September 06, 2017

#Harvey and evacuations

Many Houstonians, including friend Brains and a college classmate of mine, whenever the issue of Harvey evacuations was raised, adamantly sided with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett vs. Gov. Greg Abbott.

They insisted, all while referring to the clusterfucked Hurricane Rita evac, that such a thing couldn't be done.

First, a sidebar. Per one Tweeter, despite the fact he's so anti-gummint he doesn't like the Americans with Disabilities Act, it's possible, whether true compassion or simple rationality, that Abbott's physical condition was a motivator in his thought.

That said, was he wrong?

First of all, let's remember that three years after Rita, and apparently learning from it, Houston-Galveston had a relatively orderly — given the situation — evacuation from Ike. Not all the city, but targeted low-lying areas, as well as Galveston.

Yes, I know people jumped the gun on Ike, and it wasn't as orderly as it could be. But, adequate law enforcement helps. Use the National Guard if necessary. Given an evacuation ultimately affects more than a local area, the gov (Perry then, now Abbott) should be calling it up ASAP anyway.

Harvey had even more rain, so I don't know if that could have been done as well as with Ike, but it's at least possible.

And, per the NYT, others are asking why not an Ike-like partial evacuation?

So, at a minimum, comments here (or if I post to Facebook) that ignore the Ike evacuation will be deleted. Period. You can criticize the Ike evacuation, but to say nothing but "look at Rita" doesn't fly.

Second, having started on this piece on Monday, even as regional public safety officials were going door-to-door in selected neighborhoods, couldn't greater Houston at least had "evacuation in place" plans already started? As in, having designated shelters, or volunteer shelters, in Houston's highest, relatively least flood-prone areas, already set up? And then, mass evac people from the worst neighborhoods there, earlier?

Of course it could have.

I mean, Fort Bend County ordered a mandatory evac of selected areas early Monday afternoon.

At the same time, per my post on Harvey and politics, isn't this yet another reason to "vote YOUR rascals out" in Houston and Harris County? (I know Brains didn't vote for Emmett, and if he voted for Turner in the city runoff, it was while holding his nose.)

"Evacuation in place" would also, at least partially, address the issue of people who can't afford to evacuate.

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