Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Public versus private responses to Katrina
A sobering post by Kieran Healy (generally not a libertarian type) points out the vast disparity in speed and effectiveness between public and private Katrina responses.
Hyatt Regency Hotels, a private actor, got supplies in to its hotel on Wednesday, and got hotel guests out of the city. Several days and a dozen press conferences later, the government got around to doing the same for Superdome refugees. The distance between the two points: Two tenths of a mile.
As many Crooked Timber commenters are pointing out, roads into New Orleans were not submerged. Relief could have arrived sooner, as the Hyatt example makes clear. It didn't only because of incompetent bureaucracy. This disaster was man-made, not natural. It's time to call for FEMA leaders' heads on a pike.
(That indictment in no way applies to FEMA people on the ground, who were, as far as I can tell, doing everything they could to help out).
Oh, and next time I go out of town, I think I'm going to stay in a Hyatt.
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