Looking at the news from The USA, on British television, it certainly would seem that New Orleans is as prepared, as it can be, for another major hurricane. This time around the officials seem to have realised that time is of the essence. With the National Guard in place and citizens being given adequate notice of the impending hurricane at least the populus has had a fighting chance.
Living in such as area, as New Orleans, means that certain natural disasters occur all too frequently. However, when Katrina hit New Orleans, there was just too little notice given and not enough things, such as evacuation, enforced. This time around, with Gustav, a curfew has been put in place immediately and it has been made plain that looting will not be tolerated and that all offenders caught will be punished. Business and home owners alike have been able to secure their properties as much as possible and have been encouraged to then move away. In fact the Mayor has given stark warnings to those who may consider staying put in New Orleans. He has said that anyone foolish enough to stay will be on their own.
It was sad watching the long slow crawl of traffic leaving New Orleans but at least with the timescale everyone should reach safety. Buses have been transporting those without their own means of transport and other towns have had red cross centres set up with makeshift accommodation. It must be awful for those involved but hopefully this will save lives.
Although none of this is ideal I think that at least the authorities have done what they could to minimise loss of life and personal tragedy. I guess there will still be a lot of work to be done to streamline diaster procedures in the future and make sure that New Orleans is better protected in the long run. However, when you consider that it is only three years since Katrina struck, I think that the authorities have probably done the best they could in the time available.
My heart went out to an older lady, shown on television, who had only received the keys to her new home yesterday, having been displaced three years ago. Now this poor woman was having to move out again and one can only hope that this time her home survives and that she is one of the lucky ones.
The only real way to fully protect the people of New Orleans, I suppose, is to move them all once and for all, lock, stock and barrel to a new town. However this is not practical and the citizens would probably not want that anyway. So, with the World's ever worsening climate, all that is left is for such low lying areas as New Orleans to look at putting firm evacuation procedures in place, spending a fortune on the City's defences and riding out each successive storm. I must say that I do not envy them the tasks in hand.
I shall be keeping my fingers crossed for everyone over there.