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September 02, 2005

After the Storm Continued

I accidentally only posted part of what I wrote this morning.  The remainder is below and will also be added back into the original post so my apologies if you read the same thing twice.

Officials have to be more responsible in passing on information than the press.  And they have to verify that they are acting on the basis of accurate information.  That slows things down. Nevertheless, there is a lot to learn from the news networks about how to use technology and motivated, pre-positioned people to get information fast from disaster zones.  The old, slow hierarchical structures for information flow are not needed given modern technology and the Internet.

Unlike 9/11, our response does not seem heroic.  After 9/11, we were angry and proud.  Today we are frustrated and appalled.  This is partly because of the same media I just praised.  Where are the stories about the Red Cross and Salvation Army run shelters which are successfully caring for the people who DID evacuate?  Mary is volunteering at the local Red Cross chapter and, along with many wonderful offers to help, they are getting too many angry calls asking “why aren’t you feeding those people at the New Orleans Convention Center?”

The new Department of Homeland Security seems to have flunked its first test.  We responded better to the World Trade Center attack without such a department than we are to Katrina now that we have this super-bureaucracy.  But the disasters are very different.  There is no comparison between the number of survivors who need help in New Orleans and the tragically small number of survivors of 9/11.  We need to know what went wrong, not primarily to assess blame but because we know there will be a next time.

And we need to help.  In the off chance that you can use my help in helping, you can contribute to the Red Cross by clicking here or on the Red Cross logo on top of the right sidebar of my blog. 

If you’re a blogger and want to run any one of a number of charitable logos and links on your blogsite, go to www.wordofblog.net to pick up an easy-to-install snippet of html.  You’ll even be able to track how many helpful click-throughs you made possible.

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