Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Of Windmills, Lighthouses, and Sea Walls

"As U.S. military engineers struggled to shore up breached levees, experts in the Netherlands expressed surprise that New Orleans' flood systems failed to restrain the raging waters.

With half of the country's population of 16 million living below sea level, the Netherlands prepared for a ''perfect storm'' soon after floods in 1953 killed 2,000 people. The nation installed massive hydraulic sea walls.

''I don't want to sound overly critical, but it's hard to imagine that (the damage caused by Katrina) could happen in a Western country,'' said Ted Sluijter, spokesman for the park where the sea walls are exhibited. ''It seemed like plans for protection and evacuation weren't really in place, and once it happened, the coordination was on loose hinges.''

The sympathy was muted in some corners by a sense that the United States reaped what it sowed, since the country is seen as the main contributor to global warming."

"Katrina Prompts Global Support for Victims" Associated Press via August 31, 2005


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