Skip to comments.Why Didn't Nagin Follow His Own Plan?
Posted on 09/05/2005 12:09:11 PM PDT by Copernicus
September 04, 2005
Katrina: Why Didn't Nagin Follow His Own Plan?
Mark Tapscott, one of the best crossover bloggers and a fierce researcher, turned up an interesting document yesterday: the New Orleans comprehensive hurricane disaster plan. The plan exists on line and has a high level of detail, and yet the Exempt Media has given no coverage of its contents. The most obvious reason is that it shows that New Orleans and the state of Louisiana didn't follow their own plan.
For example, the plan has this to say about the responsibility for evacuations:
The safe evacuation of threatened populations when endangered by a major catastrophic event is one of the principle reasons for developing a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. The thorough identification of at-risk populations, transportation and sheltering resources, evacuation routes and potential bottlenecks and choke points, and the establishment of the management team that will coordinate not only the evacuation but which will monitor and direct the sheltering and return of affected populations, are the primary tasks of evacuation planning. Due to the geography of New Orleans and the varying scales of potential disasters and their resulting emergency evacuations, different plans are in place for small-scale evacuations and for citywide relocations of whole populations.
Authority to issue evacuations of elements of the population is vested in the Mayor. By Executive Order, the chief elected official, the Mayor of the City of New Orleans, has the authority to order the evacuation of residents threatened by an approaching hurricane.
Evacuation procedures for special needs persons with either physical or mental handicaps, including registration of disabled persons, is covered in the SOP for Evacuation of Special Needs Persons.
In short, Mayor Nagin had the responsibility not just for the declaration of evacuation, but to have a plan ready to handle its implementation. As noted repeatedly, the only actions Nagin took was to call a press conference and ready the Superdome for refugees. Those with personal transportation available hit the roads and got out of the way. Those unable to move themselves, either from poverty or infirmity, got left behind. Why? Nagin had a responsibility under this SOP to have a plan and to implement it.
The document then goes on to discuss exactly how to conduct an evacuation of the city. It delineates several tasks for the city government, which it notes in section III-A is solely the responsibility of the city government. This makes perfect sense; in a potential catastrophe, one cannot rely on outside help that might have long-term difficulties in reaching the city, especially one with the geographical obstacles of New Orleans.
New Orleans established a time line for evacuations:
Evacuation notices or orders will be issued during three stages prior to gale force winds making landfall.
> Precautionary Evacuation Notice: 72 hours or less
> Special Needs Evacuation Order: 8-12 hours after Precautionary Evacuation Notice issued
> General Evacuation Notice: 48 hours or less
The mandatory evacuation order came a little less than 48 hours before the storm made landfall, but well past 48 hours before the levees broke. Further, the precautionary evac notice came about 96 hours before landfall, and the mayor only upped that to a general evac after George Bush exhorted the mayor and Governor Blanco to do so. (Notice that Bush could not, himself, give such an order; he has no authority to do so.)
Section III-B-V lists the tasks assigned to the various city government offices in the event of a hurricane catastrophe. The Mayor has three tasks: to initiate the evacuation, to retain overall control of the emergency operation, and then to authorize a return to the evacuated areas. The city's Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) reports to the mayor and must coordinate with the NOPD, the state OEP, and the regional transit authorities to:
* Supply transportation as needed in accordance with the current Standard Operating Procedures.
* Place special vehicles on alert to be utilized if needed.
* Position supervisors and dispatch evacuation buses.
* If warranted by scope of evacuation, implement additional service.
So the failure to order the buses out of their yards wasn't some failure of imagination on the part of Nagin and New Orleans. It isn't a case of the city not understanding the scale of what a Cat-4 storm could do to the city. According to New Orleans' own emergency plan, those buses should have rolled at least as soon as the mandatory evacuation order was given on Saturday, if not when the voluntary evac order came earlier. The city's OEP failed to carry out this crucial part of the emergency-response plan, which is why so many of the poor, infirm, and just plain stubborn citizens got stranded when the levees broke.
