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Hurricane Katrina was an Atlantic hurricane that affected New Orleans and other parts of the world in the year 2005. It was the most expensive hurricane in terms of cost that has ever rocked the United States. In addition to that, it was one of the deadliest hurricanes that have ever rocked the United States. It was also the sixth strongest hurricane that has ever affected the United States. In the hurricane, there were almost 2000 people who died and property worth $ 82 billion was destroyed. This was nearly triple the devastating effect that was brought forth by hurricane Andrew. The paper discusses the hurricane in details.
Emergency response units involved in the incident to the Hurricane
In response to the hurricane, there were numerous stakeholders who were involved. The response involved the inter-government and cross-sectoral players in a united front. The inter-governmental agency was both the local, federal and state whilst the cross-sectoral section involved the public, non-profit and private sector. In addition, FEMA was involved and its key role was to act as a coordinator to the disaster.
Devastating results of the hurricane
The results of the hurricane have been long lasting. In New Orleans, the hurricane caused a total of 50 breaches in the drainage system and what this led to is the most horrible engineering catastrophe that has ever occurred in the history of the United States. The whole city became flooded and this led to deaths of numerous individuals. The other effect was that there was the stoppage of oil refinery which ardently led to the increase in oil prices across the world since New Orleans is a major contributor to the American Oil market. The hurricane also led to the evacuation of the residents in the area which totaled to over ninety percent of the inhabitants (Palser, 2007). However, there are people who remained in Louisiana which was a bit shocking and this led to the death of more individuals as they were mainly the old and the poor who could not take the effects of the hurricane. The hurricane consequently, affected the economy and the population of the people around the area of New Orleans. The positive result is that there was a review of the engineering in the area to prevent other hurricanes from ever affecting the area.
How the emergency response units worked while responding to the incidents
In response to the disaster, the government deployed units of rescuers who worked overnight in order to ensure that the victims were evacuated and those that were adversely affected were given medical care. In addition to this effort, public, the ones that had not been adversely affected by the hurricane chose to help the ones who were adversely affected. The medical practitioners were also handy as they are the ones who helped to come out with the medical equipments that were utilized in the event (Palser, 2007). This therefore, meant that there were joint effectors by all the members in both the government and social domain who helped in the disaster. In response to the hurricane, the government also deployed units to help in the search of the dead victims.
Preparedness for Hurricane Katrina
The city of New Orleans has poorly designed levees and also bad engineering which led to the flooding in most of the city. The mayor of New Orleans ordered the emergency evacuation however, due to negligence, the residents did not volunteer to evacuate. The city was unprepared since it was prepared for evacuation when the storm was at category 5 and hurricane Katrina did not show any signs. The city also lacked evaluation plans to enable the swift evacuation of the citizens (Brinkley, 2007). Therefore, there was an outright failure in the system when it came to preparedness. There were a large number of people who could not leave by their own means and it is at this point that the government showed laxity as it did not provide adequate means. The mayor is also to blame since he did not follow the adequate evacuation plans to help the needy.
During hurricane Katrina the emergency plans were a flawed and this is the reason as to why many individuals died. First, there were insufficient preparation and planning for the hurricane which led to the overall lack of good services by both the government and the individuals. The key agencies in the city did not have the appropriate plans in case of the situations. A good example is the contractors. The Federal Emergency Management did not give the appropriate care in case of the situation. In addition to that, there was lack of good workmanship as the contractors who were favored were from the affected area (Hoffman, 2007). Secondly, there was lack of clear form of communication amongst the players in the sector. This meant that there was confusion which led to the overall failure of the disaster management plan. When a situation like the hurricane is predicted, it is expected that the local agencies communicates the plans that they have through FEMA. In this communication, the agencies failed which led to the overall rage in the disaster. Thirdly, there was there was an insufficient number of employees who were deployed to the area leading to the overall failure.
Training and Exercises
There have been training programs which have been put in place in order to prepare the victims of the hurricane in case there may be another one. This program is overseen by the FEMA administrator. In addition to that, the National Management Systems is also a part and parcel of the initiative. The national council of disability and the national advisory council are also part and parcel of the initiative (Hoffman, 2007). The government has additionally provided workout facilities that are to be used in the training. The academic institutions and private organizations are also part and parcel of the initiative.
