Hurricane Katrina Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Hurricane Katrina that ripped through the Gulf Coast of the United States on August 29, 2005, was one of the most destructive tropical cyclones ever to hit the United States. The exact scale of damage is still being assessed but there is little doubt that the human suffering and the economic damage caused by the storm is colossal.

While people around the world have come to expect wide-scale destruction by natural disasters in third world countries due to their limited resources, the effect of the storm in the most resourceful country of the world left most people stunned. A majority of observers were taken aback at the lack of preparation and the lethargic response of the federal and state government agencies to the crisis. However others, who have followed the systematic erosion of the government's role, cuts in social welfare programs and the intense lobbying for privatization of public services in the name of 'laissez faire' during the last 25 years, are not surprised in the least.


It is not that Hurricane Katrina came without forewarning. New Orleans, a city of half a million people, has for long been considered at risk of a "Big One." Several national newspapers and magazines such as the "New Orleans Times-Picayune" and the "National Geographic" had carried articles in the past warning that a direct hit on the city by a major hurricane was only a matter of time. ("Hurricane Katrina" Wikipedia) Closer to the event, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a warning on August 23 (a full six days before the storm hit the coast) that a tropical depression had formed over southeastern Bahamas; the depression which ultimately developed into the raging Hurricane Katrina by the morning of August 24. By August 26, Katrina had already crossed the category 3 intensity of a major hurricane with sustained wind speeds reaching 175 mph and was headed for the Gulf Coast. Computers tracking Katrina started to predict a direct hit on New Orleans but it was not until a 10 am news conference on August 28 that the city's mayor finally ordered a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. ("The Lost City," 22)

What Went Wrong and Why?

Why Hurricane Katrina caused such extensive damage and whether its effects could have been contained, are questions that must be seriously pondered. To my mind, long-term policy failure and short-term bureaucratic paralysis were largely responsible for the tragedy.

Policy Failure:

New Orleans, located between the Mississippi River to the south and Lake Pontchartrain to the north, lies mostly below sea level. As such it has often been described as "a saucer waiting to be filled." In order to protect the city from floods, hundreds of miles of levees have been built. However these levees were built on the assumption that they would have between sixty-five and eighty kilometers of protective swamp as buffer between the city and the Gulf. Unfortunately, the government agencies responsible for protecting the wetlands have looked the other way as developers have callously drained thousands of acres of precious wetlands, leaving the city dangerously vulnerable to floods. (Karl, para on "Systematic Failure") To make matters worse, funds for strengthening and raising the levees for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain have been consistently cut by the administration.

The main culprit behind the current government policies that deny such essential funding for public works is the ideology of privatization of government functions introduced in the Reagan-Thatcher era of the 1980s.

More specifically, massive cuts in taxes for the rich and handing out of government functions to private firms at higher rates have dried up funding for state and federal government programs. As a result, only the richest and politically most important states and communities could get the scarce resources available with the government. Terry Lynn Karl, Professor of Economics at Stanford University quotes the example of Florida (with sixteen more electoral votes than Louisiana and where the president's brother governs) receiving its requested funding to protect its wetlands, while a more needy Louisiana had its flood mitigation funds denied in 2004.

Bureaucratic Paralysis:

As already mentioned, the order for mandatory evacuation of the city on August was made at least two days too late. Predictably, about one-third of the city's population (more than 150,000 people) either chose not to evacuate or simply did…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Hurricane Katrina" (2005, September 14) Retrieved October 22, 2016, from

"Hurricane Katrina" 14 September 2005. Web.22 October. 2016. <>

"Hurricane Katrina", 14 September 2005, Accessed.22 October. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Hurricane Katrina

    A large portion of this cost ultimately is borne by the state (Handmer, 2006). Therefore, through rational choice theory, policy was enacted to provide benefit at the lowest cost. For instance, sales taxes were raised, drainage systems were implemented to prevent flooding, building codes were upgraded to prevent excessive property damage, and job training programs were implemented to help spur growth. All of this legislation was enacted through the

  • Hurricane Katrina and Economic Implications Hurricane Katrina

    Hurricane Katrina and Economic Implications Hurricane Katrina and the Economic Implications The events of the incident and the economic backlash The 2005 Hurricane Katrina that ended up encompassing the cities of Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana can be termed as one of the most deadly hurricanes to hit the United States of America and left millions of people in absolutely despair along with serious economic implications for the entire country to cope up with.

  • Hurricane Katrina a Man Made Crisis

    Hurricane Katrina When former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial remarked "The New Orleans we all through we knew is dead," he was speaking about not only 2005 natural mega-storm Hurricane Katrina, but the events and effect the disaster would have on the City of New Orleans that even today still reverberate. The events surrounding the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina offer a winsome and remarkable case study regarding the continuing social divide

  • Hurricane Katrina on August 29th

    Time for Accountability There is definitely a time for accountability; but what isn't fair is to dump on the federal officials and avoid those most responsible -- local and state officials who failed to do their job as the first responders. The plain fact is lives were needlessly lost in New Orleans due to the failure of Louisiana's governor, Kathleen Blanco, and the city's mayor, Ray Nagin (Williams, 2005). The primary responsibility

  • Hurricane Katrina on August 29

    Thousands of personnel from Coast Guard units nationwide rushed to the scene to provide 1,380 Aids to Navigation discrepancies, to assist in 1,129 pollution cases (seven major pollution incidents) and provide help to 1,000 salvage cases including more than 200 grounded vessels. More than 3,900 Coast Guard personnel responded to the disaster. While the FEMA effort stumbled and fell far short of its intended goal, the United States Coast Guard

  • Hurricane Katrina One of the

    The research stated that Because disasters tend to accelerate existing economic, social, and political trends, the large losses in housing, population, and employment after Katrina are likely to persist and, at best, only partly recover. However, the possibility of breaking free of this gloomy trajectory is feasible and has some historical precedent Post-Katrina, there is much that can be done to help not only the city's renewal and revitalization from a

  • Hurricane Katrina Disaster Evaluation Review the Final

    Hurricane Katrina Disaster Evaluation Review the Final Paper instructions in Week 5. Develop a thesis statement and outline, and identify at least five sources you intend to use for the Final Paper. Develop a thesis statement. The thesis statement will be the point or claim you argue or prove in your paper. 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina Disaster Evaluation 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina Disaster Evaluation Hurricane Katrina and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks should never be

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved