crashes on eve of massive hurricane

August 26th, 2011

Sigh. So why do people think we can actually on government? My parents in Staten Island are about .5 miles from a evacuation zone. They are not evacuating. Oh, I hope they are ok.

A convoy of Walmart trucks waited to enter New Orleans on Sept. 1, 2005, after the city was battered by Hurricane Katrina. Government agencies said the massive storm taught them that big-box retailers need to be an integral part of hurricane preparation and relief efforts.

And, a related quote from Don Boudreaux:

All of which raises the question: when you and your neighbors are homeless, hungry, and thirsty following a natural disaster, would you prefer to rely upon the devotion to public service that allegedly motivates FEMA workers, or to rely upon the devotion to their own self-interests that undoubtedly motivates executives, workers, and suppliers of private companies such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot?

Amen. Post-Katrina, Wal-Mart was the first company to get water down to the Gulf region. Not FEMA. More from NPR.

Update: More from Mercatus:

A very interesting piece from NPR. Big-box retailers began their hurricane prep well before Hurricane Irene was predicted to make landfall. Home Depot’s Command Central, which looks, “much like NASA Mission Control during a shuttle launch” has been busy anticipating the storm’s effects along the East Cost. Walmart has its own staff meteorologist. This pre-hurricane prep – which actually begins before hurricane season – is why the shelves were stocked with emergency generators in Puerto Rico and available for customers when the electricity went out.

Economist Steven Horwitz studied the response of Walmart after Hurricane Katrina. His research – part of the Mercatus Center’s Hurricane Katrina project – shows that Walmart was able to respond more adeptly and quickly than FEMA and state emergency services, providing people with basic necessities including medicines (in some cases, local store managers gave supplies away to those in need). Not only are they on the ground and in the community, their very business is to respond to people’s needs and wants quickly and on a daily basis.