Unnatural Disasters: Thinking about Natural Disasters in a Sociological Way
As reporter Mike Davis explained, "The ultimate revelation of Hurricane Katrina is how all levels of government denied and betrayed the promise of equal rights to poor African Americans. Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Katrina is one of the most deadly American hurricanes ever.
Hurricane Katrina began with other hurricanes. Because the warm moisture from the surface of the ocean and the air formed a storm cloud and it was moved by strong strong winds until it became a powerful storm. Hurricane Katrina was formed in the Bahamas on August 23, , occurred as a moderate level 1 hurricane in southern Florida, and in the United States that caused deaths and floods when Hurricane Sandy occurred in October A devastating travel meteorologist to the East Coast of the East knew that the storm was unparalleled in terms of the possibility of damage and death.
Perhaps the most important criticism of Nagin is that 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. When asked why the buses were not used to assist evacuations instead of holing up in the Superdome, Nagin cited the lack of insurance liability and shortage of bus drivers.
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 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 and misunderstanding between governmental and non-governmental actors.
At Despite these factors preventing many people from being able to evacuate on their own, the mandatory evacuation called on August 27 made no provisions to evacuate homeless, low-income, or sick individuals, nor the city's elderly or infirm residents. Consequently, most of those stranded in the city were the poor, the elderly, and the sick. It has been stated in the evacuation order that, beginning at noon on August 28 and running for several hours, all city buses were redeployed to shuttle local residents to, "refuges of last resort," designated in advance, including the Louisiana Superdome.
Brown was greatly surprised by the much larger numbers of people who turned up seeking refuge and that the first wave of supplies were quickly depleted. Had contra-flow on highways been initiated sooner and more buses begun evacuating families including the idle school buses that were not used at all the numbers of stranded New Orleans occupants would have been significantly less, making the initial wave of FEMA supplies adequate and even excessive.
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 city. I haven't seen a single FEMA guy", he said. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans.
In the early morning of September 2 mayor Ray Nagin expressed his frustration at what he claimed were insufficient reinforcements provided by the President and federal authorities. However, many police, fire and EMS organizations from outside the affected areas were reportedly hindered or otherwise slowed in their efforts to send help and assistance to the area. FEMA sent hundreds of firefighters who had volunteered to help rescue victims to Atlanta for 2 days of training classes on topics including sexual harassment and the history of FEMA.
Local police and other EMS workers found the situation traumatic; at least two officers committed suicide, and over deserted the city after gang violence and "turf wars" erupted around the city. The federal response was often constrained by lack of legal authority or by ill-suited eligibility and application requirements.
The Voices of Hurricane Katrina, Part I by Abe Louise Young | Poetry Foundation
In many instances, federal staff and national organizations did not seem to have the flexibility, training, and resources to meet demands on the ground. Early Tuesday morning, August 30, a day after the hurricane struck, President Bush attended a V-J Day commemoration ceremony at Coronado, California , while looking over the situation with his aides and cabinet officials.
The warning to 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. Bush was criticized for not returning to Washington, D. Blanco decided to evacuate the city in response to that request. Turning to his aides during the flyover, Bush remarked, "It's totally wiped out.
It's devastating, it's got to be doubly devastating on the ground. Vice President Dick Cheney was also criticized in his role in the aftermath.
On the night of August 30, and again the next morning, he personally called the manager of the Southern Pines Electric Power Association and ordered him to divert power crews to electrical substations in nearby Collins, Mississippi , that were essential to the operation of the Colonial Pipeline , which carries gasoline and diesel fuel from Texas to the Northeast. As we renew the promise of our institutions, let us also show the character of America in our compassion and care for one another A hopeful society comes to the aid of fellow citizens in times of suffering and emergency -- and stays at it until they're back on their feet.
We're removing debris and repairing highways and rebuilding stronger levees. We're providing business loans and housing assistance. Yet as we meet these immediate needs, we must also address deeper challenges that existed before the storm arrived. In New Orleans and in other places, many of our fellow citizens have felt excluded from the promise of our country.
The answer is not only temporary relief, but schools that teach every child, and job skills that bring upward mobility, and more opportunities to own a home and start a business. As we recover from a disaster, let us also work for the day when all Americans are protected by justice, equal in hope, and rich in opportunity.
