gonzo liberal's Left Hook

[ Wednesday, September 07, 2005 ]


I've been in a kind of shock, I guess.
The destruction caused by the storm breaks the imagination. We've all gotten a little jaded about hurricanes of late. They come, they cause a little damage, a couple of deaths, they go. Suffering and rebuilding go on largely out of public view. But this is different. The scale of the disaster uprecedented. It is at times like these that general innumeracy kicks in, preventing us from understanding the magnitude of the destruction.

Then, there's our various governments' response.
For days, the people of three states' coastlines were pretty much left on their own. Cities destroyed, citizens abandoned. Basic relief, now, a week out, has still to arrive in some places.

But here, in suburban Annapolis, Maryland, I wonder. How prepared is my local and state agencies for a disaster on that scale. Hurricane Isabell came and went, a little damage, no deaths that I can recal. But what about something on the scale of Katrina?
What would it take to throw the Baltimore-Washington corridor into the type of chaos witnessed in New Orleans? And what would be the effect over here in Annapolis, or for that matter, in any of the surrounding counties?

A forty foot flood surge in the Chesapeake Bay would rival or exceed damage done in the South by Katrina. It would flood our little house, sitting two blocks back and twenty five feet up. It would turn my family into refugees. What is our plan? What are the plans of my state and county?

Now, a week later, the south still struggles with Katrina. Now, a week later, I realize that this was a very personal event, and not just for the people that went through it. It's time for all of us, no matter where we live, to familiarize ourselves with our local and state emergency planning. It's time to get serious about our own (your own) personal and family planning. Most of all, it's time to realize, on a gut level, what the limits of government are. The governments failures in the face of Katrina are easy to see. But these failures must be internalized by us all, so that we can, first, adapt to this reality of inept government and second, work to make the necessary changes. This must be done personally and locally, as well as publicly and nationally.

I know nothing about my own local, county or state emergency planning. Even going through Isabell last year, I was able to remain unaware of official efforts. I guess that's a good place to start.

gonzoliberal [8:18 AM]