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Hurricane Katrina: Emergency Response And Recovery Operations In New Orleans

1703 words - 7 pages

In August of 2005 Hurricane Katrina formed over the Bahamas and quickly gained in

intensity and devastated several parts of the United States, with particular damage to the city of

New Orleans, Louisiana. This paper will discuss the actions that were taken to mitigate the

disaster and restore functionality to the metropolis, and provide an overview of the city’s

programs for responding to such emergencies and its preparedness to handle another such

event in the future.

A sequential treatment of the disaster, focusing on events in the order in which they

occurred, both in terms of the natural disaster itself, and more particularly, the attempts of

government agencies to ...view middle of the document...

At this time, the eye

of Hurricane Katrina was located off the southern tip of Florida. Though damage was incurred in

the panhandle, the National Hurricane Center announced correctly that the storm was heading

for the coasts of Mississippi and Louisiana.

It was at this point that Louisiana’s Governor, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, declared a

state of emergency. This officially activated the state’s office of Homeland Security and

Emergency Preparedness in its role to provide emergency support.

In response to the state of emergency, federal troops were deployed to the state to

coordinate disaster response efforts with Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA).

Troops from Louisiana’s Air National Guard and Army National Guard were also deployed. As of

that evening, the National Hurricane Center believed that Katrina would strike 66 miles southeast

of New Orleans.

On Saturday morning, August 27th, Hurricane Katrina reached category 3 severity after

Chowdhury 3

gaining strength all the way across the Gulf of Mexico. Cities throughout the area ordered

mandatory evacuations at 10:00 AM, but in New Orleans, it wasn’t until 5 in the afternoon that

Mayor Ray Nagin declared a city-specific state of emergency and called for a voluntary

evacuation. The Mayor stated that he would follow the state’s standardized evacuation plan and

abstain from issuing mandatory evacuation orders until 30 hours before expected landfall. The

purpose of this, Nagin said, was to allow residents of the 9th Ward and Algiers and other areas

of the city that were far beneath sea level to get a head start in leaving the city.

Nagin ordered the Louisiana Superdome, currently known as the Mercedes-Benz

Superdome, opened as a shelter for residents of the city with disabilities who would have

difficulty escaping the metropolis. His advice to these people was to bring sufficient supplies to

satisfy their own needs, such as food, blankets, and folding chairs. Additionally, Louisiana's

National Guard brought seven trucks full of MREs(standing for “Meal, Ready to Eat”) and three

truckloads of water. It was intended to be sufficient to sustain 15,000 people for three days.

Meanwhile, Governor Blanco requested that President George Bush declare a federal

state of emergency to release federal funds to support the situation, in accordance with the

Stafford Act. He obliged; this also activated the procedure that, by law, emergency relief efforts

be coordinated under the oversight of FEMA’s federal coordinating officer(FCO). This also

provided for more military personnel and resources to be put into use, so long as it didn’t violate

the stipulations of the Posse Comitatus Act, which imposes restrictions against the use of Active

Duty soldiers in law enforcement.

Chowdhury 4

After midnight, now Sunday, Hurricane Katrina became a Category 4 storm, boasting 145

mph winds. Before 7:00 AM, it had attained Category 5 intensity. At...

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