14 November 2005

A quick note on Katrina

A professor in my department, Bob Kinzie, just forwarded me an interesting quote from Simon Winchester's book on the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. The contrast between this and what happened in New Orleans after Katrina is really quite pitiful:
"Just after 5 in the morning of April 18, 1906, a massive tremor picked up San Francisco and shook it like a rug. Within 90 minutes, solders had surrounded the Hall of Justice. By midnight, aid had arrived from Los Angeles. And by 4 AM the next morning, Washington had authorized every possible assistance, dispatching solders, rations and the longest hospital train ever assembled. All this had been done be telegraph and Morse code."

Is it really too much to expect for the Federal Government to be no worse at responding to disasters now than they were 99 years ago?
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