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Why Did the American Government Respond Slowly to Hurricane Katrina? (Research Paper Sample)


The task was initially mean to answer the question why \"the American Government responded slowly to Hurricane Katrina\".


Why Did the American Government Respond Slowly to Hurricane Katrina?
Student's Name
Why Did the American Government Respond Slowly to Hurricane Katrina?
The American government received a lot of criticism due to the manner in which it handled Hurricane Katrina. To be specific, the government responded slowly to the consequences of the storm, which hit New Orleans together with its surrounding area. Many people lost their lives while thousands of others were displaced from their homes. Some people believed that the social effects had something to do with the way the government responded to the flooding (Bardes, Shelley, & Schmidt, 2014). This paper will illustrate the reasons why the American governments delayed in dealing with Hurricane Katrina, which caused loss of lives and unnecessary damages to the area.
The Reasons Why the American Government Responded Slowly
to Hurricane Katrina
If the US government responded swiftly enough to Hurricane Katrina, lots of lives and property would have been rescued. Sadly, the government reacted not only slowly but also inefficiently. Rescue operations were ineffective, and this led to prolong suffering of the victims. It is possible that the government would have reacted differently if another location, besides New Orleans, had been hit by the disaster. Moreover, the authorities could have acted more efficiently if another group of the population had been affected. It is a fact that the principal victims of hurricane Katrina were poor African American citizens (Levy, Freitas, Mendoza-Denton, & Kugelmass, 2006). There have always been complaints that the federal government treats this class of people as if they were inferior Americans. Moreover, the fact that lower-income citizens lived in the area contributed to the delay in the reaction to the disaster (McKinnon, 2005). The way the federal government responded, for that matter, may be a confirmation of the long held belief that poor, black citizens receive quite a different kind of treatment in comparison with their white counterparts (Peiia, Bachman, Istre, Cohen, & Klarman, 2010).
What is more, Russell-Brown (2006) also believes that the way the federal government responded to the disaster had something to do with the race of the affected victims. In his work Protecting Our Own: Race, Crime, and African Americans, he notes that the aftermath of the disaster convinced the black community that they are considered a neglected race. The community even believes that the government did not take enough care of them because it aimed at reducing the black population. In fact, the majority of the victims were blacks living in an area with exceptionally high racial segregation.
Poor planning and management among federal agencies may also have led to the slow response to Hurricane Katrina. These agencies may not agree with this assertion, but the way they reacted exposed their inadequacy to handle disasters of magnitude of Hurricane Katrina. The agencies were poorly managed to an extent that they could contain neither fires nor looting. Years after the disaster, rebuilding is still on (Purpura, 2008). Worse still, a significant number of former residents are still living in cities simply because federal agencies have failed to prove that they have the capacity to handle and manage disasters appropriately.
In an attempt to save lives and property, the federal government established task-specific networks to deal with the disaster (Moynihan, 2009). Unfortunately, these networks became part of the problem and not part of the solution. The authorities disagreed among themselves, and when they finally settled down to work, they discharged their mandates in an unpleasant manner. For instance, the federal Department of Health was slow in identifying and providing mortuary services. The Department of Defense, in its turn, lacked coordination among its organs. Consequently, this led to the delayed area recovery (Moynihan, 2009).
Contrary to what many may be tempted to believe, Hurricane Katrina was not a surprise. It was an expected phenomenon, and both the national and federal governments were aware of it. On his part, President Bush assumed that the federal government was well prepared to deal with the disaster (Russel, & Hall, 2010). However, he left a matter too weighty to poorly planned and managed federal agencies (Senate, U.S., 2006). It is possible that if he directed his cabinet to act more swiftly, more lives and property would have been saved.
Finally, bureaucracy within federal agencies may also have led to prolonged suffering of the victims. The disaster revealed that the heads of key federal agencies failed to coordinate multiple levels of bureaucracy (Eikenberry, Arroyave, & Cooper, 2007). These agencies also lacked efficient communication mechanisms. However, these deficiencies may have prompted several international NGOs to offer their support.
The Katrina disaster was not a surprise. The federal government was quite aware of the impending storm. However, mismanagement in the federal agencies, in addition to the lack of resources worsened the situation. The victims of Hurricane Katrina endured sufferings because both the local and federal governments responded slowly to the disaster. The authorities neglected the victims because they were poor. The situation would have been handled promptly if a majority of the affected citizens were whites.
Bardes, B. A., Shelley, M. C., & Schmidt, S. W. (2014). American gov...
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