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United States’ Government Response To Hurricane Katrina: Where Does The Blame Belong?

1980 words - 8 pages

According to the Business Dictionary, government involvement is considered any “regulatory action taken by a government in order to affect or interfere with decisions.” Many accuse the United States’ national government of minimal and slow actions taken after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, while others share the blame of this response. Local, state, and national government response will be discussed, focusing on the government’s interaction after the strike of Hurricane Katrina.
Katrina hit New Orleans, Louisiana on August 29th, 2005, but the failure of the local government started before this day “by allowing building and growing in areas in low flood lands.” The local government did not regulate these land areas that have always been at threat for flooding and natural disaster, which was ignored by the government and public, and was still a place for growing infrastructure. The author of Hurricane Katrina and the Paradoxes of Government Disaster Policy: Bringing About Wise Governmental Decisions for Hazardous Areas, Burby, relates the conflict of shortsighted public policy decisions. Two of these said policies include requiring local governments to prepare comprehensive plans that give consideration to natural hazards and requires local governments to assume greater financial responsibility for the consequences of their urban development decision-making.
Failures included by Burby of the national agencies include design limits that can lead to levees being overtopped by flood and hurricane events that are larger than they were designed for. Also, design flaws and construction and maintenance shortcomings can lead to protective works being breached when they cannot stand up to the forces exerted by large flood and hurricane events.
There are many reasons for the slow response of the national government in Hurricane Katrina. Some of these are shown in Government’s response to Hurricane Katrina: A public choice analysis. The authors Sobel and Leeson prove the six main problems of the government involvement of Hurricane Katrina. The first is based on the idea that after the event of 9/11, focus was changed from the idea of natural disaster to the idea of terrorist threats. Many argue that because of this change, the slow reaction of FEMA was expected, but considering a terrorist attack could lead to an evacuation, this idea is proven false. The first problem is really that the bureaucracies and government control in the United States have grown, slowing the reaction time of governmental agency aid.
Another reason for the sluggish response of FEMA, even though it advertised otherwise, is the over-cautiousness of governmental agencies. Since criticism is more openly given to government agencies for being under cautious than over cautious, it is easy to see why they chose the later.
The third influence is the conflict between government officials, and individual choices. Citizens tend to want to help the ones in danger or in need no...

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