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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-18-05 11:49 PM
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WSJ: U.S. Had Plan for Crisis Like Katrina
U.S. Had Plan for Crisis Like Katrina

A 2004 Exercise Produced An Evacuation Strategy; It Wasn't Ready in Time

September 19, 2005; Page A3


Warning that tens of thousands of stranded individuals would have to be evacuated by bus and airlift, the plan's 200-page preliminary recommendations were distributed Jan. 5 to state emergency planners and officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Army Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard and other agencies, according to the contractor that drafted the document. Dozens more copies, including 200 updated pages and annexes, were requested by federal officials in the days and hours before Katrina made landfall Aug. 29.

A copy of the 448-page "Southeast Louisiana Catastrophic Hurricane Plan," which hasn't been made public, warned that "a substantial portion'' of city residents wouldn't be able to evacuate, and that "a major limiting factor in executing this plan would be the shortage of transportation facilities." The document added that because of lack of transport, "delivery of water and possibly food to victims ... will be crucial to minimize deaths." Previous drafts of the document, but not the comprehensive version, have been cited earlier in news reports. Louisiana began requesting buses from the federal government only the day after storm waters breached New Orleans's levees, stranding the predicted thousands. It took FEMA four days to get an adequate number of buses.


Some federal officials have blamed state and local governments for the response, but the plan noted: "The response capabilities and resources of the local jurisdiction ... may be insufficient and quickly overwhelmed." It also endorsed actions later taken by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin -- for which he was criticized -- such as instructing people to go to their rooftops or high ground to wait for rescue. Military and other rescue helicopters, however, were slow to be deployed.


Ms. Beriwal said four Florida hurricanes in August 2004 delayed follow-up workshops. IEM then planned one workshop a month starting in January to have a plan in place for the beginning of this year's hurricane season in June. But the workshops were delayed by a funding shortfall at FEMA, Ms. Beriwal said. The total contract awarded to IEM was $800,000. When the final $300,000 came through in June, she said, workshops were held in July and August. Since Katrina, Ms. Beriwal's firm was hired by FEMA to prepare a report on the hurricane response. The value of that contract hasn't been made public.

Michael Brown, the FEMA chief who resigned last week under criticism for the Katrina response, previously criticized the Department of Homeland Security, of which FEMA is a part, for taking unobligated funds from the agency, weakening its ability to do such things as catastrophe planning. Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke denied yesterday that there was any significant funding shortfall that would have hindered IEM from completing its project. "The problem was that Mother Nature trumped the playbook," he said.

--Laura Meckler contributed to this article.

Write to Robert Block at

URL for this article:,,SB112709760587444584,0... (subscription)

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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-18-05 11:52 PM
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1. A good captain would have had a playbook for Mother Nature.
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burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-05 12:26 AM
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2. U$ Bu$hCo
plan is simple: if the people are poor: let them die or shoot them (if you are Black and poor you double your chances of being done in).
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emulatorloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-05 09:22 AM
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3. Kicking and nominating. . . .
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lateo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-05 09:23 AM
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4. Obviously it was Clinton's fault.
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