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Hurricane Katrina Research Paper


Hurricane Katrina is known as the most disruptive disaster in the U.S. history, with loosing greatly overrunning those registered for other U.S. catastrophes. At minimum 1,300 people got killed, while thousands of others were wounded. The facts demonstrate that minor progress had been made in regards to the lessening and restoration planning in the Gulf Coast region, while thousands of victims remained precluded. Katrina is regarded to be the third huge hurricane and the first Category 5 hurricane during the 2005 hurricane season (Caravantes, 2014, p. 41). It is known to be the sixth-strongest windstorm ever registered for the Atlantic region and the third strongest hurricane documented to attack land approaching in the United States. This hurricane made a fist attack on the shore in the U.S. as a Category 1 hurricane on the north of Miami on August 25, 2005 (Caravantes, 2014, p. 41). After it gathered strength over the Gulf of Mexico, Katrina attacked Louisiana and Alabama as a Category 4 windstorm on Monday, August 29. The hurricanes way moved merely to the east of New Orleans (Caravantes, 2014, p. 43). The hurricane covered more than 200 solid miles of seaboard in the Gulf region, with wave altitudes ranging from ten to thirty feet (Chan & Rhodes, 2014, p. 36). The hurricane produced 36 long-standing tornadoes as well. Currently, it is unfeasible to define the exact number of people who were killed by Katrina. As a matter of fact, it might never be probable certainly to determine that quantity. The formal list of dead demonstrates that 1,319 people were killed during the hurricane, taking into account both seaboards (Fussell, 2015, p. 1316). The primary analysis demonstrated that the number of elderly people was the highest among those who died. Many people are still missing, and their families proceed with their ineffectual search. Katrina is known to be the murderous hurricane to attack the U.S. The majority of people who deceased as an undeviating consequence of the storm were from New Orleans and other close communities (Fussell, 2015, p. 1318). This is a metropolitan area, which was home to nearly 1.3 million people (Levitt & Whitaker, 2009, p. 64). The biggest sole auxiliary to the death toll during Katrina concerns the fact that the hurricane provoked ruptures in the hurdle system in New Orleans, proving the possibilities to water to come from Lake Pontchartrain straightly to the city. Nearly 80% of New Orleans was afloat, and an evaluated 100,000 people who were incapable or averse to be removed were entrapped in their houses and other areas close to the city (Zoracter, 2010, p. 75). The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged that a trauma inspection system it had provided for the Greater New Orleans location obtained more than 7,500 health-connected “occasions”, meaning diseases and traumas, in the period between September 8 and September 25 (Zoracter, 2010, p. 75). This incorporates traumas of residents and emergency employees. In addition, the mental health influences of Hurricane Katrina are still undefined, but the extent and cruelty of the event, combined with the massive offset, which appeared because of the hurricane, are excessively huge. Moreover, the facts demonstrate that Katrina ruined more than 416,000 housing units, while 85,000 houses underwent serious damages (Levitt & Whitaker, 2009, p. 67). The hurricane inadequately affected tenants and decreased-income farmsteads. Katrina left approximately one million people abandoned in such a scale disaster, which had not been seen in the United States since the time of the Great Depression (Birkland, 2013). Valuations of economic losing differ, relying on how the deprivations are estimated. The overall covered by insurance loss from Hurricane Katrina has been evaluated at between $40 and $60 billion, with $35 to $50 billion accountable for the wind and storm influx during the seaboard on the Gulf Coast and to the submersion in New Orleans (Levitt & Whitaker, 2009, p. 68).

