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Empathy in Disasters may be lacking in Evacuation Plans

September 28th 2005

Empathy in Disasters may have been lacking in Evacuation Plans

First Lady gives comfort

To streamline disaster plans, we needed ex FEMA chief Brown to defend his actions. Full utilization of the powers of our nation seem to have resulted from fuzzy lines of jurisdiction, communication and empathy. After our representatives clarify the rules, someone should address the realm of empathy and its’ nitty gritty of do’s and don’ts.

For most people, nothing is more difficult than putting themselves in “other people’s shoes.” Thoughtless, unconnected officials responsible for decisions that effect the lives of multitudes of people are destined to make disastrous mistakes. The classic example is Marie Antoinette’s solution for the bread shortage in Paris: “Well let them eat cake”.

On the other hand, impractical solutions are often hatched in the minds of ‘bleeding heart liberals” who are most adept at feeling the pain of others. Appropriate actions are a mixture of insights gleaned from the facts and feelings of a situation.

Disaster Preparedness

We should all pray a team of reporters dedicated to this truth will document this year’s hurricane stories. Misperceptions must be set straight. For instance, poor residents of New Orleans with no money could not buy ticket out of town, much less pay rent when they got someplace out of town. But that didn’t stop citizens and the media from condemning them for not following instructions to “get out of town“. Now that thousands of poor folk have been moved to far away places; how will they find ways to settle down, assimilate, and find new jobs. Statistics should be kept for a few years to see what will happen to them.

A large number of death and injuries were in 2 busses trying to evacuate people from hurricane Rita. As a senior citizen, body functions are not far from my thoughts when on the road. My speculations about the causes for these accidents are not too far fetched. I can visualize a scenario where buss drivers are told to stay in convoy at all costs, and after they are under way, a passenger with diarrhea insists the driver stop and let him out. Such urgent demands may well have caused these deadly single vehicle accidents? If this be the true, rules need to be established?

Mundane problems of going to the bathroom must create big problems when thousands of people are gathered on roads. For instance what is acceptable under threat of hurricane or earthquake etc. when a highway has thousands of cars going nowhere in a traffic jam. I’ll hide behind an umbrella to do my thing!

People far from hurricanes may feel safe and not weigh their options seriously. But in our modern world it is hard to find a truly safe place. Complacent Californians, should be aware that earthquakes not only make houses uninhabitable with broken water, sewer, gas and electric systems, but even in small factories they can rupture pipes and tanks that could release poisons gases that easily spread for miles around. It was startling to see TV reporters and cameramen walk through unlocked gates, right up to huge tanks of explosive, poisonous chemicals only yards from schools and homes.


Trucks and trains carry all kinds of hazardous material on our roads even though in an accident, fumes can spread through whole neighborhoods, . What would you do if you awoke to a thick plume of noxious fumes. Most of us would scramble to the cars and join our neighbors driving as far as we can.

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By Allen Wilson
Freelance Writer and Educator

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:47 PM