Given the path of the Hurricane and its progression, if you were mayor of New Orleans what would you be doing to prepare for the possibility of the storm hitting the city?
Given the location of New Orleans, the fact that it is surrounded by various water bodies (a river, a lake, and the Gulf of Mexico), and that it is below the sea level, as a mayor of this city I would focus my attention on the strengthening of the levees and making them taller to prevent the flooding of the highly populated areas of the city. Besides, I would proceed with the evacuation of the most dangerous areas, such as the ones close to the industrial canals. Besides, I would use the local radio and television to launch another warning message namely for the people of New Orleans to emphasize the seriousness of the upcoming disaster to encourage those who can leave the areas to do that.
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What are some key omissions you noticed about decision-making during the press conference?
Among the most crucial omissions of the decision-makers, there was the failure to perform a timely evacuation of the population that did not have personal vehicles, the lack of boats to provide rescuing of the citizens during the flood, poorly equipped police and army. Besides, the decision-makers of the area that was affected by the hurricane the most had to ask for help from various organizations that ensure the safety of the population in the conditions of crises. The individuals, unable to move, such as elderly people, low-income families, and those who live in the districts likely to be flooded as shown by the simulation of the hurricane Pam had to be evacuated first.
What is your opinion of the Super Dome is a “location of last resort”?
In any crisis, regardless of the seriousness of the warnings and signs of the upcoming catastrophe, there are still groups of individuals who refuse to evacuate or are left behind for some reason. As a result, the “locations of last resort” such as the Super Dome are extremely important. At the same time, in the case of New Orleans, if the costs spend on the creation of the Dome went to support and strengthen the levees around the city there is a chance that the ruination caused by the flooding could have been prevented.
What are some key things to consider about evacuation?
When it comes to the evacuation, the most important factors to consider include the sufficient number of vehicles to move all the endangered population, the delivery of the vehicles into the accessible places where the citizens can board them, and the messages about the evacuation spread by all possible resources (TV, radio, the internet, announcements, billboards). Besides, it is crucial to make sure that no one is left behind, so there has to be a service patrolling the streets and checking if there are separate individuals in need of help. Moreover, another service has to function to deliver people who do not have an opportunity to travel to the shelters such as the Super Dome.
Given the location of the city of New Orleans, what would be your concerns from a planning standpoint to prepare for a natural disaster like a hurricane?
New Orleans is surrounded by water and is right on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico; this makes the city exposed to hurricanes. As a result, even without the forecasts and warning about a disaster coming within the next year, the city is to be equipped to face a problem of this kind. First of all, the attention of the administration and the decision-makers of New Orleans should be focused on the creation of the means that would keep the hurricanes and floods from penetrating the city. Evacuation and rescue are the final measures that demonstrate that the leaders allowed the catastrophe to occur and to leave thousands of people homeless and injured.