Should citizens in general be required to bail out certain cities over and over and over again? New Orleans is a case in point. Suppose a bunch of people got together to build a city and got around to the siting question (where to put it).

New Orleans is at major risk every hurricane season and every 2-4 years it gets hit hard. Let's suppose New Orleans didn't exist and the aforementioned group were to look at the area. "Hmm...there isn't enough land there to build the city on." "Yeah but I have an idea. We'll build walls around part of the water and pump the water out and build our city there." "Under sea level? You must be kidding!" "I'm serious as a heart attack! If the sea wall fails, we'll just depend on the Feds to help us out."

Cities built along the San Andreas Fault are another example.

Maybe Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle should be moved to Kentucky and Tennessee (but not along the Ohio River).

And what about people who build homes in 100 year flood plains? People love to build homes right on the banks of rivers, and they can do so because they know the county, state, or FEMA will come in and rescue them and probably help them out.

How much should the public pay for stupid decisions as to where to build cities or homes?

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So, you think Japan might invade China? Somehow, I don't see that possibility looming on the horizon!

The thing about New Orleans is it is at the mouth of the Mississippi River, far and away the most important economic river in the world, more so than the Nile or Amazon. New Orleans exists because mankind needs some sort of major city to exist at the end of the Mississippi.

We can't really get rid of New Orleans, we can only move it upstream, and that wouldn't be terribly cheap for the American taxpayer.

Exactly John. You can't move the mouth of the Mississippi to Indiana. Cities are where they are for a reason.

The thing about moving the city was just an attention grabber subject line. Don't be literal-minded and take it too seriously. The real point is shouldn't people who persist in living in dangerous places by assuming government help be weaned off FEMA and forced to make set-asides and preparations and to take out insurance on their own rather than expecting us to be bailing them out all the time, especially when these events happen with great regularity. You know it's going to happen fairly soon, why not be totally prepared?

While we're discussing moving an entire city, why don't we move Israel to some part of Africa?

Well, the creation of Israel was, in retrospect, a horrible mistake and has destabilized the entire region. I'd be for moving them further away than Africa, if they'd accept it. They won't, though, because it's the land, in their view, that God promised them.

The Sykes-Picot borders, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the San Remo conference, the Treaty of Lausanne, and, later, general Cold War sphere of influence considerations may have had a tad to do with the instability of the region too.


Doesn't Indiana suffer from frequent blizzards and tornadoes?

Blizzards no...though Tornadoes are becoming more and more common, even in my part of the state.

When one flies over the "tornado alley" part of the midwest, one realizes why tornadoes causing horrific damage and loss of life to towns or cities is relatively uncommon, given the hundreds of tornadoes which occur every season: looking down from the plane window, one sees farmland mostly and a city or town only rarely. When a tornado wanders into a densely populated area, it is rare and it is random.

Hurricanes happen to a region not just a wheat field or town. When you see a hurricane hitting the Southeast, you can be sure that Miami, New Orleans, and all the major towns in the region will be affected and will sustain damage. Nothing random about it, which is why they need to be prepared and should stop depending on the rest of us to bail them out. FEMA should be reserved for the unpredictable disasters, or the ones which happen so seldom, that it isn;t reasonable to expect those cities to be ready.

What is unreasonable about expecting New Orleans to be ready on its own?

When it comes down to it, humanity has spread out so much that it is inevitable that there will be communities subject to natural disasters. Even if we were to localize populations into areas that suffer less disasters, we'd have very dense urban populations more prone to outbreaks of infectious disease. Besides? where would people move? The northeast was hit with serious blizzards last year. Hurricanes plague the southeast. Tornadoes ripped through the central and southern states. Flooding plagues areas from North Dakota to New Orleans. Drought is gripping many states right now. Wildfires rage through the west and earthquakes have occurred across the country from DC to California and Alaska in the last year. On top of it all in the upcoming decades, global warming is going to make these events worse. Where exactly should people move?

Edit: CNN just reminded me that there is a gigantic supervolcano beneath Yosemite National Park that could take out the whole western half of the US and cause complete havoc around the globe.

The only way things are really going to work are if we change our construction for cities and towns to make buildings more resistant to natural disasters (like using monolithic dome construction for residential houses in areas prone to tornadoes or wildfires), have ways to mitigate or combat these disasters, and plans to keep people as safe from harm as possible. People are going to live where they are going to live. When it comes down to it, our laws are structured so that we can't just force people to move, but people will move on there own. There's a sizable number of people who left before Katrina hit and never returned. When the next big one hits California, there's going to be a huge migration.

I do agree that people living in places more prone to disasters pose a problem to the community at large. The more people you have caught in a disaster, the more of a disaster it becomes. The problem is that there are a lot of people for who moving isn't an option because they are caught in poverty and don't have the means to leave. If you have to take the bus to work everyday because you can't afford a car, then you probably have more immediate concerns like, is there enough food to feed my family this week? You don't see rich people lounging on their yachts as the waters are rising. It's the poor we see stranded on their own rooftops, because they had no means to evacuate or place to go.


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