What can be learned?


(Bush arrives today in Southern California. Photo: (AP Photo/Chris Park)

Let me preface this with saying that comparing disasters candevolve into something which is not helpful and can be hurtful to all involved. Whether one loses their home to flood or fire, whether thousands of neighbors lose their homes or be it hundred of thousands, the hard terrible painful fact remains your home is gone. At that level, a disaster is a disaster is a disaster. But as Bush lands in California to, as theWaPo reports, “showcase his administration’s ability to respond better to natural disasters than it did after Hurricane Katrina two years ago” comparisons need to be made to determine if that conclusion is warranted. Fortunately, that WaPo article does a good job of doing just that.

First as WaPo reports this has not been much of a test for FEMA as their “responsibilities for battling wildfires are far more limited than its role in dealing with hurricane damage.” The former undersecretary of preparedness for DHS is quoted as saying
“FEMA is not getting a real test in putting direct federal assets on the ground.”

Second and if only cable/network news would have done thisas well…the article does an excellent job of comparing the difference in scope between the 2 disasters:

Still, the relatively smooth response to this season’s devastating
wildfires says more about California’s efforts over the years than the
federal government’s, several veteran federal, state and local
emergency managers said.

While Katrina’s vast floods and winds covered an area the size ofBritain
at 90,000 square miles, fires in seven California counties blackened
about 700 square miles as of yesterday — a footprint one-third smaller
than wildfires burned there four years ago. The number of homes
destroyed was about 1 percent of the 300,000 made uninhabitable by
Katrina, and financial losses were less than 2 percent, based on
initial estimates, comparable to the damage caused by wildfires inOakland in 1991 and in Southern California in 2003.

Local officials have choreographed the largest evacuation in Golden
State history, with estimates of the people instructed to leave their
homes at 351,000. But many began returning yesterday. Katrina prompted
the evacuation of 1.1 million people, and 500,000 were still displaced
after four months.

The article notes that some, including Democrats, have given Bush credit for his quick response by doing this…

6 thoughts on “What can be learned?

  1. Lex…yes I think that will be the big long term issue. I suspect many will find they will not be able to get insurance in the future.

  2. Excellent post, mon ami. I really expect folks in California to take it in the neck from the insurance companies. They no longer think that covering risk is part of their business; making record profits is all they care about. The fact is that they’ll *always* make profits but they’re as greedy as the rest of the helots.

  3. I guess I ought to be grateful Bush waited as long as he did to fly out for his photo op, but seriously, his presence in the area added a lot more to the stress and complexity of the disaster than it benefited anybody except Bush/Schwarzenegger (photo op).
    Insurance will be an issue. Water, however, already is and will only get worse.
    I speak from experience. I live in Texas. We have wildfires here. We have droughts here.
    We also have T Boone Pickens here, who made an obscene (and wasted it) amount of money from drilling for and selling off oil, and now wishes to do the same thing with water.

  4. One more difference between So Cal and New Orleans – It’s a pretty safe bet that most,if not all the home affected in Southern California are insured to the hilt, so I don’t see how these homeowners are going to suffer any longer term financial loss. This wasn’t the case with a lot of people in New Orleans. But watch as the Bush regime forks over taxpayer money to bail out the insurance companies thereby absolving these companies of their obligations to the people they “insure”

  5. can’t remember what show it was, but insurance doesn’t cover what they might think it covers. remember how insurance covers the gulf coast victims.

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