The Delta region had a wake-up call in June of last year when a levee broke, damaging millions of dollars in crops. Shortly thereafter, local agencies began preparing for an even larger breach that could jeopardize human life and property. That work has taken on heightened importance after Hurricane Katrina, according to Andy Prokop, CEO of the United Way in San Joaquin County. He says if disaster strikes locally, officials are much better prepared.
"We would have vehicles and ways to get items to the people that need it. And we would have places to take people should they need it. We now have churches and other places identified for shelter."
Prokop says a communications system has been established and various agencies are warehousing food, water and personal hygiene items for victims.
Meanwhile California representatives in Washington have asked the Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate the levee system, ascertain vulnerabilities and fix them.