Emergency Planning Lessons Learned from Katrina
There are numerous lessons that have been learnt from the hurricane. Key amongst them is the need to pay attention in cases of looming hurricane disasters. The other lesson that has been learnt is the need to come out with clearly laid down plans to combat the deficiencies that were witnessed before the hurricane. The dams and levees have also be upgraded and given better engineering touch to ensure that incase the hurricane comes up again, there would be better management (Theiss & Reed, 2005). There have also been access plans in a bid to provide houses for the people who will be affected in the future. The hurricane also created the need of ensuring that the emergency plans are checked once in a while to ensure that they function.
What went right with hurricane Katrina?
Although the hurricane had devastating effects, there were some parts of it that were rightly handled. The men and the women who helped to evacuate the people who were helpless were part of the team that would be forever remembered in terms of the effort that they gave towards the initiative. The military men who were boundless in their service are also part of what went right during the hurricane and that is why the loss of lives was not escalated. The fire departments and the non-governmental organizations were also part and parcel of the team that helped to make everything right during the scenario (Verdon, 2005). The faith based groups were also quite helpful during the hurricane. Therefore, even though there may be assumptions that the hurricane had only a negative impact, the people who helped rescue and treat the affected families and also those who took them in played a major role in helping the whole process. This showed the true nature of statesmanship.
What lessons were learned during Hurricane Katrina?
The hurricane helped the citizens become aware of the system of emergency planning that they should use and this has led to the overall experience in which they try to come out with ways and means of combating the deficiencies that were witnessed. The government also started an initiative which aims at encouraging the emergency planners to talk with their colleagues to come out with clearer measurers of combating the hurricane (Palser, 2007). In addition, the government has created initiatives in which the people are encouraged to come together and form alliances that would help them help each other from the hurricane. This shows that the people have learned to be unified and prepared always.
Case study of Hurricane Hugo
United States has proved to be the most affected state when it comes to natural disasters. These disasters include thunderstorms, tornadoes, flashfloods and hurricanes. The most disastrous year was 1989 when United States experienced thirty-four natural disasters. These disasters had a great impact on the well-being of the US economy. Areas that were affected by this hurricane are Virgin Islands, Florida, North Carolina, Puerto Rico and South Carolina Florida, South and North. Energy infrastructure, which has a great impact on the economy and industrial components, was disrupted. There was transport and communication failure, which made it hard for the economy to run. Hurricane Hugo led to death of forty-nine people. Economically it proved to be the destructive ever witnessed in the United States (Auf Der Heide, 1989).
Preparedness for Hurricane Hugo
It is due to the effects of hurricane Hugo that the government of us appreciated the need for emergency preparedness in dealing with disasters. For instance in order to ensure that energy supply regardless of disasters there is the need to understand means of minimizing the negative effects of storm. After the occurrence of the hurricane, Hugo, Strom Thurmond Institute decided to come up with experts that would review lessons learned from the disaster. The experts, therefore, travelled to different parts that were most hit by the disaster. They realized that Hurricane Hugo caused lack of power the whole of Southern Carolina. Although Hugo led to great energy emergency due to severe damage to electric systems, power restoration and recovery implementation was rapid (National Research Council and Committee on Natural Disasters, 1994).
Lessons learned from Energy Emergency Preparedness
It goes without say that, energy is important to the well being of any economy. During Hurricane Hugo, the struggle to restore energy was inevitable. This is because businesses majorly depend on energy, to run. The most important type of planning required is “Worst case”. Emergency planners should, therefore, ensure that they use this type of planning in order to curb fatal effects of disasters. In order to maintain readiness, emergency planners should adopt pre-emergency planning. Prior planning and Federal-state-industry coordination are also important. This is exactly what the industry for energy has been doing in dealing with challenges that face it. Prior planning helps in developing critical elements necessary in preparing for an emergency. Different governments have created teams that help in sharing information on disaster management, provide coordinating procedures and conduct exercises and training. Although states have organizations that respond to emergencies, it is important call upon coordinating groups in case of a fatal disaster like Hurricane Hugo (Alexander, 2006). This is because such disasters call for high level of legal, economic and technical expertise. The government should, therefore, work hand in hand with energy industry in ensuring that a coordinating groups formed to deal with disasters is effective. It is through the occurrence of the Hurricane Hugo that the effectiveness of the energy industry was felt. It was realized that this industry is not only capable but also professional and responsive (DeLorenzo & Porter, 2001).