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Government-Private Response

The Federal Government had been getting ready for a large-scale catastrophe in New Orleans since 2002. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) even arranged an analysis of the probability of a hurricane attacking the city (Aldrich & Crook, 2013, p. 615). Prior to Katrina attacked the seaboard, Governor Katherine Babineaux Blanco adverted an emergency situation in Louisiana and inquired President Bush to take the same measure at the federal level, and he implemented the request (Aldrich & Crook, 2013, p. 616). This allowed FEMA to arrange and conscript assets to help residents of New Orleans. Moreover, Ray Nagin, who was the mayor of New Orleans, stated a freewill evacuation of the city, which became mandatory on the day before the hurricane attacked. After Katrina attacked, FEMA conscripted 1,000 Homeland Security employees to equip aid and support to the city (Aldrich & Crook, 2013, p. 617). In an attempt of organizing an appropriate response, FEMA also requested firefighters and ambulance crew not to respond to locations attacked by Katrina without being primarily conscripted by state or local authorities. This declaration definitely decelerated the response to the disaster. FEMA looked practically averse to accepting assistance from non-governmental organizations (Birkland, 2013). For instance, the American Red Cross was not permitted to come to New Orleans after the catastrophe and was incapable of supplementing the response of the government. When the whole scope of the situation deployed, it became obvious that the government’s response was improper, insufficient and ineffective (Aldrich & Crook, 2013, p. 618). The federal government did not have appropriate data regarding the genuine level of decimation that Katrina had provoked. Regardless of the number of government employees in the location, the impacts of the hurricane proceeded to debouch destruction on the city with people still involute in New Orleans and marauders plundering remaining stores. Firefighters from the whole country were asked to come to the area in order to assist with the response of the federal government (Aldrich & Crook, 2013, p. 618). A lot of them could not use their capacities in rescue operations and were supposed to spend time distributing FEMA’s flyers to the New Orleans residents (Chan & Rhodes, 2014). Organizations responsible for searches and salvaging were unable to synchronize their attempts and required a specific strategy for their missions. Thus, it is obvious that the government’s response to the natural disaster was inadequate and required enhancements.

Recovery Efforts

The facts demonstrate that local governments across the U.S. provided help ambulances, prospecting teams, and disaster support. Moreover, local governments provided shelters to accommodate people who were evacuated even in Utah (Imberman, Kugler, & Bruce, 2012). The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism communicated with vacationers owning reservations in state parks to ask if these vacationers were able willingly to provide their reservations to people escaping from Katrina, especially in the southward side of the country. On the other hand, the Arkansas Visitors Information Centers in Texarkana, El Dorado, Helena, and Lake Village dedicated all their efforts to direct evacuated people to warehouses, and various available hotels and motels (Imberman et al., 2012). In addition, Governor Mike Huckabee betrayed an announcement discharging $75,000 of state funds to help evacuated people in 14 southern and delta districts in Arkansas (Levitt & Whitaker, 2009, p. 108). In addition, Huckabee claimed that the State Departments of Health and Human Services and Emergency Management together with the Arkansas Pharmacists Association would equip without charge crisis appointments and admission to dialysis equipment (Levitt & Whitaker, 2009, p. 112). On the other hand, the majority of schools and colleges in the U.S. recruited students evacuated from the hurricane-devastated area regardless of obscurity concerning the possibility to obtain enough costs. More than a thousand firefighters applied to be expedited to the devastated area, while their local cities volunteered to compensate their destitution. Moreover, the American Red Cross conscripted the greatest assistance attempt during its 124-year history to help the sufferers of Hurricane Katrina. During the first two weeks after the hurricane, the Red Cross provided 74,000 volunteers who equipped warehouses to more than 160,000 of sufferers and more than 7.5 million hot dishes (LaJoie, Sprang, & McKinney, 2010, p. 1035). More than 300 emergency response vehicles (ERVs) were provided to the region in order to furnish food and water to sufferers (LaJoie et al., 2010, p. 1035). Due to the fact that the Red Cross had gathered the immeasurable mass of donations and its rejoinder was restricted to catastrophe assistance aid and not to recuperation, a number of charities offered the Red Cross to share the costs with categories involved in the recovery endeavors (Beaudoin, 2009). Nevertheless, the American Red Cross has not been permitted by Louisiana to equip assistance in New Orleans (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2014).

Lessons Learned

The analysis of events and the current knowledge of the situation allow stating about two important lessons, which were learned from Hurricane Katrina in the White House Report. Firstly, they indicated that size matters. From a good sense perspective, disasters are exclusively huge extremities, while catastrophes are merely huge disasters (Chan & Rhodes, 2014). Nevertheless, due to the fact that the scope of demureness deploys from typical emergencies, including huge auto breakdowns and serious structure wildfires to disasters, and afterward to catastrophes, both the influences and the control issues connected with reaction and recuperation diverge essentially. In addition, the discrepancies in scope are not only quantitative, as they are also qualitative (Chan & Rhodes, 2014). The reacting agencies typically appear from the local region in emergencies. These agencies adhere to normal operating processings, effects have a tendency to be localized, and emergencies are usually brought under control without the requirement to ask for help from higher governmental levels. On the contrary, disasters are occasions, which cannot be operated simply by local emergency reactive agencies. Joint help and the equipment of aid from state and federal government are required. In regards to disasters, members of the public straightly should become incorporated in the primary disaster reaction, operating significant tasks, including emergency searching and rescuing (Chan & Rhodes, 2014). FEMA did not allow non-governmental agencies to intrude in the response actions, which caused numerous victims and delays. When the disaster is so immense, the country should use each available resource to make the number of victims as small as possible (Aldrich & Crook, 2013, p. 620).

