I know that a disaster of Katrina's magnitude is unprecedented in the United States. And the challenges faced by city officials and the federal government are immense.
First, the storm hit and then the waters rose a day later. There was never time to deal with the devastation before the whole city was submerged under water. And if that wasn't enough, a breakout of mass lawlessness canvassed the area.
But what bothers me is the lack of preparation to deal with the disaster. As far as I can tell, a command center has yet to be established with one person (the governor, mayor?) in charge. There isn't one contact with the media to report efforts, problems and progress.
With New Orleans residing below sea level, this type of disaster was always a possibility. Knowing this, there should have been a rule book addressing every "what if" scenario so the city could act quickly. Evacuation centers should have been equipped with water, food and generators to operate in flood situations with security personnel trained to deal with riots and crime.
There is no Rudy Giuliani on site for this disaster, no one leader taking control to coordinate police, rescue organizations, disaster relief groups and efforts to deal with the ongoing flood waters.
My heart breaks for those people trying to survive in the heat, without shelter, food and water, in the midst of gunfire.
As I said, I know this is a disaster, the likes we've never seen before in this country. But a good risk management plan done in advance may have given the city a network of support and the preparedness to help the homeless in a more orderly manner. And an emerging leader now could provide people with comfort that help is coming.
Rudy, where are you?