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Katrina Disaster: The Governments Response - Essay Example

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According to Kim Ann Zimmermann (2012), an estimated 1,836 people died in the hurricane and the flooding that followed in late August 2005, and millions of others were left homeless along the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans…
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Katrina Disaster: The Governments Response
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Download file to see previous pages She said in her report that according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, hurricane Katrina ranked sixth overall in strength of all the recorded hurricanes in the Atlantic. Douglas Brinkley (2006), in his article ‘The great deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast” described the disaster as follows "In the span of five violent hours on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed major Gulf Coast cities and flattened 150 miles of coastline. Yet those wind-torn hours represented only the first stage of the relentless triple tragedy that Katrina brought to the entire Gulf Coast, from Louisiana to Mississippi to Alabama. First came the hurricane, one of the three strongest ever to make landfall in the United States - 150-mile-per-hour winds, with gusts measuring more than 180 miles per hour ripping buildings to pieces. Second, the storm-surge flooding, which submerged a half million homes, creating the largest domestic refugee crisis since the Civil War”. According to National Geographic News (August 23, 2005), the National Hurricane Center in Miami issued the first advisory about a system that will become Katrina. In the succeeding days, it wreaked havoc east of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and then between North Miami Beach and Hallandale Beach where two people were killed due to falling trees. Drye said that at 5 p.m. on August 25, on August 26 Governors Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana and Haley Barbour of Mississippi declared states of emergency. On August 28, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin issued a mandatory evacuation order. Tens of thousands of New Orleans residents begin streaming out of the city. On August 27, it became a Category Three hurricane and on August 28 became a Category 5 storm. By 5 p.m. the National Hurricane Center described it as "potentially catastrophic". It also slammed into Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi with devastating force, destroying much of both cities. By August 30, floodwaters continued to pour into New Orleans. On August 31, Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt declares a public health emergency in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. All remaining residents were ordered to leave New Orleans. But buses and trucks aren't available to carry out the order. On September 1, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin issued a "desperate SOS" for help from the federal government. There was no food for those who took shelter at the Louisiana Superdome and New Orleans convention center (Drye, 2005). On September 2, a convoy of U.S. National Guard troops and supply trucks arrived in New Orleans and distributed food and water to residents stranded at the Superdome and convention center. After the storm, Zimmermann said in her article, 80 percent of New Orleans and large portions of nearby parishes were flooded, and floodwaters did not recede for weeks. Coastal areas, such as all Mississippi beachfront towns, sustained some of the worst devastation. Soon after Katrina made landfall, state and local authorities due to the destruction of infrastructure and response capabilities, lacked the ability to communicate with each other and coordinate a response. Federal officials struggled to perform responsibilities generally conducted by State and local authorities, such as rescue of citizens stranded by the rising floodwaters, provision of law enforcement, and evacuation of the remaining population of New Orleans, all without the benefit of prior planning or a functioning State/local incident command structure to guide their efforts (Townsend 2006). While critics blamed an aging and neglected levee system and residents not heeding to initial warnings to evacuate, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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