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The second important lesson concerns the understanding and the disparity of preparedness versus planning fantasies. This lesson appears from the fact that the country actually did not have any efficient plans for reacting to catastrophic occasions. The U.S. did not have the National Response Plan (NRP), regardless of the fact that it had a specific “Catastrophic Annex” (Chan & Rhodes, 2014, p. 89). Nevertheless, the plans in the Annex had not been developed with help from physical or social scientists, disaster policy professionals, or experienced emergency managers. They actually repulsed the work of non-experts, consultants, and bureaucrats who were forced to provide documents demonstrating that the country can manage future terrorist events (Chan & Rhodes, 2014, p. 94). Moreover, the catastrophe concept is closely connected with chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons of mass destruction in federal planning initiatives. Contemporary planning resources were completely concentrated on perils other than natural hazards, regardless of the fact that the annexes do seldom remark about earthquakes and other natural disasters as potentially catastrophic (Chan & Rhodes, 2014, p. 96). Therefore, the U.S. should have learned to consider everything, including natural disasters, and originate real plans for the nation’s preparedness and not plans-fantasies, which could work only on paper.


After deep analysis, after-reaction reports defined the major areas of concern regarding Katrina. The first area of concern regards planning. The reports defined that the U.S. requires more National Incident Management System (NIMS) training. FEMA’s plans should address all worst-case scenarios and the communications components of planning should be seriously enhanced (Aldrich & Crook, 2013, p. 620). Additionally, FEMA should get used to updating plans in the process of response provision. Second, the communications to the public is another area of concern. There is a high requirement to enhance the ability to reach the public in warehouses and being able to provide non-English communications (Aldrich & Crook, 2013, p. 620). Third, citizen protection evacuation is another area of concern. Thus, after-reaction reports demonstrate that there is a requirement to create a position of a mass care coordinator. The country requires more special needs shelters (Aldrich & Crook, 2013, p. 621). It also needs to be able to track bed count and coordinate resources through Emergency Management (Neria, Galea, & Norris, 2009). In fact, the shelters should be set up earlier, while the evacuation should be started much sooner (Aldrich & Crook, 2013, p. 621). Fourth, triage and pre-hospital treatment is another area of concern. The country has to incorporate all involved entities in the planning process. Moreover, this area of concern emphasizes on the fact that patients’ requirements are more important than contractual arrangements (Beaudoin, 2009). The country also should counter to train paramedics for them to be able to perform the expanded function they are provided in extreme situations. The final area of concern regards medical care provision (Aldrich & Crook, 2013, p. 621). The country requires an inventory system and organized process for collection/pick-up and delivery. In addition, clothes, food, and fuel should be managed apart from medical supplies (Aldrich & Crook, 2013, p. 621).


The above-mentioned information allowed making several important recommendations. The first recommendation suggests that both public and private organizations at all levels and sizes should be well-served in regards to the execution of post-catastrophe outcomes by complying with NRP and utilizing it as a directive for their disaster/emergency control and management (Birkland, 2013, p. 157). The second recommendation advises that a freewill third party, private sector compliance evaluation system should be created. Freewill concordance with the preparation norm sustained by a compliance evaluation system could alleviate inducements for business to stimulate the required deposition of resources by the organization. It practically means that compliance could help in restricting an organization’s legal responsibility post-incident by meeting a norm of cares (Haddow et al., 2014, p. 276). Moreover, it is important to consider the provision of free medications to pharmacies in order for them to be able to distribute and keep people out of the epidemics. In addition, there is a requirement to pre-plan vaccine vendors. Finally, a share of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) should be allocated for the local usage (Aldrich & Crook, 2013, p. 621). The third recommendation asks for enhancing call for tracking monitoring improvements, for resources, medications, and personnel as well as parties. Additional cross-cutting recommendations incorporate enhanced coordination and communication between state and local government as well as voluntary agencies (Zoracter, 2010, p. 77). The facts show that Hurricane Katrina disclosed the requirement for norms and other governance further to consolidate the U.S. nation’s resiliency. Norms are significant for felicitous projection and implementation, providing the public and private sector organizations with a possibility to cooperate efficiently and for diminishing the outcomes appearing after a disaster (Horwitz, 2009, p. 526). Lastly, such actions are essential for businesses, governments and communities to safeguard lives, promptly recuperate and evade destructive as well as damaging economic detriment.

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