A lot of electrons have been annoyed by people writing scathing diatribes because the various governmental bodies responsible for Houston, Texas didn’t issue an evacuation order. I think that this article did a good job of pointing out just how much of a clusterfuck planning and responding to disasters on this scale are.
There was obviously disagreement between the various governmental bodies responsible for Houston. Some bodies wanted to perform an evacuation, other bodies didn’t. As with most things in our modern age, the disagreement was taken to the Internet. Governor Greg Abbott advised people in the lower areas of Houston to get the fuck out. Meanwhile, the local and country government officials were telling residents to shelter in place. Who was right? With the 20/20 vision offered by hindsight, a lot of people are saying that evacuating would have been the correct choice. But they are missing a critical piece of information. When Hurricane Rita was making a beeline for Houston in 2005, the order to evacuate was given. More than 100 people died in that evacuation. As of this writing, five people are known to have died in the aftermath of Harvey. If we judge results by death toll, the decision to not evacuate Houston is still significantly ahead of the decision to evacuate the city in 2005.
Realistically, evacuating a city the size (in both geographic area and number of people) of Houston isn’t feasible. There are too many people and too few exits to get everybody out at the same time. Neither the roadways or public transit systems are designed to handle everybody using them simultaneously. If you’re in an area that is about to be nailed by a natural disaster and an evacuation order is given, it’s already too late to get out.
Instead of arguing about whether or not Houston should have been evacuated, you might want to consider, if you haven’t already, developing your own disaster survival plan and begin implementing it. Having a plan head of time makes surviving much easier. Furthermore, you shouldn’t rely on the orders issued by government bodies to decide whether or not you’re going to evacuate an area. They’re (assuming their intentions are good, which may not be the case but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt here) going to look at the big picture. Their concern is going to be what’s the best option for the largest number of people. You should be concerned about you and yours. An evacuation may not be the best option for the largest number of people, but it might very well be the best option for you.