After witnessing separate responses to separate natural disasters, drawing comparisons between the responses seems almost inevitable. And in the case of American natural disasters, how could anyone ever forget Hurricane Katrina?
When the tsunami hit Japan on Friday, March 11th, Japanese officials quickly responded and the Japanese Self-Defense Force along with other search and rescue teams were immediately deployed to the worst hit areas to search for survivors. If this had been Hurricane Katrina, former President Bush would be having birthday cake with John McCain and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would be attending a Padres baseball game in San Diego.
On Saturday, March 12th, the second day of the disaster, the Japanese mobilized 100,000 military and rescue personnel. If this had been Hurricane Katrina, Department of Homeland Security head-honcho Michael Chertoff would just now be admitting that the levees in New Orleans had been breached and former President Bush would be playing guitar with country singer Mark Willis before returning to his ranch in Crawford for a final night of vacation.By Sunday, March 13th, the third day of the disaster, the Japanese had evacuated a total of 230,000 people from both the tsunami stricken area and the area surrounding the crippled nuclear reactor at Fukushima. If this were Hurricane Katrina, the National Guard would just now be arriving in Louisiana and as many as 80,000 people would still be trapped in New Orleans and the Superdome with no water, food, or sanitation.On the third day of the disaster, former President Bush would be looking out the window while flying over the gulf coast in Air-Force One, Michael Chertoff would be saying he is “pleased” by the response to the disaster thus far, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would be attending a Broadway show, and FEMA director Michael Brown would claiming they were completely caught off guard by the storm.By Monday, March 14th, the fourth day of the disaster, as many as 500,000 Japanese had been evacuated from the tsunami stricken area and the area surrounding the crippled nuclear reactors. If this were Hurricane Katrina, Mayor Nagin would be issuing a desperate plea for help on public Radio, FEMA director Michael Brown would be claiming he has received no reports of violence occurring in New Orleans, and Condoleezza Rice would be attending the U.S. open Tennis tournament before going shopping for shoes.On the fifth day of the disaster, Karl Rove concocted a plan to blame local officials for the inadequate response, President Bush watched a DVD of the week’s newscasts before telling Michael brown that he was doing a “heck of a job”, and congress would just now be approving $10.5 billion dollar in aide.A week after the disaster started in New Orleans, the evacuation of the Superdome would finally be complete, with most of its occupants heading for Houston, Texas.A week after the disaster, the Japanese have begun building temporary housing for those who lost their homes in the tsunami and for those who had to be evacuated from Fukushima.
Construction of some 200 temporary housing units started Saturday in the coastal city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture, which was severely damaged in the mega earthquake and tsunamis.The 30-square-meter prefabricated houses capable of accommodating two to three people will be built on the grounds of a junior high school. A date for completing construction has yet to be set. [...]The Iwate prefectural government plans to build 8,800 houses in total for evacuees.
Many residents of New Orleans didn’t receive their wretched, poisonous FEMA trailers to live in until months following Katrina. Five years later, tens of thousands still haven’t been able to return to the city despite their best wishes. And according to the 2010 census, the population of New Orleans has dropped 29% in relation to the 2000 census.So what about President Obama’s response to Japan’s triple disaster threat? President Obama was awoken at 4 a.m. immediately following the earthquake and tsunami to be briefed on the subject. The president pledged full support for recovery and the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group was immediately dispatched to provide aid, join the search and rescue operation, and provide other logistical assistance.