Unnatural Disasters: Thinking about Natural Disasters in a Sociological Way

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August 23rd, 2005; Hurricane Katrina, formed over the Bahamas, hitting landfall in Florida. By the 29th, on its third landfall it hit and devastated the city of New Orleans, becoming the deadliest hurricane of the 2005 season and, one of the five worst hurricanes to hit land in the history of the United States. Taking a look at the years leading to Katrina, preventative actions, racial and class inequalities and government, all of this could have been prevented. As presented in the newspaper article, An Autopsy of Katrina: Four Storms, Not Just One , we must ask ourselves, are “natural” disasters really natural or, are they a product of the people, who failed to take the necessary actions that needed to be taken? The Years Leading To Katrina In early 2001, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a report of the three most likely disasters to hit the United States. Among these likely disasters to hit the United States, one of them was a hurricane striking New Orleans, the other two; a terrorist attack on New York City and a major earthquake hitting San Francisco.(course pack) However, very little was done to prepare for the deadly storm that would four years later leave New Orleans in a devastated mess. After Hurricane Betsy flooded the city in 1965, Congress authorized the first flood protection system. The project was expected to take 13 years and cost roughly 85 million dollars. When Hurricane Katrina made land fall, almost 40 years later, the system still had not been finished and the cost had been soared to 738 million dollars. (news article) Knowing that New Orleans stood a good chance every year of getting hit by a category five hurricane, leaving its levees at a category three strength was like playing Russ... ... middle of paper ... ...gory five hurricanes. The poor, black population would also have been better off if history and not been uncovered. They would have been treated the same way as the white population, if not better, because their houses lied in the lower and less desirable part of the city, making them more vulnerable in a storm like Katrina. Taking events such as these and others described above, it is easy to tell that Hurricane Katrina was not a natural disaster. Instead, it was a unnatural disaster that could have been prevented if people has done their jobs correctly. Works Cited Schwartz, J "An Autopsy of Katrina: Four Storms, Not Just One. " , May , 2006, Gavin, A ,"Reading Katrina: Race, Space an an Unnatural Disaster. " , New Political Science , p.325 – 346 Brym, R ,"Hurricane Katrina and the Myth of Natural Disasters. " , Sociology as a Life or Death Issue , p.53 - 78

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