Another lesson learnt from Energy Emergency Preparedness is the military has a vital role to play in dealing with disasters. The military should, therefore, be well coordinated in order to succeed. Military hospitals, generators, water stems and field kitchens are important during natural disasters. All these amenities are important in restoration. Research indicates that the military played a vital role in dealing with hurricane Hugo, but there is a need for further improvement. The military helped in providing security, controlling traffic, clearing of debris and transportation (Alexander, 2006).
Just as the military is impotent, so are communication systems. Communication loss is highly linked to the loss of power. Through Hurricane Hugo, it was clear that communications effectiveness, redundancy and survivability should be put into consideration. The most vulnerable communication systems to storm are TV, radio, emergency broadcasting and TV lost value before the onset of the major storm telephones. Emergency Broadcast System was not of any help either ( Auf Der Heide, 1989).
Government awareness programs cannot be ignored. This is because they help in informing the public on an occurrence of emergencies. Information program are also important in providing education to the public on how to deal with hurricanes. National Weather Service helps in informing individuals on impeding emergency, evacuation plans and preparedness information. In summary, Energy Emergency Preparedness was provided with valuable lessons that are necessary in planning. The most important point to note is that the energy industry is capable of working together with the government effectively and efficiently to mitigate the diverse effects of natural disasters (DeLorenzo & Porter, 2001)..
Government and Hurricane Hugo
Someone would ask why people from Southern Carolina who were most affected by the Hurricane Hugo forced to pay taxes in order to salvage the economic situation in the United States. Most people blame the government for having allowed the disaster to occur. This means that, according to some individuals the federal government should take full responsibility and ensure that the economy stabilizes rather than imposing taxes on citizens. It is argued that the government prevented citizens from repairing damages that had been caused by Hurricane Hugo. If only the government would have allowed people to repair damages through allowing them to go back to their homes, then the economy would not have deteriorated as it did (Whitman et al, 2004).
The government defended itself by claiming that the major reason why it prevented people from going back to their homes was to ensure their safety. In addition, it wanted to ensure that there were minimal cases of looting. The public did not take this lightly; this is because in the struggle to save people’s property more was lost. It was quite ironical that the government was interested in saving people’s property while in the real sense most people lost their property more than expected (Auf Der Heide, (2004).
The local authorities have been considered as intensifiers of Hurricane Hugo. This is because their main role was to impose utmost cost controls. The environmentalists have also not been left behind in the blame for fueling the effects of hurricane Hugo. Environmentalists failed to provide clear guidelines to the public on the use of the beach. Some went as far as praising the emergence of Hurricane Hugo. The big question has been who exactly contributed to the increase of the tragic effects of Hurricane Hugo. Individual argue that, if only the government would have changed the way it dealt with the effects of Hurricane Hugo then the economy of the United States would not have been badly affected as it was. Wrong leaders in government were also intensifiers of this disaster. It is uncouth that some leaders can sit back and appreciate the emergence of Hurricane Hugo instead of formulating programs that help in curbing future disasters (National Research Council and Committee on Natural Disasters, 1994).
What went right with Hurricane Hugo?
There were very few cases of looting witnessed during the period of Hurricane Hugo. This is due to the restrictive measures on movement that were imposed on the public. Even though the public relented to this rule, the government was adamant to let people move from one place to another in fear for their safety. The emergency preparedness witnessed during Hurricane Hugo was incredible. Different groups of expertise were created to investigate different regions that had been hit by this hurricane. Different stakeholders were involved in ensuring that the effects of this hurricane are minimal (Auf Der Heide, E. (2004).
Effects of Hurricane Hugo
The most affected sector due to the emergence of this hurricane was the economy. Hurricane Hugo left the economy of the United States in a bad condition. So much property was lost due to the storm. Business operations were hard due to failure in power supply. The loss of lives can also not be ignored. This hurricane saw forty-six people lose their lives. In addition, the hurricane caused distrust in the government among most people. Some individuals’ had a strong believe that the government played an integral part in intensifying the effects of the hurricane. This is because it had prevented people from moving from one place to another. The public strongly believed that if they were given a chance to rescue their property then the economy would not have been affected as it was.
Hurricanes have been the major challenge to the well being of the United States. The most notable hurricanes are Hurricane Katrina and Katrina Hugo. They both had tragic effects on the economy. Different emergency plans were formulated in both hurricanes in ensuring that there effects were minimal. From these Hurricanes, it was noted that preparation for emergency begins with an organized government. Failure of the government leads to failure of the whole system. The government alone cannot help dealing natural disasters contributions of different organizations and a department is important.
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