The former mayor of New Orleans was in Winnipeg on Wednesday, speaking candidly about the disaster that was Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Ray Nagin was the guest speaker on the opening day of the Disaster Management Conference, being held at Canad Inns Polo Park. Nagin spoke for roughly 90 minutes on natural disasters and how his city coped with the aftermath of the devastating hurricane. Nagin also noted the severe impacts of Superstorm Sandy on the east coast and the potential for more adverse weather predicted for the coming days.
Speaking to emergency measures personnel from across North America, Nagin was also well informed on Winnipeg’s Red River Floodway system, which he praised having being built at the time it was.
“I will emphasize that whatever you need to do as emergency managers, make sure that your government leaders understand that if there needs to be more investment in things like the Red River diversion project, that you need to bring it to them,” Nagin said.
The Floodway diverts water around Winnipeg and has saved billions of dollars in damage in recent years.
“You need to make the case so that you can make sure that this area is protected as disasters continue to evolve and change over time.”
Preventative measures put into place following Hurricane Katrina cost 3,000% more than if they had originally been built 40 years ago, Nagin added.
Since leaving office in 2010, Nagin works as a consultant, entrepreneur, author, and public speaker.
The Disaster Management Conference runs until Friday.