"I'm an old FEMA guy, and I've never seen anything like this," says Dave Brauner, formerly the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency's deputy director of response and recovery and now a private sector consultant.
joined a group of American engineers sent to Colombia in mid-December to provide emergency support to government officials and water authorities.
"The fact that it's still raining and continuing to exacerbate problems in Atlantico
and Barranquilla [departments] tells me there will be problems with all infrastructure-roads and bridges, buildings, drainage, water and wastewater treatment systems and parks and recreation," Brauner
Those categories align with five of FEMA's categories for disaster response.
The other two, which FEMA
considers emergency work, include the removal of debris, animal carcasses and human remains and emergency protective measures to minimize structural damage.
Brauner, who claims experience in 133 disasters, is now program manager of the federal services group at CDM, consulting engineers from Cambridge, Mass.