Logistics for Houston residents – should evacuate, or stay, have been the strategy ?

An article in CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/27/us/houston-evacuation-hurricane-harvey/index.html) describes the decision made by the Mayor of Houston to request that the 6.5 million residents stay in their houses during Hurricane Harvey’s touchdown, rather than evacuate, and be potentially stuck on roads due to congestion. After touchdown, displaced residents are being directed to “lilypads” – centralized locations they can get help. But several are stuck in their homes due to the massive flooding of the city.  Is staying put during a hurricane the best strategy, or should people have been asked to come to distributed locations for help, or evacuate early ? Should coordination of the evacuation have been planned to reduce congestion, with approved destinations outside the city ?  Was the decision the result of inconsistent planning or calculated risk ?

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About aviyer2010

Professor
This entry was posted in Capacity, congestion, Liability, logistics, Supply Chain Issues, transport and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Logistics for Houston residents – should evacuate, or stay, have been the strategy ?

  1. Murilo Siqueira says:

    It is really hard to contain crisis, especially those related to entire cities. Since we can predict Hurricanes, but it is really hard to predict touchdowns, creating a early evacuation plan would just induce chaos and scare the population with uncertain data.
    The tragedy of having people stuck in traffic and being hit by a Hurricane would be much worse than to ask them to find shelter in their on home/surroundings.
    I don’t think any city is prepared to evacuate 6.5M people at once, using mainly its highways. One possible alternative would be to evacuate those people who would be definitely on the Hurricane route, which would be a much smaller number, or transfer them to close and safe locations.
    Media should also be contained not to scare the population, but instead, try to help keep the evacuation under control.

  2. subhash katragadda says:

    I agree with Murilo’s point that its hard to contain the crisis of such magnitude and considering the capacity of infrastructure an early evacuation effort would have been more chaotic, weighing all these factors Houston’s Mayor would have taken the calculated risk of asking people to stay back in their homes. In my opinion this is a poorly calculated risk, City could have used its database to identity low lying areas and federal flood hazard zone and should have moved the people in these areas to ‘lilypads’ prior to touchdown, this also would have reduced workload on rescue workers.

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