Science - Did we knew? New lessons from Katrina & Boxing Day Tsunami

KatrinaScience.jpgNote: I shall discuss what the scientists already knew (or learned) about Boxing Day Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, how they have failed to communicate this to policy makers effectively and most importantly, what are the lessons for future. No politics.

Part I: The havoc of Hurricane Katrina - writing on the wall.

There were some early warning signs, even in the popular scientific literature and newspapers..

In October 2001, the Scientific American published a clairvoyant article Drowning New Orleans by Mark Fischetti. It started as "A major hurricane could swamp New Orleans under 20 feet of water, killing thousands. Human activities along the Mississippi River have dramatically increased the risk, and now only massive reengineering of southeastern Louisiana can save the city… New Orleans is a disaster waiting to happen."

However, The New York Times acknowledges that they never really comprehended the complexity of vulnerability of the levees, the poverty and the dangerous mix together could do - they only had a very cursory discussion in last 10 years.

[In Preparation]

Part II: Coping with disasters, some lessons from Boxing Day Tsunami. [In Preparation]

Part III: Climate change and hurricanes. [In Preparation]

Part IV: Ray of hope. [In Preparation]

The simplicity of Bangladesh's approach in the way construction and crowd management is performed for a poorer country in case of floods is worth noting.

Epilogue: We need to concentrate on rebuilding New Orleans with newer technology, look at disaster mitigation strategies with fresher eyes for Los Angeles, Istanbul, and northern India, northern Pakistan, and Nepal along the Himalayan rim. We as scientist utterly fail if we cannot work for the betterment of our fellow men in ways that will bring change.

Courtesy: Picture from Science 9 September 2005: 1656-1659