Remember Hurricane Katrina? The one that completely devastated New Orleans, causing thousands of casualties? The one whose damage the Bush administration has yet to fix? It might as well have kept Michael Brown as head of FEMA and created an official photo-op business in New Orleans for all of the ‘patriotic’ politicians who staged their photo-ops in that state. However, the end result to New Orleans would still be the same, and as a result, it is highly doubtful that New Orleans will ever return to its former glory. But that’s in the past, and I prefer looking toward the future.
Recently, scientists have put out an earthquake warning cautioning that Southern California is likely to have a massive earthquake within the next 30 years, the pessimistic ones stating that it could happen as early as today. On the one hand, I am not a pessimist; on the other, I believe the scientists. The earthquake could be a nine on the Richter scale, having a devastating effect on the state. Freeways could be shattered, and if the earthquake occurs during rush hour, Californians would see their earthquake casualties skyrocketing into the thousands. A majority of the houses would collapse or be near collapse and the transportation system, which is heavily dependent on freeways, would be destroyed. With the transportation system out of order, food and water supplies would not arrive to re-supply California.
In addition, people would not be able to drive to work, and California would not be able to export its products and spread them among the state’s population, leading to an economic depression in the most economically powerful state in the United States.
In short, the economic effects of the earthquake would be worse than those of Hurricane Katrina, which was also predicted a year in advance, and yet nothing was done until the last minute. The upcoming earthquake could very well be California’s Katrina.
There is no doubt that California will survive the earthquake, but will the state be able to recover from the after-effects of the earthquake? That depends on how prepared the state is to recover from the earthquake, how many resources the state can put into its own reconstruction and how prepared in general Californians are for the earthquake.
What is being done to prepare the state to avert this mass disaster? Absolutely nothing! Like a college student who waits until the night of March 31 to do a 15-page paper that was assigned on March 1, California’s government seems to believe that it can easily prepare for the earthquake within a couple of years. The logistics of preparation alone require more time then a couple of years.
First, the state has to educate all of the residents of California on how to obtain food and water and do their part in rebuilding the state in a calm manner to prevent massive panicking, rioting and turning the state into a Third-World country, as has happened in New Orleans.
Second, it must have engineers and professional construction crews ready to jump into action to repair the transportation system and other buildings that have collapsed during the earthquake.
Third, the state must have enough financial reserves to implement this plan and take the economic hit of several weeks of inactivity.
My short plan is nowhere near as complete as an earthquake plan ought to be and one cannot devise such a plan in the scope of an opinion article, but this little plan is actually more than the California government has done to prepare for the earthquake