And did the city anticipate the amount of people that would get left behind? Apparently so, and designated shelter for 100,000 of them. Curiously, the Superdome does not appear on this order:
Shelter demand is currently under review by the Shelter Coordinator. Approximately 100,000 Citizens of New Orleans do not have means of personal transportation. Shelter assessment is an ongoing project of the Office of Emergency Preparedness through the Shelter Coordinator.
The following schools have been inspected and approved as Hurricane Evacuation Shelters for the City of New Orleans: Laurel Elementary School
Walter S. Cohen High School
Medard Nelson Elementary School
Sarah T. Reed High School
Southern University Multi Purpose Center
Southern University New Science Building
O. Perry Walker High School
Albert Wicker Elementary School
Did these shelters remain open, and did they have the resources on hand to provide food and water for 100,000 people? Did the decision to select these locations take into account the probability of massive flooding due to potential levee failure? Most importantly, if the Superdome had no plan for sheltering citizens during a general evacuation order -- and apparently had no provisions to do so -- why did New Orleans stack its citizens like cattle there during the early hours of the hurricane?
Many people have jumped to the conclusion that because the response in New Orleans has produced such a bad result, the underlying reason must have been a lack of planning. Had this document been followed and the city trained to react in accordance to it, it would have produced a far different result than what we see today. How often did city officials review this plan? Did they train to it, as required in the first section? When was the last time they ran drills against this plan?
It sure looks like no one in charge in New Orleans knew of this plan's existence. They certainly skipped over the part where they had the primary responsibility to take care of their own citizens. New Orleans residents should ask themselves why Nagin failed to follow his own disaster planning, instead of sitting on his rear and waiting for the feds to bail him out.
UPDATE: Nagin got his wish; DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff has announced that the feds have taken charge of New Orleans.
Posted by Captain Ed at September 4, 2005 07:01 AM
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Katrina: Why Didn't Nagin Follow His Own Plan?:
» Bus Gate Deadly Negligence from Sierra Faith Many are on this, and with documents and photos....
Nagin should be drug tested.
Duh, it's easier to just blame Bush..
Mayor Nagin is no Rudy Guiliani.
Governor Blanco is no Jeb Bush.
Those two Louisiana officials should be put on trial.
Same material (from the NO Emergency Plan for Hurricanes) was quoted here on FR a couple days ago:
He did. He left town.
Nagin has no balls............... but lots of buses.
G.W. should have dropped his sorry *ss out of the helicopter the other day.
Nagin needed this translator:
Come to live thread in Katrina.
I just finished explaning the issue of "Storm Surge" to another Freeper who does not live in Hurricane Ally.
That post is reproduced below and I hope it is informative to those who think that a hurricane is a hurricane is a hurricane no matter where you happen to be.
"...... Where exactly you were going to suggest they take all these people?", he asked me:
Well, being from ( X ), you probably have very little experience with hurricanes. Since my family has lived in Hurricane Ally for over 140 years, I do.
Where do you take those people?
OUT OF THE STORM SURGE ZONE!!!!
ANYWHERE out of the Storm Surge zone!
It does not matter where they end up....in Baton Rogue, in Georgia, in Texas or in Timbuktu.
You get them the h#ll OUT OF THE STORM SURGE ZONE!
"Ummm....What's a Storm Surge?", those who don't live in Hurrican Ally ask.
This is what a "Storm Surge" is": Post 11 of this thread
This is what a Storm Surge does:
This is how people who are left stranded in a Storm Surge area end up.....259 war veterans WPA workers aboard that train died in that 1935 Labor Day Hurricane :
The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane Storm Surge literally wiped the Town of Islamorada off the map.
