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An Analysis Of The Hurricane Catrina Relief Effort

3751 words - 15 pages

In a state of national emergency, the United States government is expected to be efficient and organized. When Hurricane Katrina struck on August 25th, 2005, the United States government was not readily prepared for such an immense disaster. The mismanagement of relief efforts by the U.S. government led to a lack of adequate assistance to U.S. victims along with a prolonged restoration period for those in need. Had the government accepted more foreign aid and further prepared for the storm, hurricane Katrina may not have proved such a disaster in our nation’s history. This essay will explain how foreign aid was integrated into the relief effort. Additionally, this essay will explore the government’s refusal of aid from various countries willing to provide assistance and the lessons that can be learned from our nation’s actions in the aftermath of Katrina.

In August of 2005, no one could predict the brutality and intensity of the natural disaster that was about to strike the city of New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina, known as one of the top natural disasters in our nation’s history, filled the city of New Orleans with water, leaving it a disaster area. Thousands of people’s lives were turned upside down by the damage and devastation that occurred from the impact of the storm. With a storm surge entering the city over 20 feet high, residents were forced to flee and abandon their Louisiana lifestyles. The Port of Mobile in Alabama, which did not even endure the full impact of the storm, sustained an estimated 28 million dollars in damages alone due to the storm (GAO 2006). Although an official estimate was not released, the total economic impact from Katrina is predicted to be around $150 billion in total damages (Kenny, 2013), an incredible and devastating impact on the U.S. As a result of the storm, the government sent out aid to the area distributing the most resources the government could at the time. Unfortunately, in many instances this was not enough, seeing as the final death toll from the storm came to an estimated 1800 people (Kenny, 2013). As the G.A.O. stated, “it exacted terrible human costs with the loss of significant number of lives and resulted in billions of dollars in property damage”(GAO 2006). Faster aid and relief to the victims of Katrina was a possibility that did not occur due to the lack of preparation and acceptance of aid by the United States government.

Government Action
In a time of crisis, the government response to the situation at hand was poor and inefficient. There were numerous flaws and errors in the relief plan proposed to the government which in turn led to delayed relief to victims in need. The immediate response phase after Katrina lasted roughly 12 days. During this time, “victims were evacuated, rescued, sheltered, and received medical care from first responders, charities and other non-governmental organizations, and private citizens”(McNeill, 2011). The fact that the U.S. government organizations...

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