would overflow. It is now known this was an erroneous assumption, but it reveals a mistake in expectations on the protections in place – not a dereliction in duty or incompetence.

But on Thursday, disaster experts and frustrated officials said a crucial shortcoming may have been the failure to predict that the levees keeping Lake Pontchartrain out of the city would be breached, not just overflow.

They also said that evacuation measures were inadequate, leaving far too many city residents behind to suffer severe hardships and, in some cases, join marauding gangs

What kind of difference can that make? Look here [hat tip Jonah at The Corner].

Also, those looking at the reduced funding on the levees as the source of the problem may want to consider wether it was better the funding was reduced. The levees that failed were the ones most recently upgraded to the new requirements. The older levees on the Mississippe and Lake Pontchartrain held just fine.

Why? This is speculation (with an engineering background to give it some heft), but a newly upgraded levee needs time to settle in. The fact the earth around these failed leveees had been recently disturbed for the upgrades may have been what allowed the massive rain to weaken it more than firmer, more established soil designed to lower requirements.

People who stayed behind took a risk and now are paying a horrible price for their decisions. Many claim they could not afford to leave, but free transportation was available. And after watching a man refuse to evacuate as he sat on his roof with water to the eves, I find it more plausible that pride and arrogance led to some seriously bad decisions.

People who planned and planned for a hurricane made a tragic, but reasonable, assumption which cause incredible barriers to relief efforts. The scope of the disaster area is enormous, pushing all our resources to untested limits.

Disaster experts acknowledged that the impact of Hurricane Katrina posed unprecedented difficulties. “There are amazing challenges and obstacles,” said Joe Becker, the top disaster response official at the American Red Cross.

Under the circumstances, Mr. Becker said, the government response “has been nothing short of heroic.”

But he added that the first, life-saving phase of hurricane response, which usually lasts a matter of hours, in this case was stretching over days.

The reason it is ‘days’ is because of the fact there is no way to quickly drain New Orleans. That is the difference between overflowing and breeching levees.

But all through this disaster the left continues to test how low they can stoop, how cruel they can be, while perched on their soap boxes built of human tragedy. The fall from those heights will be much more than they ever expected as well. They too may be planning badly in their responses to Katrina.

Ed Morrissey also touches on this NY Times article here.

One response so far

One Response to “Katrina Was Unexpected”

  1. After Andrew, we just got to work!

    With the blame-game in full force, everybody is wondering how to get New Orleans back on the road to recovery.

    I am amazed at the commentary of the “unknowing”, those who have no military/recovery or disaster assistance experience, commenting …