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Hurricane Katrina: The Most Catastrophic Disaster In The United States (Case Study Sample)


the impact of hurricane Katrina

CASE STUDY; HURRICANE KATRINA Name Institution affiliation Date Case study; hurricane Katrina The Atlantic hurricane is predicted to occur every year between June and November, its peak being the month of August. In the United States, the states that are susceptible to hurricanes are Louisiana, Florida, Texas and New Orleans. In the past century, New Orleans is the leading city with the most experiences of hurricanes standing at six times. It struck during the years of 1915, 1940, 1947, 1965, 1969 and recently in 2005 (Weaver, 2015). The 2005 hurricane is the most devastating of the six that have hit New Orleans and was termed as hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina is considered the most catastrophic disaster ever to have happened in the history of the United States. The hurricane struck the Gulf coast of the country on the 29th of August 2005 stretching at approximately 400 miles causing devastating damage across the region (Weaver, 2015). The hurricane was rated at category three of the Saffir-Simpson scale with a wind which stood at a speed of between 100 and 140 miles per hour. New Orleans was one of the major cities that experienced the most damages during the disaster. The storm was preceded by heavy rainfall during the morning of the 29th August and when it struck it destroyed most of the constructed levees and canals that had been built to prevent floods getting into the city according to The White House (2006). By 9 am on the 29th the St. Bernard Parish, as well as the Ninth Ward, had been submerged and by the end of the storm, more than three-quarters of the city had been submerged. The storm affected more than 40,000 with 2000 of them dying as a result. The Coastguards, the U. s army corps of engineers alongside most ordinary citizens, volunteered and rescued more than 30,000 people on that day while other citizens from the neighboring cities provided food and shelter for some of the affected people. The federal emergency management agency (FEMA) is the body responsible for planning for strategies to respond to disasters such as the storm that struck New Orleans. However, FEMA took time to respond to the disaster of the 29th August 2005 making because more effects than anticipated. The homeland security operation center reported to the federal government concerning the disaster late in the day. Before the storm, the government had initiated programs and strategies that would be responsible for disaster management. The bodies were initially formed to respond to the 9/11 terrorist attack but became more established onwards. Some of the agencies and bodies that were formed include the national strategy for homeland security and department of homeland security (DHs). The two agencies were responsible for developing national incident management plans that would help in response and recovery from any domestic incident according to U.S. House of Representatives (2006). However, despite the hurricane Katrina being the most devastating disaster, the plans and the incident management bodies were not able to contain the effects. Emergency preparedness training was conducted on some levels before hurricane Katrina, but the training was not performed on all levels. For this reason, many of the responses to Hurricane Katrina were reactive and not proactive. Joint training was not conducted, so many of the agencies were not sure who to contact or how to begin coordination for relief efforts 9 U.S. House of Representatives, (2006). If this training had been done, many of the holes that were revealed after the fact could have been filled, and operations could have been conducted much more smoothly. Additionally, the local populace did not know what the emergency plan was before Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. This was mainly due to a lack of preparedness, a lack of timely information. The hurricane pronounced many failures of the disaster management in the United States. Evidently, there was a failure of managing the risk factors associated with an actual hurricane affecting New Orleans. The current emergency plan in place at the time of Hurricane Katrina only prepared the area for a Category 3 hurricane. No one anticipated a higher category hurricane could or would hit the area. The managing bodies took for granted that the probability of a stronger hurricane occurring was low, thus overlooking significant risk management identifiers. Additionally, there was a weak communication between organizations, the federal government, and the local state. The radio and telephone communication was majorly affected by the catastrophe making it hard for communication to be established (The White House, 2006). Another flaw the organization policies noted by U.S. House of Representatives (2006), is the fact that FEMA was put under the homeland security. Some feel that FEMA’s absorption into DHS was to blame for the failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina effectively. There was much unfamiliarity with the revised National Response Plan and...
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