Brown charged that partisan politics had played a role in the White House's decision to federalize emergency response to the disaster in Louisiana only, rather than along the entire affected Gulf Coast region, which Brown said he had advocated. And we can't do a thing to him. So we're just gonna federalize Louisiana. Discussion of the recovery efforts for Hurricane Katrina took a back seat to terrorism and Iraq in his State of the Union Address. In that speech, Bush did not mention any human suffering caused by the storm or its aftermath, and did not acknowledge any shortcomings in his administration's response.
Many people criticized Bush for failing to mention hurricane recovery in his State of the Union Address. House subcommittee about FEMA's response. Hurricane Katrina was arguably the first major test of the Department of Homeland Security after September According to many media outlets, as well as many politicians, the response to the disaster was inadequate in terms of leadership and response.
This is really one which I think was breathtaking in its surprise There has been, over the last few years, some specific planning for the possibility of a significant hurricane in New Orleans with a lot of rainfall, with water rising in the levees and water overflowing the levee And although the planning was not complete, a lot of work had been done. But there were two problems here. First of all, it's as if someone took that plan and dropped an atomic bomb simply to make it more difficult.
The Voices of Hurricane Katrina, Part I
We didn't merely have the overflow, we actually had the break in the wall. And I will tell you that, really, that perfect storm of combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody's foresight.
Chertoff's remarks were heavily criticized, as the scenario of a levee breach had been previously envisioned by the Army Corps of Engineers and the storm had closely followed the National Weather Service predictions. The Department of Homeland Security, along with other Departments, will be part of the task force and will assist the Administration with its response to Hurricane Katrina. Brown responsible for federal action.
The article found:. White House and homeland security officials wouldn't explain why Chertoff waited some 36 hours to declare Katrina an incident of national significance and why he didn't immediately begin to direct the federal response from the moment on Aug. Nor would they explain why Bush felt the need to appoint a separate task force. Chertoff's hesitation and Bush's creation of a task force both appear to contradict the National Response Plan and previous presidential directives that specify what the secretary of homeland security is assigned to do without further presidential orders.
The goal of the National Response Plan is to provide a streamlined framework for swiftly delivering federal assistance when a disaster — caused by terrorists or Mother Nature — is too big for local officials to handle. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was heavily criticized in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, primarily for its slow response and inability to coordinate its efforts with other federal agencies relief organizations.
We are ready to provide considerably more help than they have requested. We are just waiting for the call. I don't want to sit here and all of a sudden we are all going to be political. Just get it done. FEMA was accused of deliberately slowing things down, in an effort to ensure that all assistance and relief workers were coordinated properly.
For example, Michael D. Brown , the head of FEMA, on August 29, 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.
FEMA also interfered in the Astor Hotel's' plans to hire 10 buses to carry approximately guests to higher ground. Federal officials commandeered the buses, and told the guests to join thousands of other evacuees at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Aircraft operators complained that FEMA waved off a number of evacuation attempts, saying the rescuers were not authorized. It was also reported that FEMA replaced the hospital identification bracelets on some patients being evacuated or transferred with FEMA ID bracelets, causing hospital personnel to lose track of their patients.
One hospital CEO stated that three months after the storm, the hospital staff still could not locate some of their patients who had been evacuated. Forest Service had water-tanker aircraft available to help douse the fires raging on our riverfront, but FEMA has yet to accept the aid. When Amtrak offered trains to evacuate significant numbers of victims—far more efficiently than buses—FEMA again dragged its feet.
Offers of medicine, communications equipment and other desperately needed items continue to flow in, only to be ignored by the agency. But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe.
Hurricane Katrina: The Race and Class Debate
The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast—black and white, rich and poor, young and old—deserve far better from their national government. The "single, lonely piece of equipment" was one power shovel, a bulldozer, and two dump trucks. Video did not show the work area a few hundred feet away at the start of the roadway. USACE photos show a variety of equipment at that site the following day.
Federally contracted truck drivers instead received orders from FEMA to deliver the ice to government rented storage facilities around the country, as far north as Maine. Brown stated that "I don't think that's a federal government responsibility to provide ice to keep my hamburger meat in my freezer or refrigerator fresh.