A 1933 hurricane storm surge not only totally destroyed the Cuban town of Cayo Cristo and every human being and every building in that town. It also washed away the entire friggin' island! Afterwards, an entire ISLAND was no longer on navigational charts.
That is why the Mayor of New Orleans beat feet to Baton Rogue. Baton Rouge is OUT OF THE STORM SURGE ZONE.
By contrast, New Orleans is not only in the Storm Surge zone but also BELOW SEA LEVEL. It's levies were not designed for anything greater that Category 3 and Katrina was forecast as a Category 5.
"But no city offered to take them in and ....whine, whine"
Eight hundreds thousand (800,000) other resident of New Orleans got out of the Storm Surge Zone and they were just absorbed into the rest of the United States.
Another 200,000 is totally irrelevant.
On top of that, Bush requested to Federalize the entire evacuation and the Democrat Governor refused.
The New Orleans Hurricane disaster plans called for COMPLETE evacuation of New Orleans precisely BECAUSE IT WAS IN THE STORM SURGE ZONE.
The Southern Louisiana Evacuation Plan specifically stated that people without private transportation were to be transported on public buses.
There were not just "200 buses". There were 200 buses in just one photo and Freepers studying the post-Katrina satellite images have counted over 400 buses altogether at other city parking.
At 70 people per bus that is 28,000 people per round trip that could have been taken out of the storm surge area in the 48 hours prior the Katrina striking.
After the storm hit, what makes you think that buses sent from outside of New Orleans could drive through the flooded mess any better than the 145 New Orleans city buses that were parked 1.2 miles away from the Superdome?
Was Scotty supposed to beam the outside buses to the Superdome and them beam them back out so that they would not have to drive through impassable roads?
The time to evacuate those 200,000 low-income people on public buses OUT OF THE STORM SURGE ZONE was BEFORE the Category 4 storm struck.
That was what the Southern Louisiana Evacuation Plan for New Orleans specifically called for.
The Democrat Governor and the Democrat Mayor did NOTHING to carry out that portion of the plan. They left 200,000 low-income resident abandoned and they now blame the Federal Government for not having Scotty beam down a massive logistics effort after a human disaster of their own making.
Nagin and the other elected criminals are already salivating at the thought of the grifts and payoffs and skimming that they are going to get over the rebuilding of New Orleans. I'll bet that at the end of this rebuilding, Nagin will be a millionaire 50 times over,
He has done his best to keep people's attention away from himself, and of course, the willing accomplices in the media have been right there to help and assist him.
There is never enough info to be posted on this extraordinary example of incompetence, and the mayhem it caused.
The first hurricane I ever recall was Carla in 1960. We lived in San Antonio at the time, yet it made an indelible impression upon me. I recall the winds, the rain, and hearing about threats of tornadoes. Yet we were 150 miles from the coast.
For the life of me, I dont know why Nagin or the governor didnt order NOLA evacuated much earlier. It wasnt like they didnt see it coming!
I want to know why he went from using a very businesslike voice before the hurricane, to using the profane street-jive voice he uses now. Actually, I think I know.
I've been saying that since Tues or Wednesday! LOL
A recent study concluded that poorer people are less likely to evacuate and made two suggestions.
The study concluded (page 6) that
The number of low income residents who remain in harms way illustrates the need for both
education about the need to travel far enough1
providing evacuation assistance to those without means2
1. I wonder if Nagin emphatically told his poorer constituents that they needed to evacuate at a distance, to high land, rather than take shelter in a friend's "stronger" home.
2. I don't have to wonder if Nagin sent buses to evacuate his poorer constituents.
Citizen Hurricane Evacuation Behavior in Southeastern Louisiana: A Twelve Parish Survey
Released by The Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Taskforce, July 2005.
We have all noticed the cyclic uptick in hurricanes in recent years. I think that many lives would have been saved if New Orleans city codes had required inflatable lifeboats in each residence. The codes probably required fire escapes for some buildings, and what were the odds that someone would have needed to use one of them?