A Pile of Dog Bones

“In each of us two natures are at war… the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, but one of them must conquer. In our own hands lies the power to choose. What we want most to be we are.” – Dr. Henry Jekyll

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The One Year Mark For Katrina, Ernesto, and 2,996 Success

So today marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in the Gulf Coast Region and leaving nothing but destruction in her wake.

I know there will be a lot of talk about New Orleans, its recovery, and the failure of the Federal Government to act in a timely manner. I've also mentioned these things previously on more than a few occasions. Today however, I want to make mention of some places not talked about as much.

Like Biloxi, Mississippi for example. 50 people died in Biloxi when Katrina bounded ashore. There was a 30 foot high tidal surge that practically wiped it from the map. Over 6,000 homes and businesses were destroyed. It's residents were scattered to the winds across the United States, leaving behind desolation and despair.

Yet today, most of the 50,000 pre-Katrina population has returned. Around 98% of the debris is gone from the streets, and the Beau Rivage casino re-opens today. The re-building of Biloxi is well underway. Although it is casinos that are providing the majority of the jobs and helping to fuel the recovery, it most certainly is underway. Biloxi is a great example of the resiliency we have come to know and expect from being an American.

Then there is Buras, Louisianna. The town was practically washed into the Gulf of Mexico by the storm which landed atop of it and pushed a 21 foot storm surge through it. Today town housing is in the form of white trailers. The road to the town is still littered with fishing boats and the unnatural debris filled lots remain as a reminder that there is still a long road ahead.

Looking towards the future, the National Weather Service has updated their Ernesto track. The predictions have now changed to Ernesto remaining as a Tropical Storm as it clears Cuba and heads for Florida. It is expected to make landfall in Florida around 2:00am Wednesday morning, August 30.

FEMA has been watching this storm very closely and have made a number of preparations for its landfall. FEMA preparations for Ernesto include:
  • Engaging with governors and state emergency managers in the anticipated impact states to begin federal and state coordination.
  • Working with partners at the National Hurricane Center to anticipate the storm's landfall.
  • Mobilizing trucks with food, water and ice for the potentially affected areas.
  • Activating FEMA's National Response Coordination Center in D.C., and the Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta, Ga., to Level 1, with a 24/7 operational period.
  • Activating and deploying response teams to staging areas in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, including Federal Incident Response Support Teams (FIRST), Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and Urban Search and Rescue Teams.
Of course now that it is back down to a Tropical Storm... well they may relax some of their preparations. Like I mentioned before, Floridians are professionals at getting through these types of storms.

The important thing FEMA needs to remember is that it isn't a question of "if" but rather a matter of "when".


On a final piece of news... the 5 year anniversary of September 11 is less than two weeks away. I am happy to tell everyone that DC Roe's 2,996 Project has assigned all 2,996 names to a blog for rememberance on the anniversary. A huge congratulations to him for his outstanding work and accomplishment on this... and a gigantic thank you to all of those who are participating.
Posted by New York City's Watchdog :: 8/29/2006 08:11:00 AM :: :: 1 Bones Added to the Pile

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