Natural Disasters in New Orleans Term Paper

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Louis Bay and Biloxi with approximately 12,500 homes sustaining extensive or catastrophic damage. (Moody, 2004) Homes in the New Orleans area were instantly washed away as the dikes in town broke explosively when the storm hit. Those most affected as in South Africa were those living in poverty in very poorly constructed homes.


This brief yet critical assessment conducted in a comparative of South Africa and New Orleans in terms of the future mitigation of the devastation of such events has noted specific facts that must be addressed in these type of areas across the globe which include: (1) Poverty areas exist across the globe in such locations; (2) Housing structural integrity in areas of poverty is known to be poorly constructed and in disrepair; (3) Both government and community initiatives to address the needs of housing in these areas due to potentialities of repeated exposure to natural disaster events are critically needed; and (4) Rebuilding a community requires housing for individuals to reside in therefore saving and rebuilding communities begins with substantial improvement in housing structure.


The Environment Times report by James Kamara states that Indigenous knowledge exists concerning natural disaster reduction in the country of Africa. This knowledge is stated to have a "high degree of acceptability amongst the majority of populations in which it has been preserved." (2004) the reason this is so is because these communities identify quickly and efficiently with scientific concepts of "environmental management including disaster prevention, preparedness response and mitigation." (Kamara, 2004) Indigenous culture makes structural changes proactively in shelter accommodations with "knowledge of storm routes and wind patterns." (Kamara, 2004) Furthermore the knowledge of "local rain corridors enables them to prepare for storms...knowing the color of clouds that carry hailstones enables people to run for cover." (Kamara, 2004) This is noted to have been an applied adaptation to progress made in the Disaster Management Act because of the actions of those applying the law. Application was in the: " the spirit of the law rather than the rule of the law" in meeting commitments of a constitutional nature in what are termed 'Integrated Disaster Plans' as set out in the Municipal Systems Act, 2000 applicable to all policy aspects relevant in the White Paper on Disaster Management (1999) in serving the communities during times of disaster.


It is critically necessary that humanitarian relief efforts focus on a sustainable rebuilding effort for the communities affected by these disasters. Lives are being rebuilt and this should be placed upon a solid foundation in this initiative through first making proactive structural adjustments and in the effort of rebuilding there will not be nearly so much to replace and this is applicable because of the many superstorms to come for not only the Cape of South Africa but other urban places throughout the world that will face such dangers due to changes of the earth's climate at the present time. It is clear that common sense and constitutionally sound methods that can be applied in the spirit of the law are required to respond to such natural disaster events. Just as certain is the need for research addressing proactive structural housing reform for areas such as those in South Africa and New Orleans herein described in mitigation of natural disasters in the future that are just as certain to come with the superstorms resulting from the present changes in the earth's climate.


The Role of Institutions in Reducing Vulnerability to Recurrent Natural Disasters in sustainable livelihoods development: Case Study South-Africa (2005) Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. & United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Provincial Development Council of the Western Cape. Online available at

Disaster Costs in South Africa (2007) Online available at

Kamara, James (2004) Indigenous Knowledge in Natural Disaster Reduction in Africa. The Environment Times. UNEP 2004. Online available at

March 2003 Cut-off Law: Consolidated Report (2003) Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. & United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Provincial Development Council of the Western Cape. Online available at

Moody, Matt (2006) Los Angeles Times. Mississippi Coastal Damage Assessment.$File/lat_TC_usa070905.pdf-OpenElement

World Bank (2005) Mississippi Coastline Report Online available at


Comparative Research on Natural Disasters in New Orleans and South Africa

Excludes SAAF costs

Excludes Plettenberg Bay Municipality

This total includes the removal of trees and debris in various locations

Excludes two factories, Ashton Canning and Tiger Brands, in Ashton[continue]

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