Analysis of Devastating Disaster, Hurricane Katrina
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, approximately 1883 persons lost their lives, mostly children and elderly. Many people lost their homes, businesses, and most of the town infrastructure was devastated, as a result of engineering system levee, sea wall failure, and intergovernmental political, and communication disaster.
Which government leaders, officials, or agency was responsible for the political fall-up of Katrina?
Several of factors of responsibility, including intergovernmental political fail-up, communication, miscommunication of leadership from politicians and bureaucrats at all levels of US Government. President Bush, FEMA Director Michael D. Brown, on August 29, 2005, Gov. Blan, and Mayor Nagin all was responsible for the political failure of Katrina.
FEMA a part of the Department of Homeland Security. The agency that has other priorities, the department was focused on terrorism during Katrina. FEMA director, Mr. Brown was only one of the agency’s problems at the time. FEMA leadership and persons appointed without sufficient qualifications for the job contributed to the agency’s halting response, an academic analysis found that turnover among. Before joining FEMA, Brown supervised judges at horse shows. He joined FEMA through connections with, Joe Allbaugh who was President Bush’s first campaign manager and FEMA director. What went wrong?
New Orleans has been classified as a non-regime city. Regimes involve governmental and non-governmental cooperation, a specific agenda, a recognized problem and resources to deal with the problem. New Orleans only had a temporary coalition to deal with Hurricane Katrina, which led to the ineffective, temporary and inefficient evacuation and provision of resources.
Organizations such as the Red Cross attempted to form coalitions, but the various actors could not agree on a specific solution, and this failure to cooperate led to instability, lack of interoperability, miscommunication, and misunderstanding between governmental and non-governmental agencies. FEMA was accused of deliberately slowing things down, in an effort to ensure that all assistance and relief workers were coordinated properly.
Michael D. Brown, the head of FEMA, on August 29, 2005 urged all fire and emergency services departments not to respond to counties and states affected by Hurricane Katrina without being requested and lawfully dispatched by state and local authorities under mutual aid agreements and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact Due to the slow response to the hurricane, New Orleans’s top emergency management official called the effort a ‘national disgrace’ and questioned when reinforcements would actually reach the increasingly desperate There were truckloads of food, water and tents were positioned outside of the flood zone, waiting for rains to subside so they could be sent to the recovery zone. Fema supplies arrive days after the rains ended.
Some 40% of Louisiana’s National Guard was deployed to Iraq at the time, and that use of the National Guard to boost troop numbers in Iraq left them unready to handle disasters at home. During Katrina, social media was a hobby of techie students. Facebook was not yet available beyond universities. Imagine if some of the pictures of the disaster zones, conditions at hospitals, the Super Dome, hidden from news cameras during Katrina, had been circulated on the internet and broadcast on television. Sure, a lot of lives would have been saved.
Who is to be blamed?
The blame game played by politicians, activists, pundits, and journalists of all forms has been directed at the local, state and federal governments. Within days of Katrina’s August 29, 2005 landfall, a public debate arose about the local, state and federal governments’ role in the preparations for and response to the storm. Frustrated political leaders, and of residents who remained in New Orleans without water, food or shelter and the deaths of several citizens by thirst, exhaustion, and violence, days after the storm itself had passed. The treatment of people who had evacuated to registered facilities such as the Superdome.
Government departments local, state and federal response to Hurricane Katrina, primarily to be blamed for mismanagement, lack of interoperability, and lack of preparation in the relief effort in response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Specifically, there was a delayed response to the flooding of New Orleans, Louisiana, the failure of Federal flood protection.
FEMA had provided supplies, but FEMA Director Michael D. Brown, apparently greatly surprised by the much larger numbers of people who turned up seeking refuge, causing the first wave of supplies to be quickly depleted. A large number of deaths were a result of the insufficient response and evacuation before Katrina’s arrival, primarily due to city and state resistance to issuing an evacuation order and risking ‘crying wolf’ and losing face should the hurricane have left the path of the model prediction.
Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of Homeland Security, is to be blamed, as the levee breach had been previously envisioned by the Army Corps of Engineers and the storm had closely followed the National Weather Service predictions. The warning to President Bush only addressed the levees being overrun by water, however, not breaking or developing holes, which is the Army Corps of Engineers’ definition of a breach.
Mayor Ray Nagin was blamed for failing to implement his flood plan and for ordering residents to a shelter of last resort without any provisions for food, water, security, or sanitary conditions. Most importantly, Nagin, he delayed his emergency evacuation order until less than a day before landfall, which led to hundreds of deaths of people who (by that time) could not find any way out of the city. Adding to that, the broadcast of school bus parking lots full of baby blue school buses, which Mayor Nagin refused to be used in the evacuation. When asked why the buses were not used to assist evacuations instead of holding up in the Superdome, Nagin cited the lack of insurance liability and shortage of bus drivers.
How did the complexities of failed governmental response to Katrina highlight the complexities of contemporary intergovernmental relations?
Complexities of failed governmental response to Katrina highlights the neighbors, city and county governments. At that time the state was the first responders, not the federal government. At the federal level, FEMA primarily coordinates responses led by other agencies like defense, example National Guards. Governor Kathleen Blanco requested, via a letter to the U.S. National Guard Bureau on the 30th of August, additional National Guard troops from other states to supplement the Louisiana National Guard, but approval did not occur until September 1.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson had offered assistance to Blanco two days before the storm hit but could not send his troops until approval came from the National Guard Bureau. Blanco later acknowledged that she should have called for more troops sooner and that she should have activated a compact with other states that would have allowed her to bypass the requirement to route the request through the National Guard Bureau.
As a result of FEMA ’s slow response to the hurricane, New Orleans’s top emergency management official called the effort a ‘national disgrace’ and questioned when reinforcements would actually reach the increasingly desperate city. New Orleans’s emergency operations chief Terry Ebbert highlights the inadequate response on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). ‘This is not a FEMA operation. I haven’t seen a single FEMA guy’, he said. ‘FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can’t bail out the city of New Orleans.
Too many complexities of lack of interoperability, contemporary intergovernmental relations caused failed governmental response to Katrina, sadly many lives were lost as a result.
During the Katrina disaster, President George W. Bush told FEMA Director Michael Brown, ”you’re doing a heck of a job”. Ten days later, Brown resigned in disgrace. Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, approximately 1800 persons lost their lives, mostly children and elderly. Many people lost their homes, businesses, and most of the town infrastructure was devastated, as a result of engineering system levee, sea wall failure, intergovernmental political, lack of interoperability, and communication disaster. Complexities of contemporary intergovernmental relations caused failed governmental response to Katrina, sadly many lives were lost as a result.
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