Hurricane Katrina: Two Disasters Essay

Hurricane Katrina: Two Disasters Essay

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Hurricane Katrina: Two Disasters
From the Frontline Film, The Old Man and The Storm, the life of Herbert Gettridge was followed after he returned to the 9th Ward of New Orleans to rebuild his home after it was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005. After Hurricane Katrina, 500,000 families were displaced, 200,000 homes were destroyed, and 600 congregations were demolished (The Old Man and The Storm). This was a natural disaster of monumental proportions. Ironically though, a mock scenario was created by Louisiana State University’s Center for the Study of Public Health: Impacts of Hurricanes and FEMA, called Hurricane Pam in July of 2004. An artificial disaster was created during a ten day exercise held at the State Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge. More than 50 Federal, State, and Local agencies were part of this drill where 120 mph winds and 20 inches of rain topped the levees in New Orleans and a million people were evacuated. The Big Easy was underwater. 500,000 – 600,000 buildings were destroyed, and 50,000 citizens were hypothetically dead. LSU’s Hurricane Center told anyone that would listen that the Federal Government did not take this exercise seriously. There was a recommendation made from this exercise that a tent city should be prepared for the homeless. The Corps of Engineers people responded, “Americans don’t live in tents.” In an interview with MSNBC, Ivor Van Heerden, Deputy Director of LSU’s Hurricane Center, said he personally gave a CD version of the disaster study Hurricane Pam to Homeland Security’s Michael Chertoff, FEMA’s Mike Brown, and a White House representative, and every participant got that package. “Presumably,” said Van Heerden, “they are still at the bottom of Chertoff’s or...


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