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《经济学人》:美国南部龙卷风-旋风过后

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Craig Fugate, who heads the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), says that comparing the tornadoes to Katrina is “comparing apples to oranges…each disaster is different, and you respond to the disaster you’re dealing with.” As a matter of meteorology, Mr Fugate has a point. Katrina affected an area roughly the size of Great Britain and made landfall six days after it formed. Tornadoes are smaller; they form and die more quickly. Gregory Carbin, the warning-co-ordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Centre, says that last week’s storms were of a once-in-a-century severity, and afforded some of those hit as little as 20 minutes’ warning.

联邦应急管理署(FEMA)署长克雷格•富盖特表示,拿龙卷风与卡特里娜飓风作比较就好比“将苹果和橙子相比较……每种灾害都有各自的特点,你需要面对具体情况作出相应的反应。”从气象学角度看,富盖特先生有自己的观点。卡特里娜飓风影响到的区域大致相当于整个英国的面积,并且是在形成后6天登陆的。相对来说,龙卷风影响的区域更小,形成和衰减的速度更快。国家气象观测组风暴预测中心协调预警气象学家格雷戈里•卡宾称,上周发生的是百年一遇的特大风暴,其中的部分龙卷风给予人们的预警时间仅有20分钟。

As a political matter, however, the comparison is hard to avoid. FEMA came under withering criticism for its slow and poorly co-ordinated response to Katrina, particularly to the flooding of New Orleans. Its performance this time was swifter and surer. The agency had emergency response teams in place in Hoover and Tuscaloosa by April 29th, working in co-ordination with Alabama’s emergency operations centre around 55 miles south of Birmingham. Barack Obama declared major disasters in Alabama on April 28th, in Mississippi on the 29th, Georgia on the 30th and Tennessee and Arkansas after that, making federal funds available to individuals, state and local governments.

然而,作为一个政治问题,两者的比较无可避免。面对卡特里娜飓风,特别是在新奥尔良引发的洪灾,FEMA协调能力差,反应速度慢,曾为此遭受了令其难堪的批评。而此次,FEMA行动更为快速稳健。通过与伯明翰向南约55英里处的亚拉巴马应急行动中心协同工作,FEMA在4月29日就已将应急反应小组派遣至胡佛和塔斯卡卢萨县。4月28日,贝拉克•奥巴马宣布亚拉巴马州遭受重大自然灾害进入紧急状态,29日、30日及之后又先后宣布密西西比州、佐治亚州、田纳西州和阿肯色州进入紧急状态,使得联邦政府能够向受灾群众、州县和当地政府提供救援资金。

By Monday several cabinet members as well as the president had visited Alabama. FEMA expects to move into a joint field office, housing all federal responders, by week’s end; it too will remain open as long as necessary.

至本周一,奥巴马总统和部分内阁成员都已前往亚拉巴马州慰问灾情。FEMA计划本周末前与各部门联合,建立起一个现场办公室,供所有联邦灾害应急处理人员办公。只要有必要,办公室将一直持续运作。

Just what that means is unclear: rebuilding may take years. It will also be expensive in a region that can ill afford it: Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi were all projecting budget shortfalls for next year already. Clean-up costs alone in Jefferson County, home to Alabama’s largest city, may exceed $400m. The only consoling news, says Mr Carbin, is that “we know what happened is pretty rare.” Unfortunately, while an unusually large number of tornadoes struck this April, on average May is the more active month.

只是我们不清楚,这具体意味着什么,重建是需要数年时间的。此外,重建所需的高昂费用对于这一区域来说也是难以承担的:亚拉巴马州、佐治亚州、田纳西州和密西西比州下一财年的预算都已经出现赤字。杰斐逊是亚拉巴马州最大城市伯明翰所在县,仅此一县的灾后清理花费将超过4亿美元。卡宾先生称,唯一令人稍感宽慰的消息是,“我们知道这次的灾难非常罕见”。不幸的是,虽然四月袭击美国的龙卷风数量之多并不寻常,然而普遍来说,五月是龙卷风更为活跃的时期。

内容来自:可可英语 http://www.kekenet.com/Article/201105/135168.shtml
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budget ['bʌdʒit]

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n. 预算
vt. 编预算,为 ... 做预算

 
prediction [pri'dikʃən]

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affected [ə'fektid]

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adj. 受影响的,受感动的,受疾病侵袭的 adj. 做

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comparison [kəm'pærisn]

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(复数)dealin

 
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