Since the disaster of hurricane Katrina, every state and local government has been under extra scrutiny for how they prepare for and deal with sudden natural crises.
Arizona has been facing such a crisis on a much smaller scale since Sunday as heavy monsoon rains and a broken earthen dam have prompted the evacuation of dozens of Grand Canyon tourists and some residents of Supai, the main village of the Havasupai Indian tribe.
Officials told The Associated Press they were still searching Monday for about dozen missing canyon visitors. But rescue crews were able to airlift about 170 people Sunday and were moving another 120 tourists Monday - all without a reported fatality or serious injury. Furthermore, the American Red Cross provided immediate, temporary shelter to evacuees who have no other place to go.
That's a testimonial to the effective planning and decisive action of various government agencies working together, including the National Park Service, the Arizona National Guard and the state Department of Public Safety. While the number of affected victims is relatively small, emergency responders were challenged by remote terrain flanked by steep cliffs and the uncertainty of where to find those who might be in danger.
We'll hope and pray for the continued safety of everyone who still needs assistance, as well for all of those involved in the ongoing search-and-rescue efforts.