Friday, September 02, 2005

Disaster Rankings, circa 2001

The conservative Free Republic site reprints a December 1, 2001 Houston Chronicle article about a rather eerily prescient mid-2001 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) report. In the report, FEMA scientists concluded that the three most likely catastrophic disasters to occur in the U.S. in the near future are: 1. A terrorist attack on New York City (which happened); 2. a massive earthquake in San Francisco; and 3. (drumroll, please) a hurricane and flood in New Orleans. Of the last scenario (the main subject of the article), the Chronicle says:

In the face of an approaching storm, scientists say, the city's less-than-adequate evacuation routes would strand 250,000 people or more, and probably kill one of 10 left behind as the city drowned under 20 feet of water. Thousands of refugees could land in Houston....

A big storm, scientists said, would likely block four of five evacuation routes long before it hit. Those left behind would have no power or transportation, and little food or medicine, and no prospects for a return to normal any time soon.

Wow. FEMA is taking a lot of abuse these days for being unprepared and slow to respond to the catastrophe in New Orleans and surrounding areas. It's nice to see that their scientists, at least, knew long ago what they faced.

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