Wednesday, September 07, 2005

More Hurricane Katrina Thoughts

The news has just been depressing recently; the level of devastation in New Orleans is beyond all comprehension. It's understandable, then, that anger turns towards governments that let the situation develop so catastrophically. It's even more understandable when the most visibile efforts being made to deal with the problem are coming from voluntary organisations, like the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross. And when President Bush is spending lots of time dealing with Supreme Court business - as important as it may be - rather than seeming to take strong action in the clean-up process, then there's no wonder calls for major investigations are taking place.

I'm not decrying the efforts of the voluntary groups - in many cases, they have literally been a godsend in this situation. Yet really, the government should be coordinating efforts in this sort of situation. They have stronger resources. So when Tom DeLay is trying to abrogate responsibility by arguing that emergency procedures were supposed to operate from the bottom up, I'm totally disgusted. The infrastructure of New Orleans was completely washed out by the flooding. That the mayoral office seems to be able to operate at all is a minor miracle. Small government, and local government can only work to a point. The inaction and inability to act of the US government is emphasised by the fact they have been appealing for international aid. Something really needs to be considered more carefully. These procedures have not been sufficient, and a similar scenario may strike at any time in the future (see the hurricanes currently threatening Florida again). Swift revision of procedures must take place.