2005 September 05 Monday
Things That Could Have Been Done Before Hurricane Katrina Hit

Some ideas are coming to me that would have been helpful to implement in advance of Katrina coming on shore. They are worth bearing in mind next time high crime rate city with a large lower class is about to get walloped by a foreseeable natural catastrophe.

  • Use the in-bound stretches of the final couple of days commercial flights to a city in the path of disaster to bring in military police, electric generators, water distillery machines, food, weapons, ammo, and some other stuff. There are places in New Orleans that could be expected to survive even a Cat 5 hurricane. So the MPs could come in with enough supplies to support themselves for a week and survive the passage of the hurricane. To make this work MPs would need to be mobilizable in that short period of time before the catastrophe is known to be about to happen.
  • Bring in armored personnel carriers with lots of supplies in their guts. I figure APCs can ride out a cat 5 hurricane, especially if parked next to a structure that can survive a cat 5 hurricane.
  • When a city is known to lack the cognitive resources in its government to organize something so basic as the driving of a couple hundred school buses to evacuate the lowest classes then plans must be made to compensate for this. Have people chosen in advance from surrounding and more civilized areas to serve as volunteers to come in and drive the buses. Get police or MPs to ride shotgun on the evacuations to maintain order on the buses.
  • The military should have helicopter-liftable electric generators to put onto the roofs of hospitals to take over when the power fails. Apparently this is too much to expect to be done by the administrators of hospitals, especially in decayed cities.
  • Doctors and nurses in areas with high crime rates and big lower classes should be issued pistols (or encouraged to buy their own and get training) in advance of a hurricane or other natural disaster so that they can defend their institutions.
  • Send in special forces - especially Navy SEALs who are trained to operate in water environments - in advance of a hurricane and immediately after a hurricance with orders to hunt down and kill or capture (with large amounts of discretion to decide which choice is feasible) the most dangerous armed gangs.
  • Pull all the weapons and ammo out of stores (e.g. Wal-Mart) and carry the weapons out of the target area before the stores get closed.
  • Build storage structures near major cities that can survive hurricanes and even nearby nuclear blasts and stock those structures with electric generators, fuel, and other supplies a military force could draw on so that a military force can move in more quickly after a disaster.
  • When a state governor is too slow to ask for National Guard from other states then the national government (assuming it is competent - not always the case and not the case now) needs to step in and order lots of regular military in quickly.
  • Pass laws to allow authorities to round up all who have felony conviction records to put them in preventive detention.
  • During evacuations separate the likely predators from the likely prey. For example, don't put young black males into the same refugee facilities as children or old folks.
  • The federal government should have hundreds of satellite phones with embedded GPS waiting to be distributed in case of emergency. Hospitals and other key locations should have reliable communications during and after the disaster.
  • Methods to set up temporary cellular towers with perhaps microwave relay towers should be developed so that at least in some limited number of areas some cellular service could be restored rapidly.
  • Airports should have something akin to bomb shelters where airport recovery workers and air traffic controllers and crucial equipment could ride out the hurricance or other disaster. Then an airport could get back on line more rapidly starting immedately after the storm passes.

One major theme here is that the civil society problem is one key problem that must be addressed. In segments of populations which have little in the way of a civil society (e.g. much of the black lower class) other more together populations nearby need to know to step in and bring their more civilizing influences and basic skills to see that basic things get done. But in order to do that well we have to become a more honest nation and admit to the nature of the threats we face from some segments of our population. If we can't be that honest then lots of rape, murder and mayhem await the next perfect storm to hit an urban area which has a big dangerous lower class.

Another major theme is hardware and structures. We need to address how equipment could get prepositioned and protected to better restore various functions after disasters. We also need better ways to bring stuff in rapidly.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 September 05 03:05 PM  Solutions Practical

Marvin said at September 5, 2005 5:28 PM:

Steve Sailer says the average IQ of black New Orleanders is in the 70s. That would explain a lot of what we saw last week. People with intelligence that low simply have to be cared for and watched to make sure they don't hurt themselves or others. They can't be expected to fend for themselves except in normal, routine situations. This intelligence deficit puts a tremendous strain on infrastructure, but there's no way around it. Society has to take care of everyone.

The military seems so competent in comparison to the Louisiana and New Orleans governments, it makes you wonder whether disaster relief should possibly be handed over to retired military people with extensive logistical experience.

