< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://sirhumphreys.com" > Sir Humphrey's: "Magic marker" solution

SIR HUMPHREY'S BLOG

SITE MOVED:Sir Humphrey's has moved

Please join us at our new site: www.sirhumphreys.com.

The RSS feed for sirhumphreys.com is now here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"Magic marker" solution

From the New York Times, how at least one state is well prepared for natural disasters.
Mr. Bush made a lot of mistakes last week, but most of his critics are making an even bigger one now by obsessing about what he said and did. We can learn more by listening to men like Jim Judkins, particularly when he explains the Magic Marker method of disaster preparedness.

Mr. Judkins is one of the officials in charge of evacuating the Hampton Roads region around Newport News, Va. These coastal communities, unlike New Orleans, are not below sea level, but they're much better prepared for a hurricane. Officials have plans to run school buses and borrow other buses to evacuate those without cars, and they keep registries of the people who need special help.

Instead of relying on a "Good Samaritan" policy - the fantasy in New Orleans that everyone would take care of the neighbors - the Virginia rescue workers go door to door. If people resist the plea to leave, Mr. Judkins told The Daily Press in Newport News, rescue workers give them Magic Markers and ask them to write their Social Security numbers on their body parts so they can be identified.

"It's cold, but it's effective," Mr. Judkins explained.

That simple strategy could have persuaded hundreds of people to save their own lives in New Orleans. What the city needed most was coldly effective local leaders, not a president in Washington who could feel their pain. It's the same lesson we should have learned from Sept. 11 and other disasters, yet both liberals and conservatives keep ignoring it.

The liberals bewailing the insensitivity and racism of Republicans in Washington sound like a bad rerun of the 1960's, when urban riots were blamed on everyone but the rioters and the police. Yes, the White House did a terrible job of responding to Katrina, but Democratic leaders in New Orleans and Louisiana didn't even fulfill their basic duties.

In coastal Virginia - which, by the way, has a large black population and plenty of Republican politicians - Mr. Judkins and his colleagues assume that it's their job to evacuate people, maintain order and stockpile supplies to last for 72 hours, until federal help arrives. In New Orleans, the mayor seemed to assume all that was beyond his control, just like the mayors in the 1960's who let the riots occur.
If Bush began acting more like a classic Republican and trimmed back the excessive federal bureaucracies, in conjunction with tax cuts, then maybe more states would act like Virginia and more people would survive the first days of a disaster. Mind you, it's precisely what those baying for his blood don't want since they are also by and large in favour of national control of all things. Interesting to see a more cogent analysis in the NYT though.
ยท Linked Article

Posted by Chefen | 9/07/2005 06:00:00 pm

1 Comments:

Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Good article, but I think most NZers are more interested in local politics right now. My international posts are attracting similarly few comments. Only 10 days to go!

9/07/2005 08:42:00 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home