So what lessons can be learned from Katrina, and what can cities and counties across the nation do in the future to avoid or alleviate this scale of disaster? How can plans be better laid, communication improved, supplies be shipped or pre-placed, etc?
After reading reports like this... (from http://www.cnn.com/2005/WEATHER/09/0...act/index.html )
...and after hearing Chernabog describe the utter ineptitude and communication failure that took place during last year's hurricane evacuation, I think that first and foremost, every city in America should designate "disaster centers" ahead of time - central (by practice, not by geography) locations people can go to for supplies, medical care, shelter (if need be), and/or information. These centers should be so well-known that addresses and MAPS to them are published in the front of all the phone books, just as stadiums are currently. Should evacuation be necessary, every person in the city/county should be able to know where they can go to ensure being evacuated, or if people can't get there (such as patients at a stranded hospital), where they can send someone to report in so that their location is known.At the Ernest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, thousands of increasingly frustrated people waited for help amid dead bodies, feces and garbage, in 90-degree heat and rain with little food and water.
A National Guard helicopter finally came to drop them some supplies, and Mayor Ray Nagin advised those inside the convention center to march across a bridge to the other side of the Mississippi River for help.
Federal Emergency Management Director Michael Brown told CNN that federal officials were unaware of the crowds at the convention center until Thursday, despite the fact that city officials had been telling people for days to gather there.
"We just learned about that today, and so I have directed that we have all available resources to get to that convention center to make sure that they have the food and water, the medical care that they need," he said.
Every location designated as a disaster center should be equipped with minimum two generators, located well away from eachother (such as one in the basement, one on the roof, or one interior, one exterior), and should be wired for Wi-Fi and a cell antenna so that disaster workers can come in with laptops and keep communications flowing.
The Governor's and Mayors' offices should all have comprehensive lists of these locations.
Any other ideas?