>> As images of floods and boat rescues from hurricane Harvey are broadcast across the world, everyone is making the obvious comparisons to hurricane Katrina. I'm Brian Trevino and I've been reporting on Harvey for Reuters for about a week now, and I was covering this storm exactly 12 years after I covered hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
On August 29th 2005, I was one of the first ones to go to the ninth ward and to see the enormity of the devastation, and it was immediately clear that there had been a catastrophic breach and the water had filled up in that neighborhood in minutes rather than hours or days.
Harvey and Katrina were very similar in the widespread and destructive nature of the flooding. But the main difference from Katrina was that the flooding came all at once from explosive levy failures causing an immense loss of life that was later counted by FEMA as 1,833 people. In Harvey, thankfully the casualties so far have been much, much, slower and I don't expect them to rise too far from now on.
And part of the reason that it's gone so much better in Hurricane Harvey. One is all the lessons that were learned from Katrina and the government and nonprofit organizations were much, much, more prepared. They also had a lot of warning for this storm. The problem here was mostly the torrential rains which is a much slower moving disaster than Hurricane Katrina which had a deadly mix of a wind storm, historically high storm surge.
And then, of course, the catastrophic levee failures. Yeah, having gone through hurricane Katrina, it was heartening to say the least to see what was going on at the convention center in Houston, where there was a very well prepared staff of people. The power was on, air conditioning was on, lights were on, the bathrooms were working.
And that was a really sharp contrast to what I saw at the convention center in New Orleans. There was a lot of suffering and a lot of hopelessness. But what I can tell you from covering Katrina and from living in the city for four years afterwards, is that any event of this magnitude is gonna have a profound effect on everyone here.
It's a life changing event that you never forget. And especially for those thousands of people who have been flooded out of their homes, they're gonna have a long hard back to a normal life that they can enjoy again.