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Breakdown of IT during Hurricane Katrina - Essay Example

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One of the main situations that occur after an extensive natural disaster is the need to restore not only the human elements of existence, such as housing, water and food; but also the need to restore the operational elements of a community, city or country that has been hit by the disaster…
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Breakdown of IT during Hurricane Katrina
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Download file to see previous pages They want to pool their knowledge and interpretations of the situation, understand what resources are available, assess options, plan responses, decide, commit, act, and coordinate. The heart of the network is the communication system they use and the ways they interact within it" (16).
There are five elements that make up an HFN which includes "(1) a network of people established rapidly (2) from different communities, (3) working together in a shared conversation space (4) in which they plan, commit to, and execute actions, to (5) fulfil a large, urgent mission" (Denning, 16-17).
The basis for forming an HFN for quick responses to emergencies or an urgent task, then disbanding the entire group upon completion of the desired outcome is not an entirely new concept as historically, an HFN has become a necessity in such devastating events such as: "(1) the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack that took 2,749 lives which resulted in severe economic impact, especially to airlines, and a stock market loss of $1.2 trillion, (2) the December 26, 2004 tsunami from a 9.1 earthquake that took over 283,000 lives, (3) the August 29, 2005 category-5 hurricane Katrina, which knocked out electric and communication infrastructure, over 90,000 square miles of Louisiana and Mississippi and displacing 1.5 million people" (Denning, 15)
No matterNo matter the severity of the disasters and the impact on economic and environmental containments, there is an important moot point to be made: the "quality of the response depends not on response planning or on new equipment, but on the quality of the network that came together to provide relief" (Denning, 15) This type of response is not simply limited to what and how quickly relief was provided but also in how quickly the infrastructure response was mobilized. This infrastructure response includes restoration of voice and data communications, medical needs, etc. which are indirectly tied to the victims or those who are affected by natural disaster events.
There are three categories that have been awarded when an HFN will respond and are broken down in the following table (Table 1):
Category
Characteristics
Examples
K: Known
Know what to do
Use existing network structures
May choose not to respond
Fast response team for time-critical business problem or opportunity
KU: Known/Unknown
Know what to do
Don't know time or place
Responding network structure known
Local fire, small earthquake, civil unrest, military campaigns
UU: Unknown / Unknown
Don't know what to do
Don't know time or place
Responding network structure unknown
9/11 attack, other terrorist attacks, large earthquake, major natural disasters (Note: KU events can become UU events when scaled up to large areas or populations)
Table 1: Kinds of events requiring response from hastily formed networks1
To further explain the category challenges, "the first category is the easiest and the least likely to stress the HFN; the middle category is the type that emergency agencies such as police and fire departments prepare for; but, the third category challenges are more defined as:
Genuine surprise: the precipitating event is in no known category. There has been no advanced planning, training, or positioning equipment
Chaos: everyone is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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