Friday, September 02, 2005
Blame the dead
[M]any commentators have looked at the images of people without food, water, or much of anything and announced that this shouldn't be happening in America -- as if we enjoy some sort of supernatural immunity to natural disaster, or some sort of superhuman ability to make things better. It doesn't work that way.
The reason why people like FEMA and the Red Cross recommend that you stockpile enough emergency supplies to get through at least a week without food, water, or electricity is that it generally takes at least that long after a major disaster to get aid flowing. Roads are blocked, bridges are down, power plants -- and lines -- are wrecked, and communications are interrupted. For at least a week (and you're much better off to be prepared for two) you may be on your own.
Really, what's wrong with these desperately poor people living paycheck to paycheck who didn't have the foresight to come across hundreds of dollars to buy food, medicine and other essentials? I suppose they deserve to die.
And on those response times? Does it really take a week to get "aid flowing." Well, here's what the WSJ had to say about the hurricane spate of 2004.
The scene was starkly different in Florida a year ago, after Hurricanes Charley and Frances roared in. Then, federal agencies pulled off a tour-de-force rescue, quickly pouring in billions of dollars to help distressed residents and more still after two more storms, Ivan and Jeanne, followed. President Bush visited the scene within 48 hours. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, took personal responsibility for managing much of the relief effort. While Floridians experienced delays and frustrations, FEMA generally received high marks.
Tractor-trailers with ice, water and other supplies waited at the state border until the storms passed and then rushed to the hardest-hit areas. National Guard troops were on the scene quickly directing traffic, keeping looters out of damaged neighborhoods and throwing ice in people's car trunks. Aid stations opened to serve food and take applications for cash grants.
New talking points, please.