Disaster Management Lessons Learned From Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Management Lessons
The quality of public management can be tested in several situations. It is tested in situations when the financial resources are limited and cannot be used in order to address all the needs of the community in case, it is tested by its effects on the community in comparison with what it is expected from these authorities, but it can also be tested during natural disasters.
These natural disasters do not occur frequently, but their impact is tremendous. Such natural disasters refer to periods with very high temperature in areas where this is unusual, periods with very low temperature, drought, increased levels of all forms of precipitations, hurricanes, and others. Some of these natural disasters cannot be anticipated in time in order to counteract their effects. However, there are strategies that can be developed by the government and other authorities in order to reduce the effects in such situations.
The success of authorities' actions during periods of natural disasters depends on several factors. Their financial resources represent an important factor that can significantly influence authorities' response to such issues (Rojek & Smith, 2007). This is because the workforce involved in addressing such issues must be paid. There are situations where authorities acknowledge the fact that they cannot address these situations as they should because they do not have the resources that are required in order to reach this objective.
In addition to this, the success of such strategies also relies on the specialists that develop them. In other words, the plans developed in order to address situations where communities are confronted with natural disasters are very important.
The thesis statement in this case is that Hurricane Katrina exposed misappropriation of government resources such as law enforcement, evacuation efforts and the lack of readiness in response to a Hurricane disaster. Improvements need to be made in the areas of disaster response efforts such as law enforcement agencies, emergency management and multiagency coordination.
Effects on Public Authorities' Strategy
The effects determined by the hurricane Katrina are numerous and can be observed on several levels. The natural disaster has significantly affected the communities living in the areas traversed by the hurricane. This determined individuals living in these areas to make numerous changes in order to recover after the hurricane. The damages produced to their houses, properties, and others had to be supported also by authorities. This has significantly affected state budgets. Therefore, the effects were observed on individual level, but also on state level.
There are certain categories of individuals that have been affected by the hurricane more than others. This is the case of individuals with reduced access to preventive care. Health services that focus on prevention were not properly managed by state authorities. The problem is that the authorities were not aware of this situation until hurricane Katrina took place.
The benefit of the hurricane is that it brought to light several problems that the public systems are confronted with (Subbarao et al., 2010). In other words, the benefit of such natural disasters is that they test authorities' limits, and that they can identify the problems in their systems. This is useful because it helps develop better systems that can better face other natural disasters or important problems.
Another important finding that the hurricane helped to be made is that the surveillance systems in health authorities are defective. These problems can be observed in the numerous situations where physicians were requested by the New Orleans population in several areas, but their pleas were not answered in the way they needed. In other words, the doctors that were needed in these areas did not return for assistance. This has significantly affected the health situation of individuals affected by the hurricane.
In addition to the individuals that required doctors because they were affected by the hurricane, there were also numerous patients with chronic diseases or long-term recovery needs. It is obvious that such patients required around the clock access to medical care. The hurricane's effects made it difficult to identify these people and their address. It was even more difficult to provide them the medical care they required.
Therefore, the access and availability to medical care for people in need was affected by authorities' reaction to the hurricane. This also refers to the prevention measures that these authorities should have taken. In other words, the authorities should have anticipated the difficulties that natural disasters can produce. It is not uncommon for hurricanes this size to traverse New Orleans other regions in the area. This means that the authorities in these states should have made prevention plans that could significantly reduce the effects of the hurricane.
There are several issues that the authorities should have addressed when developing such plans. In the initial step of developing a natural disasters strategy, the authorities should have consulted public and private organizations that focus on studying the phenomena that can take place in such areas. Their effects should have been identified in order to determine how they can be reduced.
In addition to this, the authorities could have identified the problems emerged in their systems. Based on their findings, they could have improved these systems. The hurricane has identified these problems. But this was not necessary. The authorities should have made simulations of several natural disasters. This is intended to help identify such breaches that can lead to important problems.
However, there are certain effects of hurricanes that cannot be anticipated. In such situations, authorities must improve their planning, improve the efficiency of evacuation, and improve access to health care. These objectives can be reached by developing strategies before such situation that can be applied during such periods.
The analysis of hurricane Katrina's affects has determined the fact that such natural disasters can increase the prevalence of anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and others. Therefore, it is important that the authorities focus on prevention, but also on monitoring the efforts made on helping people recover, and on their progress. This is because it is difficult to determine the health situation of people with such disorders that can have unusual evolution.
In order to determine how the authorities handled the effects of the hurricane, it is important to focus on the categories of individuals that have been most affected by it. Older adults represent the category of New Orleans individuals that was mostly affected by hurricane Katrina. They also represent an important percentage of inhabitants in this area.
The effects on this category are more important in comparison with other categories of individuals because most of them are poor, vulnerable, and have difficult accessing the medical care they need (Campbell, 2008). People in this category usually suffer from several diseases. Therefore, in such cases access to medication and medical care is very important. The hurricane Katrina made it difficult for these people to benefit from minimum conditions they require in order to maintain at least a lower health standard.
Much of the data that authorities had on these individuals was destroyed by the flood. Therefore, the authorities did not even know how many were the older adults in need, where they were located, and what they required. The problem with these individuals is also that many of them have decided to return to the area affected by the hurricane.
They had to live in tents, trailers, or the crowd small apartments with other people. Such living conditions can be damaging to their health. Therefore, although some of them survived the hurricane and the period that followed, their health situation has been significantly affected by the hurricane.
This issue here is that authorities do not have a real situation on these people. In other words, they do not know who they are, where they currently live, and what their health situation is. This makes it difficult for authorities to try to improve these individuals' conditions.
However, in order to benefit from the wisdom the hurricane has brought, the authorities should develop systems that allow them not to lose important data on these individuals. This is an important factor that can help authorities. This is because if they do not know who needs help, they cannot offer it.
Another issue that authorities must address in their attempt to improve their response to natural disasters is represented by their triage strategy. Triage means prioritizing. It seems that the authorities were not able to prioritize many of the actions they had to perform during the Katrina hurricane. This is because the evacuations of individuals in the areas affected by the hurricane did not take place based on strategic planning.
It seems that the evacuations were made fast, but not necessarily efficiently. This is because categories of individuals that should have been evacuated first did not benefit from this. This situation can be attributed to the fact that the authorities wanted the public to see that they react fast. But the problem is that they reacted too fast in the case…