[lit-ideas] Katrina and the French Heat Wave

  • From: Eric Yost <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 06 Jun 2006 13:19:32 -0400

Hurricane Katrina certainly hurt Bush's agenda and reputation. It revealed an incompetent bureaucracy managed by indifferent people, unable to respond to crisis, causing unnecessary suffering and a few deaths.

As I thought about this, I remembered the heat wave that struck France a couple years ago. As I recall it, hundreds if not thousands of people died from the heat wave. The French bureaucracy sat on its hands and did essentially nothing to organize shelters and medical response.

That negligent response to the heat wave in France killed many more people than the negligent response to Hurricane Katrina. At least that's how I recall it. Of course the heat wave didn't cause much property damage, but more importantly it did rack up a death toll.

Was there a backlash against the French government for its handling of the killer heat wave? Did the French President's ratings fall into the dustbin? Was public reaction to the deaths in France muted by the absence of property damage? Were there attempts at reform of the French bureaucracy?

Just curious if the European list members recall the reaction to the French heat wave. With Bush, the negligent response to the hurricane was probably "the last straw" in a series of confidence-eroding decisions. However both are classic examples of government failure, and I wonder why comparisons to the French Heat Wave were never brought up.

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