New Orleans: un disastro annunciato da molto piu’ di una settimana


(Lettera a Vittorio Zucconi/Repubblica:

Caro Direttore

C'e' da meravigliarsi molto della assoluta impreparazione specie da parte del Sindaco e del Governatore, proprio perche' la situazione di New Orleans era nota da molti anni (due riferimenti in calce a questo messaggio)

Da questo punto di vista il parallelo con lo tsunami di Natale 2004 e' molto chiaro: la gran parte dei danni sono da imputare al comportamento irresponsabile di chi abita e invita ad abitare luoghi mal protetti dalle forze idrogeologiche; e non c'e' niente di piu' pericoloso dell'incompetenza e dell'ignavia di chi si affanna tanto per comandare, ma solo allo scopo di acchiappare una Poltrona

Tirem innanz, aspettando le grida di dolore della prossima catastrofe tutta umana "waiting to happen" (come ce ne sono tante nell'Italietta del Ponte sullo Stretto)


"Ivan and New Orleans"
Most scientists, engineers and emergency managers agree that if Ivan does spare southern Louisiana this time, The One is destined to arrive someday. The director of the U.S. Geological Survey has warned that New Orleans is on a path to extinction. Gregory W. Stone, director of the Coastal Studies Institute at Louisiana State University, frets that near misses such as Hurricane Georges — a Category 2 storm that swerved away from New Orleans a day before landfall in 1998 — only give residents a false sense of security. The Red Cross has rated a hurricane inundating New Orleans as America's deadliest potential natural disaster — worse than a California earthquake. "I don't mean to be an alarmist, but the doomsday scenario is going to happen eventually," Stone said. "I'll stake my professional reputation on it."

Drowning New Orleans; October 2001; by Mark Fischetti; 10 page(s)
THE BOXES are stacked eight feet high and line the walls of the large, windowless room. Inside them are new body bags, 10,000 in all. If a big, slow-moving hurricane crossed the Gulf of Mexico on the right track, it would drive a sea surge that would drown New Orleans under 20 feet of water. "As the water recedes," says Walter Maestri, a local emergency management director, "we expect to find a lot of dead bodies."
New Orleans is a disaster waiting to happen. The city lies below sea level, in a bowl bordered by levees that fend off Lake Pontchartrain to the north and the Mississippi River to the south and west. And because of a damning confluence of factors, the city is sinking further, putting it at increasing flood risk after even minor storms. The low-lying Mississippi Delta, which buffers the city from the gulf, is also rapidly disappearing. A year from now another 25 to 30 square miles of delta marsh-an area the size of Manhattan-will have vanished. An acre disappears every 24 minutes. Each loss gives a storm surge a clearer path to wash over the delta and pour into the bowl, trapping one million people inside and another million in surrounding communities. Extensive evacuation would be impossible because the surging water would cut off the few escape routes. Scientists at Louisiana State University (L.S.U.), who have modeled hundreds of possible storm tracks on advanced computers, predict that more than 100,000 people could die. The body bags wouldnÆt go very far.

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