Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Self Reliance

John Tierney writes in the NYT that only the cities and states that practice self reliance in disaster preparations are likely to successfully manage a disaster like that which struck New Orleans. He says that local and state officials must realize that they are responsible for action prior to for the first 72 hours after a disaster strikes. They are the ones responsible for evacuations, declarations of emergency and martial law. He says that mayors like Rudy Giuliani understand this and manage emergency response programs that so reflect their understanding of their responsibilities. Not so in New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. In the Hampton Rhodes area, emergency workers who go door to door to announce mandatory evacuations carry a supply of black Magic Markers with them. If a citizen refuses to evacuate, the workers hand the person one of the markers and tell him or her to write their Social Security number on their body parts so that they can be identified after the recovery operation begins. Tierney reports that, "It's cold, but effective."

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