Hurricane Katrina Essay

Hurricane Katrina Essay

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Introduction
The initial response or lack thereof, to the widespread disaster in the Gulf Coast, caused by Hurricane Katrina, demonstrated high levels of incompetence and disorganization by government officials. Images of desperate individuals awaiting rescue on their rooftops, and masses of people packed together in deplorable conditions in the Super Dome, circulated the globe. There was no hiding from the painful reality and the obvious inaction or inability of those responsible to care for these individual in the wake of this catastrophe. (12, 791)
Although a considerable amount of the blame has been placed at the feet of FEMA, it should be understood that multiple factors contributed to the situation in New Orleans. Some sections of the levees had been poorly constructed, and were not properly maintained. Local agencies failed to adequately plan and prepare of such an event. Local officials waited too long to order an evacuation, and did not consider how to assist those citizens who lacked the financial resources evacuate on their own. (1,24)
FEMA HISTORY
Federal intervention in the aftermath of natural disasters began after the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. This 8.3 magnitude earthquake killed 478, and left over 250,000 homeless. While the disaster itself was obviously unavoidable, the subsequent fires that burned throughout the city were a result of poor planning. (1, 17) In an effort to consolidate existing programs, and to improve the nation’s level of preparedness, President Carter created FEMA in 1979. Initially, FEMA was praised for improving communication between various levels of government, and multiple agencies during a crisis. (1,19)
As part of the reorganization of the federal government in response to t...


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...ed individuals to pay for services, perhaps as an extension of the Medicare program. Those survivors, who have suffered a high level of mental or physical trauma, and those who suffer from preexisting conditions, should be identified and considered for expedited care. (2, 425) Mobile health care unity could be utilized in semi-permanent housing developments, such as the trailer parks created in the wake of the Katrina disaster. (2, 425) Legislative barriers to obtaining mental health services need to be removed. Addressing the mental health needs of the survivors is increasingly being recognized as an integral part of emergency management worldwide. Failing to properly address these needs may compromise the recovery of the affected populations, and these individuals are likely to become dependent on state and federal aid. (2, 246)


















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