Well it has been over two years since the Haiti Earthquake and almost a year since the Fukishima event! Why blog about these two events when FEMA has little or no authority to operate internationally. It did have a NATO civil security role under Executive Order 12656 as amended but now that is a DHS role. And in fact in my time at FEMA 1979-1999 FEMA officials parked at NATO went native and contributed almost nothing to the agency's understanding of comparative civil security and Emergency Management issues and policies in the NATO countries. This is somewhat ironic since some of the EU countries are well ahead of the USA in both HS and EM. Proof check out the London Olympics this summer. And guess what intensive and extensive plans now exist to evacuate all of LONDON if its necessary including the transportation dependent. NYC and DC not even close.
So given the passage of time, what has FEMA contributed to the response and recovery of these events, and more important what has it learned? I would argue ALMOST NOTHING!
If my position is correct then FEMA really does not understand these events, the possibility of their occurring in the USA and does not have any really quality technical analytical and policy personnel that can understand the implications of these two events for the USA.
In an effort to measure metric wise what is a Catastrophe, and remember I always measure any incident or event that knocks out the capability of any level of government to respond and recovery as a catastrophe for that governmental unit, whatever others say, then metrics don't really count. But here is one anyway.
ANY EVENT THAT IS GOING TO BE LABELED A NATIONAL CATASTROPHIC EVENT IS ONE IN WHICH IMMEDIATE NON0INSURABLE DAMAGES EXCEED $10 B!
What actually has happened in Haiti is that a pretend nation-state a mere 700 miles offshore has been allowed to internally collapse. After just a four month term the new Prime Minister has resigned. This festering mess is a large large black mark on an Administration that will be intervening IMO in Syria this year. See my other blog at http://www.vacationlanegrp.wordpress.com and HLSWATCH.COM for discussion and comments by me.
And in Japan, the world's 2nd largest economy is struggling with the FUKISHIMA event although no one in Japan wants to label it accurately as a continuing catastrophic event.
HAS the FEMA REPP [radiological emergency preparedness program] now headed by Andy Smith learned anything from this event? Has Mr. Smith visited Japan or Adminsitrator FUGATE or DEPUTY Serrino? AFter all Director James Lee Witt visited Japan after the KOBE Earthquake and he learned a lot from that trip that impacted FEMA policies.
So let's have some Congressional oversight of FEMA's efforts on Haiti, Fukishima, and perhaps even New Zealand which is a country facing up to the fact that Christchurch will never be the same city, unlike the pretensions of all that NOLA can be fully restored to pre-Katrina levels of society.
These could be issues in the Campaign but won't be because the BUSH 43 Administration believed that FEMA was not an important component of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
COULD THIS BE THE YEAR OF THE BIG ONE IN THE USA?