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Another Look at Crisis Management

Recently there has been a great deal of discussion regarding relief management on O-Nerd and other less reputable news sources. The gist of all of this debate was the proper organization for heading up the relief effort. Florida Governor Jeb Bush recently published a little bit regarding an entirely different look. Based on his success in managing the ‘…seven hurricanes and two tropical storms in the past 13 months…’ he asserts that Florida’s state-level disaster relief is an efficient and effective one. Certainly with the poor example set by the Louisiana State Government, Florida is a shining pillar of crisis management, even if they are lackluster in election management.

On a related note, there has been a great deal of discussion concerning FEMA’s alleged inability to effectively handle anything greater than a bad thunderstorm. Perhaps we are pointing our fingers at the wrong agency. Perhaps we do not even need FEMA to handle these sort of things. It would certainly appear that Governor Bush believes that the responsibility lies at the state and local level.

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enfeoffment by willwaddell

Perhaps we should just grant Louisiana to Florida as a fief. Then Jeb could manage both places. I can see it all now: Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida, Duke of the Swamp Kingdom. Medieval Europe here we go.

Perhaps things have changed and improved alot in 13 years, especially for Florida, but I would think they would have had to learn since they had their own "Katrina-like" devastation in the form of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Also, in a weird irony, federal response was criticized then, but that time it was President (H.W.) Bush that responded to angry cries from a local Floridian official.

Furthermore, looking at lots of data of the worst hurricanes from 1900-2000, Florida would in the last 40 years also have more strong (Cat. 3 & above) hurricanes, 5, to make landfall there as opposed to Louisiana, at \‘just\’ 3. In terms of the most costly (unadjusted dollars), Florida has 6 of them from the last 20 years, as opposed to Louisiana with just 2.

I\‘d imagine and hope that anyone living or thinking of living in Florida is aware of the nice hurricanes that like to sweep through it by now, but memories can be short it seems. The last major hurricanes to hit a large part of Louisiana seem to be Hurricane Camille (1969) and Hurricane Juan (as recent as 1985). If anything, witnessing the exodus around the Houston area here before Rita, with the very recent and well-publicized Katrina past, can show that we don\’t learn at all (not that the evacuation of SE Texas was perfect, but let\‘s just say I don\’t see how it can be improved much.)

In terms of preparing for a disaster, then yes, I would say local authorities should have more knowledge and better ability to carry out whatever plan they have to ensure the safety of their citizens. In dealing with a horrendous aftermath though, those resources from just the state and local officials would almost definetly not be able to do much (especially if there is not much left.)
In conclusion, it would seem obvious that FEMA is largely structured to deal with any potential aftermath, and lower-level officials would (ideally) deal with the preparation before a disaster strikes.

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