The head of the Missouri Department of Public Safety said Friday that the state is well-prepared for natural disasters … that could bring devastation similar to that being seen along the Gulf Coast.
Still, director Mark James said he plans to have extensive discussions with emergency management officials now headed for the area when they return to see if the state should reassess how it would respond to massive tornadoes, flooding or even an earthquake on the New Madrid fault in southeast Missouri.
“I want to get a briefing on where we are with (planning) just to ensure that our current plans that are sitting on the shelf — are they adequate?” James said in an interview. “I’m sure (New Orleans) thought they had all kinds of adequate plans.
“This has definitely served as a wake-up call.”
Rep. Dennis Moore, D‑Kan., who attended Friday’s presentation, told reporters that the $10.5 billion being provided by Congress would only begin to help alleviate the suffering in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Florida affected by the storm. Moore also echoed criticism that federal authorities have been largely ineffective in stabilizing the situation in New Orleans.
“It’s just hard to believe that we’re watching the television coverage of this and it’s happening in the United States of America,” Moore said. “We can and should do better.”
Asked about U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert’s comment Thursday that it “doesn’t make sense” to rebuild parts of New Orleans below sea level, Moore replied: “I would not have said that. I don’t think that kind of talk is productive right now.”
It’s good that people are re-evaluating the existing plans.