I am amazed at the destruction of Katrina has not happened earlier given the weakness of the dykes and water retaining systems that were in place before Katrina. However, engineering and hydro-dynamics aside: I’m praying for the real life people who have lost collectively billions of dollars and the many families who have lost members of their families. This is not like the Tsunami in massiveness geographically, but people from all over the United States and around the world will be and have been effected.
The second half of this post is aimed at city planners, boards in charge of counties and politicians who are making choices.
My father was a civil engineer (he’s an elder/pastor at a church now) in Carson City, Nevada and he spent some of his time working up a proposal for the City of Carson City to consider for a new drainage system. The source of the request of the proposal was a major flood that happened in 1996 that caused a lot of damage to homes, retail outlets and industrial businesses. However, the city planners had no intention of actually spending the money it would have required to get the new drainage plan implemented. So… a big flood happened again. No drainage work has been done to improve this as a whole to my knowledge. It may be a recurring event for years to come when major amounts of water sweep off of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Secondly, in Carson City they have what is called ‘C hill’ which is where the local High School has placed a ‘C’ on a large grassy hill. It gets a lot of wind. When a fire was started in the area it was almost completely uncontrollable and some expensive homes were lost. The firm my father was formerly involved with prior to the change in careers also put a proposal together for the city knowing that this grassy area near very expensive homes was in high danger of fire hazards. The solution was brilliantly simple: get a sheep herder to let 100+ sheep graze on the grass in that area to keep its growth down. The cost would have been minimal compared to the damage that was caused several years back.
New Orleans has had a known issue with its waterways. Parts of the city were below sea level and large dykes were in place to help prevent flooding. However, it was a known issue that a major storm could cause this to be over-flowed and that major parts of the city would be flooded (as I write this the most recent report was that 80% of the city was under water, one major hospital had patients and staff still in it but the first floor was flooded). If you are involved with city planning you have to evaluate your budget and figure out what is the best use of the money that you have raised from your citizens in taxes, etc.. However, putting money towards things that will not be there long term if you don’t put money towards protective measures… is a bad choice.
As I said, I’m praying, but I’ll be praying for world, national, state/provencial, city, town and family leaders to make wise choices. Not a lot in life is under your control.