Research Paper

1410 words - 6 pages

Even though it is the responsibility of the federal and state governments to aid citizens during times of disaster, the people devastated by Hurricane Katrina were not effectively facilitated as according to their rights as citizens of the United States. The government’s failures to deliver assistance to citizens stem from inadequate protection systems in place before the storm even struck. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security were the two largest incumbents in the wake of the storm. The failure of these agencies rests on the shoulders of those chosen to head the agency. These directors, appointed by then president George W. Bush, were not capable of leading large government agencies through a crisis, let alone a disaster the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina. Along with the federal government, the state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans did not do enough to lesseb the damage caused by the storm, and forced thousands of poorer citizens to remain in cramped and unsanitary conditions for extended periods of time. The culmination of federal, state, and local government’s failures in suppressing and repairing the damage of Hurricane Katrina to a level acceptable for citizens of the United States is a denial of the rights citizens of the United States hold.
Some of the damage done by Hurricane Katrina could have potentially been avoided if protection systems were installed to the proper extents. In Louisiana, “some parts of the metro area continue to lack hurricane protection built to federal standards” (Webster). Had the greater Louisiana area been better protected, it is very likely that more people would have survived and the total cost of the storm been less. Even in areas where levees were built, they were still incapable of protecting against a storm of any significant magnitude. After levees are initially built, they sink and “Every year, your protection is getting less… The constant loss of levee height means reduced protection from storm surge” (Webster). If existing levees were maintained and new ones built where needed, the effects of Hurricane Katrina may have been less dramatic.
The responsibility for maintaining existing levees and building new ones falls to the federal, state and local governments. In reality, the costs of most infrastructure projects are in the hundreds-of-millions to billions of dollars. This means that the cost burden must fall on the federal government (Webster). The federal government, however, failed to provide the necessary resources to build protective infrastructure for U.S. citizens since, “Under the Bush administration there was little money for nor interest in internal improvements, as the federal dollar was spent mainly on the military while the nation's infrastructure continued to deteriorate” (George). Had more money been spent on internal improvements, more levees could have been built and the impact of the storm lessened.
The failure to adequately prepare...

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