, Muskogee, OK

April 27, 2013

Planning key to success in a disaster

— Muskogee area response to a natural disaster has come a long way since Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in 2005.

Green Country was asked to respond to the influx of New Orleans-area evacuees in just a few short days.

People and organizations responded to the need by establishing a base at Camp Gruber.

The evacuees were housed and fed and made to feel as comfortable as possible in a terrible situation.

Green Country responded well, especially given the circumstances.

Many area churches helped.

Many volunteers responded.

And many citizens donated clothes, blankets, water — whatever was needed.

For a makeshift camp to be set up practically overnight, Green Country should be proud.

We should be prouder still that those who lived through the organizational nightmare have come together to form another plan in the event of something as catastrophic as a hurricane.

Muskogee area emergency management would bring Muskogee to the evacuees, not the other way around.

We would help set up an evacuee center near Shreveport, La.

We hope the plan is never tested.

But knowing a plan is in place is comforting.

Unfortunately, Green Country had to learn on the fly in the wake of Katrina.

Now we can rest assured that many of the problems administrators faced are part of a plan ready to go.