Bulldog said at September 6, 2005 1:27 PM:

The sick people should have been evacuated from the city before the storm hit. Expecting a hospital to function normally under the circumstances following Katrina is absurd. All hospitals are required by law to have backup power sources. But those backups are not meant to last for days or weeks. Once they run out of diesel, without re-supply they are out of luck. Everything in hospitals break down without power. Much better to devise "power-out" alternative methods of functioning, than to believe you can get every hospital to adopt indefinite time power backup systems. The cost of that is insurmountable.

Dan said at September 6, 2005 4:43 PM:

Im glad somebody is asking what can be done in the future. One thing would be to fix all radios so that relief wprkers, cops, firemen etc.can communicate eith each other. The loss of communications caused a lot fo firemens deaths in 9-11. Evacuations plans have to looked at and ,modernized. The local newspaper asked a hospital located on the wayer what they would do answer exacuate . Next question where? well it turns out the recieving hospital had 20 beds available. I think the school bus idea is impractical,theres nowhere in a cat 5 storm to take peole, actually most poople wh stayed in NO would of been alright if the levees would of held. I do blame the city for not having a sufficent security presence at the convention center and the superdome, keeping order takes a lot less people then restoring it. I still say the primary focus on the storm should be the nuts and bolts of coping with a disaster . Security is a minor componet of that.
Actually too little attention is being paod the wave that hit Mississippi.

Bob Badour said at September 6, 2005 5:43 PM:


When a hurricane strikes land, it loses power very rapidly. A Cat 5 at the coast is never a Cat 5 even an hour further inland. The storm was predicted days in advance. Even with a single day's warning, the city could have possibly ferried 50,000 people sixty or a hundred miles further inland depending on where facilities might have existed to house them.

It would have taken about 3 round trips with each of the buses and a single, final one-way trip. Even allowing for breakdowns, loading and unloading, I think that is more than reasonable with 24 hours notice.

Peter said at September 6, 2005 7:22 PM:

Some of the ideas are pretty good, not all of them, but some. The trouble is, there simply wasn't enough time in Katrina's case to accomplish most of them. There was less than 72 hours' warning, IIRC.

Woden said at September 6, 2005 7:41 PM:

Concerning this advice:

"When a city is known to lack the cognitive resources in its government to organize something so basic as the driving of a couple hundred school buses to evacuate the lowest classes then plans must be made to compensate for this. Have people chosen in advance from surrounding and more civilized areas to serve as volunteers to come in and drive the buses. Get police or MPs to ride shotgun on the evacuations to maintain order on the buses."

Most people from those other areas would not volunteer to go into the crime-ridden areas even before a hurricane is brewing and they have their own precarious situation to handle. NOLA has been atop the list of most dangerous cities for decades, and yet people from neighboring localities are expected to rush into the slums? No. Let them all live and die with the local government that they created. No altruism for those who repeatedly create messes for others.

Jorge D.C. said at September 7, 2005 1:49 AM:

A good list. But when a large coastal city is below sea level you'd think they'd have an institutional flood warning system...perhaps a massive siren system? Just to give people an option of last minute evac. Just to motivate them.

Bottom line is NOLA is the most opportune place for a storm to land. They had an evac plan in writing that stipulated the school buses would be used yet the buses sat in flooded parking lots. Dysfunctional city gov. Dysfunctional state gov. Really, Pundit, Louisiana movers & shakers could have had your entire list posted on the fridge and still things would have ended up the same.

An Intelligent Sista said at March 19, 2006 9:44 AM:

I know that the media depicted my people (BLACKS)as poor, unintelligent and slow, but these uneducated people own their homes and land, be it through an inheritence that was passed down from generations or through their own expenses, they strive to keep what they have together. When you don't have the resources that others have, then you go into a panic when all is LOST! Stastics show that nationwide, those nationalities that receive public assistance are as follows: approxiamately 60% white, 30% black, and 10% other, also the governor of Louisiana, (a white woman) actions were as uneducated, mindless, as well as careless. Michael Brown the former leader of FEMA (a white man) was incompetent, and unskilled to handle what his job description required him to do. Now, I understand that my people (BLACKS) weren't shown in our best light, but understand that it wasn't my color that allowed many people of all colors to die, become stranded and left homeless.

P.S.(Our I.Q's has nothing to do with what is RIGHT and WRONG, also before one addresses the color of those who are not in power, take a look at the color that is!!! SMOOCHES!)

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