Thursday, October 25, 2007

"You Cannot Compare These Disasters"

NBC News correspondent Martin Savidge cautions folks against comparing Hurricane Katrina with the wildfires in Southern California:

There is a lot of buzz about the comparison between the natural disasters in the New Orleans area after Katrina and currently in Southern California – and which handled the emergency best and why.
You cannot compare these disasters. They are as different as water and fire. The loss of 1,300 homes in Southern California so far is awful, but pales to homes and business lost to Katrina. In St. Bernard Parish alone they lost almost five times as many. We aren’t even touching New Orleans or the often overlooked Mississippi coast.

Much of Louisiana's infrastructure was compromised or destroyed. In California much of it was left intact. They could talk on phones to coordinate relief in California. They could barely find a radio to call for help after Katrina.

Qualcomm Stadium where thousands sheltered was never threatened. The Superdome was heavily damaged. It had twice to three times as many people and no electricity, no ventilation, not much food, limited security, no water, no sanitation and absolutely no information.

Then there was the loss of life.

Don't compare these disasters; that would be grossly unfair to the people of California and Louisiana.

The biggest concern is that many will – and then say, "See we have learned from Katrina and fixed what failed." If leaders believe that, then that really will be a disaster.

Hat tip to Joe Gandelman.

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