Levee and communications systems in New Orleans
| 05.25.2006 | 07:11:07 | Views: 2726 | ID:
May 25 '06: The Associated Press reported that a practice emergency drill, run by New Orleans officials on Wednesday, revealed problems in the city's communications systems but there were improvements in supply-line delivery channels to allow food, water, ice and medical supplies to reach victims.
Louisiana State Emergency Director Col. Jeff Smith told the news wire service, "There's a lot more people involved. ... We have to have more training and coordination." Meanwhile, other efforts to prepare the beleaguered city are in their final stages, the New York Times reported. "With just days to go before the beginning of the hurricane season, the [Army Corps of Engineers'] $800 million" levee rebuilding project is complete.The corps repaired more than 150 miles of levee walls and gates but "[s]ome of these things were poorly designed and were almost pre-ordained to fail," the Times was told by the head of the National Research Council Wayne Clough. Clough said that the way the levee system was built undermined the overall condition and performance and that "Just because they've been restored to their condition pre-Katrina doesn't mean they are perfectly safe." Whatever the conditions of the levees, emergency officials in New Orleans say, greater coordination must be achieved for relief and response operations to be successful. Col. Smith told the AP he was satisfied with the new communications equipment but that training on how to use it was essential. Regarding supply-lines, however, "Smith said more staging areas and more people to work those areas improved the coordination of supplies. ... Bar-coded wrist bands and computers will help officials keep track of evacuees," the AP wrote. In related emergency relief news, a new report released by the Joint Commission Resources found that emergency evacuation and response to elderly communities "requires special planning." The JCR, an organization developed to disseminate "information regarding accreditation, standards development and compliance, good practices, and health care quality improvement," found that in elderly communities, the ability of the population to survive in hardened conditions would greatly effect response operations. "Planning for an emergency evacuation involves a comprehensive assessment of an organization's population and an understanding that elderly persons may have special needs resulting from cognitive or physical limitations. They may need to be reminded frequently of their role in an emergency, even if the directive is for them to remain where they are," the study read.
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