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Hurricane Katrina and African-American Society - Essay Example

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Hurricane Katrina is one of the worst disasters to ever touch American shores. Unfortunately the hurricane itself only heralded the beginning of this tragedy. The real tragedy began in the aftermath of the storm, as New Orleans filled with water, turning the once vibrant city into a sewer…
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Hurricane Katrina and African-American Society
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Download file to see previous pages In the days that followed, the death toll due to the storm would rise to one thousand eight hundred and thirty-three people, 1577 of that number in Louisiana, with hundreds still unaccounted for (CNN). Even though the water was pumped out of the city within four days, thousands were left homeless and abandoned in the wreckage of the city.
The survivors of the storm and flood made their way through the remnants of New Orleans to the Superdome. What was previously the home of the New Orleans Saints became home to thousands of refugees awaiting government aid that fell far short of expectations. Survivors were abandoned for days as they waited for aid that wouldn't come fast enough. The world watched helplessly as graphic images of people begging for assistance, of people dying in the streets filled television screens urging them to act, to help bring relief to those affected by this senseless catastrophe. The end result was just as horrifying as the uncensored images displayed which both brought world-wide attention to the nightmarish circumstances facing the survivors and exploited them for those who would take advantage of the disastrous situation (Hartman, Chester; Spires, Gregory). There were plenty of people waiting in the wings to capitalize on the devastation surrounding the survivors of the storm. The total damage has been estimated at $125 billion (CNN).
When our ownWhen our own government wouldn't step up to the challenge, other groups stepped in to raise funds for those displaced by the storm and subsequent flooding. Some of these were legitimate non-profit groups whose only interest was to try and help, such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army who brought food, water, clothing and volunteers to the area. Others were scam artists and large corporations who took the opportunity to profit from the devastation and take advantage of those who required assistance most. The United States government made no preparations for those that depended on public transportation just to get around the city, for those sick, invalid, or financially unable to leave on their own merit in the days leading up to Katrina (Brookings Institution). Even after the storm passed and the National Guard made their way into the devastation of New Orleans, they brought few supplies for those trapped inside the city, were even instructed to not distribute their own water and supplies to those crying out for help (Hartman, Chester; Spires, Gregory). Survivors were left in the ill-equipped Superdome as the government feared the spread of disease from those who had been forced to live in the fetid waters flooding the city. When they finally were brought supplies from the government, refugees were given boxes containing the vaccine for SARS (Hartman, Chester; Spires, Gregory). The lack of real response to the poorer, African-American population on the behalf of our government is a point of contention worth a deeper examination.
The most recent numbers from the government show a total federal infusion of one hundred and twenty-six billion dollars into the Gulf area for rebuilding. Of that amount, one hundred and one billion has either been dispersed or is available for the affected states' governments to draw on (White House). President Bush has committed the federal government to allowing the state of Louisiana a thirty year period to repay their segment of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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