Greensburg, Kansas was devastated by a tornado which essentially annihilated the town. The storm was so powerful, that no public services remain. The entire main business district in this town of fifteen hundred was leveled. The governor of Kansas has made some irresponsible statements regarding the ability of her state to respond based upon National Guard deployment schedules. I can not comment on her statement, my instinct tells me it’s worthless, much as Sen. Dick Durbin’s comments about what he knew and when about the debate over the invasion of Iraq.
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To the point, Greensburg suffered a terrible tragedy. Miraculously, only 10 people lost their lives in what was billed as a F5 tornado with 205 mph winds. There was some clear preparedness by the people of the town and sufficient warning to save almost everyone.
My question is now what?
Should we rebuild Greensburg?
Does the government, state, local or otherwise, have an obligation to rebuild a city so utterly destroyed? During the great Mississippi floods of the mid 1990s, whole towns were decimated. Despite the singular nature of the flood, some towns were not rebuilt. Some towns were relocated.
The scale of the 1993 flood was so large that it overcame all measures to deal with it. The scale of the destruction of the Greensburg tornado is large enough that it overwhelms the regional ability to handle it.
Katrina impacted the Gulf Coast to such an extent that many municipalities are thinking twice about rebuilding.
The town should be commended to preventing a massive loss of life. Regrettably, the only task remaining for Greensburg is to remove the debris, shelter the homeless and decide on how and whether to rebuild.