Earlier on CNN, Brown was asked why authorities had not prepared for just such a catastrophe -- given that the levees were designed to withstand only a Category 3 hurricane and Katrina was stronger than that.You would think that the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency would be able to understand that the levees and flooding are a single event, i.e. the levees prevent flooding. He should also be aware that storm surge and flooding are the major causes of death in hurricanes.
"Government officials and engineers will debate that and figure that out," he replied. "Right now, I'm trying to focus on saving lives. I think we should have that debate, but at an appropriate time."
Brown said Katrina was unlike other hurricanes in which the magnitude of the disaster typically subsides after the initial blow. That was not the case Monday, when the Category 4 storm blew ashore.
"What we had in New Orleans is a growing disaster: The hurricane hit, that was one disaster; then the levees broke, that was another disaster; then the floods came; that became a third disaster."
Brown said he had to be careful about getting rescue teams to the site earlier.
"Otherwise, we would have faced an even higher death toll," he said.
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