The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Friday, September 02, 2005

What Petro said

A lot of people should read this comment over at Buzzmachine. As Glenn says, go there and read the whole thing, but this is a start.

Do some math would you PLEASE? I realize it’s “linear thinking”, and “hard”, but just stop and figure:

Let n be the number of buses needed to to shift people from one place to the other.
Let x be the number of miles you need to shift these people to get them to “saftey”.
Let y be the number of people you can shift per bus.
Let p be the total population you’ve got to move.
Let h be the time you’ve got to move them in.

The simple calculation is:

How many people on a bus? Well, let’s assume a big bus, I think that’s around 70 people, and we’re going to move them 300 miles from the coast (the effected area reaches inland /at least/ 120 miles, my daughter lives in Central MS, and as of 3 this afternoon they were w/out power and she was heading to Atlanta to be with her mom)

How many people have we got to move? 2000:

29=2000/70 (this is integer math, we get whole buses so we round up).

10000 people:
143 buses.

100,000 people:
1429 busses.

Now, 1429 buses is a lot. And that’s also 1429 drivers that have to be gotten somewhere on time etc. Where are you going to get that many? You won’t. You can’t. The buses in the damaged areas cannot be planned on, nor can the drivers (they have families etc.). So you do with fewer buses but make multiple trips, this gets even worse, because now you add time into it, and it becomes about how long it takes to shift people, and how many you can shift per trip or hour.

All this takes planning. And shifting resources around (buses have to be fueled people have to be fed and watered etc.).

And 100,000 is only 1/10th-1/12th of hte people in that area. In addition to just shifting these people you’ve got medical problems, rescue problems etc.

And you /cannot/ pre-plan and pre-stage because you don’t know where the damage will happen, so you can’t count on any particular route being open, and you can’t count on any particular *close* spot being safe, and if you’re too far away you’re running low on fuel inside the damage zone and and and and.

70 per bus, 300 miles each way. 60 miles per hour. That’s 70 people per bus in per 10 hours. Or 7 people per hour per bus.

You’ve got 100,000 people to shift, which means (basically) 14286 bus hours, so 10 buses finishes the job in 1428 hours, 100 finishes in 142 hours (actually add 5 to that for 1 one way trip). To get 100,000 people shifted in 48 hours you’re going to need roughly 298 buses. Which is also 298 drivers. This is all, of course, assuming that things go smoothly. You could probably gather up 3oo school buses from the states around the affected areas and get them in, but school buses are smaller (IIRC about 40 adults) than what I was talking about. WHich means almost (fudging because of the hour) twice as many buses and drivers.

Right after a hurricane. And we haven’t even begun to talk about how many buses go to where and at what time. Or about how to handle medical problems on the bus, feed the people etc. Hell, even refueling the buses.

And note, we’re just talking about getting 100,000 people out of New Orleans and the surrounding area.

And we didn’t /know/ it was going to be New Orleans until Saturday/Sunday.

And on Tuesday morning (before the levee gave way) it looked like things were going to be, well, not ok, but not worse-case. So the planners started shifting resources and planning to the areas that were obviously going to need it.

Then the damn broke.

There are good reasons why there are NO large scale evacuation plans for any metropolitan are in this country. You simply CANNOT plan that sort of thing. Really, Really bright people have tried, and they keep realizing it DOES NOT WORK.


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