Obama on 4th anniversary of Katrina: We must be more prepared for future disasters and challenges


“On this anniversary, we are focused on the threat from hurricanes. But we must also be prepared for a broad range of dangers,” President Obama said in his August 29 weekly address, on Lessons and Renewal Out of the Gulf Coast. Amen to that, and while he is using the language of preparedness planning and implementation, the President should start applying it to the threatened impacts of global climate disruption.

Excerpt from “Weekly Address: Lessons and Renewal Out of the Gulf Coast” on August 29, in which the President discussed the steps being taken to finish the job of recovery from Hurricane Katrina on the fourth anniversary (video, audio, and transcript):

This weekend marks the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the Gulf Coast. As we remember all that was lost, we must take stock of the work being done on recovery, while preparing for future disasters….

Our approach is simple: government must keep its responsibility to the people, so that Americans have the opportunity to take responsibility for their future….

As we rebuild and recover, we must also learn the lessons of Katrina, so that our nation is more protected and resilient in the face of disaster….

On this anniversary, we are focused on the threat from hurricanes. But we must also be prepared for a broad range of dangers – from wildfires and earthquakes, to terrorist attacks and pandemic disease….

[T]ogether, we can ensure that the legacy of a terrible storm is a country that is safer and more prepared for the challenges that may come.

The approach may be “simple,” but of course all this is easier said than done.  To say that the U.S. can be prepared for future disasters and challenges, climate change among them, is not necessarily to say that we will be prepared.  Nor is it to say that future disasters and challenges couldn’t overwhelm even our best efforts to prepare, prevent, and adapt.  But the sooner the political and governmental leadership starts thinking and talking to the public in terms of a preparedness planning and implementation framework (which includes both prevention efforts and enhancing resilience to impacts), the better our chances may be of preventing disasters that can’t be managed.

See our earlier posts on:
Climate Change Preparedness

Assessments of Climate Impacts and Adaptation

New Orleans pumps unsafe on Katrina anniversary, report concludes: Army Corps preparedness cover-up?

It’s now open season for hurricanes:  How we can make our coasts more resilient?

It’s hurricane preparedness week…Are we prepared?

“The Climate Crisis and the Adaptation Myth”— a must read for Obama’s climate change advisors

And this, another on-the-mark post by Joe Romm at Climate Progress:
The lessons of Katrina: Global warming “adaptation” is a cruel euphemism — and prevention is far, far cheaper

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