Compare and Contrast Psychological Impact of Katrina and Lusitania Research Paper

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psychological impact of Katrina & Lusitania

Hurricane Katrina which took place in the year 2005 is said to be one of the worst storm disaster that took place in the history of the United States. It led to loss of many lives, and it was unavoidable. The winds both from Louisiana to Alabama caused the level of water to arise at about 80% of the New Orleans and neighborhoods. The tragedy left many people with worries asking how the tragedy like that could happen to threaten the lives of many Americans (Brinkley, 2006).

The sinking of Lusitania on the other hand, contributed to various impacts on America as well as, the World War One. However, the Americans were never interested in joining the war unless they had finished another two years. The Lusitania sinking also enraged many Americans as well as, hastening the people from United States' entrance into the World War one. The disaster happened in few minutes as compared to Hurricane Katrina which took about two hours and forty minutes. This paper will analyze the Lusitania disaster and Hurricane Katrina as well as, giving the similarities and dissimilarities of the disasters. The paper also summarizes the psychology of the disaster concepts that is applied to the disasters.

Hurricane Katrina disaster did not only affect the human physically, but the disaster contributed to social and psychological impacts in the city, the storm on the other hand, had the most notable effect in the economy of the state and market dynamics. Its longest-lasting impact was its damage on environment; there were spillage of industrial wastes and raw sewages that ran into the New Orleans and its neighborhoods (Levitt & Whitaker, 2009).

Public Response to Lusitania sinking and Hurricane Katrina

The Lusitania sinking took place on May 7, 1915 when the Lusitania was swift moving from New York to Liverpool in England. The boat had a total of 1,959 people on board including men, women and children; however 1,195 perished, including 123 Americans. This disaster contributed to an initial response of the public as others saw it to be a blatant act of transgression as well as evil against convections of the war. Other people understood the Germany to have unambiguously alerted the passengers of the Atlantic vessels for submarine attacks on the British ships, therefore, Germany considered the Lusitania being British ship, and hence could be an enemy ship. The Lusitania sinking was not the largest factor that contributed to joining the WWI two years later by the United States; however, it solidified the opinions of the public towards the Germany. Other people considered the disaster to be a turning point of technology, ideology and strategic in the warfare modern history.

After Hurricane Katrina struck the New Orleans as well as the coastal cities of United States, the U.S. government quickly responded to the catastrophic event by showing that they could guarantee the local and states emergency response. The governments were able to conduct as well as synchronize the operations with the local governments and private sectors with the frameworks that are provided by the United States response plan (Levitt & Whitaker, 2009).

Similarities and Dissimilarities

Both the Lusitania sinking and Hurricane Katrina resulted in a large loss of lives as well as, an immense human suffering making the emergency resources coordination to be extremely difficult. The affected publics were left to fend for themselves in wreckages. However, there are various dissimilarities due to the time variables. The speed of Lusitania was very high at about 18 knots that meant passengers were helpless leading to various panic behaviors. Hurricane Katrina on the other hand just hit some areas creating different significant logistic problems.

The other dissimilarities is that, the sinking of Lusitania was torpedoed by the German submarine forcing all the Americans to join the WWI, however the Hurricane Katrina disaster came up as a natural disaster that initially had started as a disturbance in pressure field of tropics. One of the factors that contributed to the disaster was as a result of human factor in regards to poor planning as well as poor budgetary priorities. The disaster was not the first in the city of New Orleans; however, New Orleans had been known to be of high risk of getting struck by major hurricanes making some areas to be badly flooded rendering them uninhabitable (Levitt & Whitaker, 2009).

The disaster was gradually able to get itself being organized in vicinity of Bahamas because of the favorable environment, but it further developed into great tropical depression strengthening into tropical storm as well as hurricane. The other similarity between Hurricane Katrina and Lusitania sinking is that both involved water although Lusitania sinking took place in ocean while Hurricane Katrina happened as a result of heavy winds which were blown towards the city causing the water to move in areas of the cities with many buildings.

Major Psychology of Disaster Concepts Applied to the Disasters

The psychological concepts or the effects of a disaster can manifest immediately or long after the event. Understanding impacts of the disasters is a very crucial aspect of the psychological preparedness. How the victims in the scenario cope has an impact on the response to the disaster and the efforts that will be put in the recovery process. It is therefore very important for the emergency planners to understand how the psychological health is affected by the disasters (Gant, 2011). The psychological impact of the two disasters Katrina and Lusitania can be conceptualized in three these are;

Rescue stage

The first few hours or even days after the disaster, search and rescue activities continue as the relief efforts are initiated. The relief activities that are involved include; situation stabilization, providing the survivors with provisions, tending to their needs in terms of health, shelter and other needs. During this period the people at the scene may exhibit some symptoms this include, psychological numbing this involves the people being dazed and confused. They can exhibit a superficial calmness or feel as though what they are experiencing is unreal. There may be heightened arousal, there would be a feeling of intense fear, and the people may be easily startled or have experiences of physiological arousal such as heart pounding and muscle tension. They may feel anxiety over the feeling of separation from their loved ones. The survivors can also have a conflict over nurturance of the occurrence of the disaster (Guterman, 2005). They can distance themselves emotionally as they feel they do not understand why they went through such a disaster. An example in the hurricane Katrina disaster was how the victims appeared ravaged and in distress as they made attempts to flee the scene. Most of them were already in an unstable state of life and this event came with lots of confusion and increased the unstable states. Therefore the rescue and relief workers should be briefed on the behaviors that they should expect to encounter at a disaster scene.

For instance during the Lusitanian disaster the passengers were frightened as they made attempts to push off some of the boats onto the water. Some watched in disbelief as the women and children in the boats that had been launched caught the rail and subsided. Those still on the ship also watched in distress as the boats that had been set out leaked when they reached the water and many people drowned.

Inventory stage

Some of the survivors of the disasters can experience trauma even long after the occurrence of the incident. After the disaster the victims will assess the reality of the situation they are in following the occurrence of the disaster and the consequences that will be lasting. During this time they may begin to experience symptoms that are characteristic of Acute and post-Traumatic stress disorders, general anxiety disorders and post traumatic depression. They can also develope phobias and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. For instance both survivors of Lusitania and hurricane Katrina, a significant number developed phobias that are related to water. These survivors of Lusitania had the fear of travelling in large vessels and those of the hurricane had the fear of storms even if they encounter a slight storm. It is also worth noting that the victims who survived the Lusitania disaster feared explosions even the slightest of them and the smell of burning oil that they encountered they never got over it. The psychopathy that the victims will most likely develop after disasters include;

Acute and Post -- Traumatic stress disorders -- the survivors will develop some symptoms that are related to these disorders, these include re-experiencing some of the events that took place in the day of the disaster. They can have flashbacks or even intrusive images that are related to the disastrous event. For example the survivors of both Katrina and Lusitania can have frequent flashbacks and images of the day of the disaster and they can appear as real as though they are taking place at that very moment in their…[continue]

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