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Social & Economic Impact of Hurricane Katrina

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Essay title: Social & Economic Impact of Hurricane Katrina

In the last century in the United States there have been approximately sixty-five-hundred deaths incurred from hurricanes when taking into consideration only the top twenty deadliest. The numbers are incredibly difficult to verify when trying to account for a cumulative total and become especially staggering if taking into consideration the more than sixteen-hundred lives lost just last year in Hurricane Katrina, which was the second deadliest hurricane known to the United States. (source 5) While death tolls are obviously the worst figures to think about in conjunction with nature’s fury, devastating totals of economic hardship are sad reality and sad when thought is focused on it, between money required for repairing damages and providing proper sustenance to survivors, which may or may not include families of victims. Given nature’s aptitude for the unpredictable, paired with the inevitability of natural disasters such as hurricanes, it should be paramount for the United States government to have quick and plentiful resources for disaster relief. Of course, the key word in the preceding statement is “should.” It should be paramount, but the shortcomings of improper preparations by the government in solidifying the actions of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), would make it seem otherwise.

Of course FEMA can only be held responsible for the care given to survivors, in providing relief for the living, but does not have in hand in any restoration plans or actions. While the hope is that no one person could or would debate the utmost importance in taking no shortcuts in allocating proper funds and means for the relief and support of said survivors, there is a great deal of debate on the other large aspect of a disaster’s aftermath. The debate would be on what is truly appropriate funding for rebuilding and restoring damages incurred. Rather than addressing a broad spectrum, as done in the preceding, it will be easy to focus on such debates in regard to the recent Hurricane Katrina. Katrina formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005, and crossed southern Florida as a moderate Category 1 hurricane before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico and becoming one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Gulf. The storm weakened considerably before making its second landfall as a Category 3 storm on the morning of August 29th in southeast Louisiana. (source 1)

The views on reparation are an integral factor of evaluating the overall sociological impact prevalent from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The basic necessities in reparation were inclusive of the drinking water infrastructure, the sewer infrastructure, the sewage treatment plants; a myriad of sources for electric, health care facilities, schools, and the list is obviously very quantitative. There were large amounts of hazardous materials and industrial discharges to the sewers that had been released along with oil and gas from gasoline stations and waste oils. You had a host of household hazardous materials, pesticides, volatile chemicals; the health risks possible were overwhelming. Not inclusive of what could primarily be categorized as cosmetic restructuring, the estimates of cost for public building and service recovery was 80 to 100 billion dollars and there has already been over 65 billion dollars spent and Congress has actually committed just shy of one-hundred billion dollars . (source 6)

Louisiana’s primary telephone company, BellSouth Corporation, had estimated it would cost 400 to 600 million dollars and take up to twelve months to repair the damage in the hardest-hit areas of New Orleans and the Gulf coast of Mississippi. Getting the electricity restored presented one of the greatest headaches to all operations. The underground system of Entergy, the leading utility company in New Orleans, was designed to survive submerging but, above ground, equipment such as electronic controls and transformers had been damaged. Every building would have to be individually checked with a fine-tooth comb before the electricity was brought back on. (source 3)

The new terrain provides numerous opportunities for unscrupulous insiders and

outsiders to take advantage of the exposure to homes and businesses during a natural

disaster. It is important for all parties to remain calm and focus on several factors important to the meaning of community and its maintenance for the purpose of reestablishing community ties after institutions have failed or trust has diminished. Most applicable to the Hurricane Katrina disaster are the needs to reestablish citizens’ sense of place, along with relating to that space as they did previously; to strengthen social ties with the local and wider communities; to participate in joint action and restore routines; to build a shared common interest and sense of purpose. Although difficult,

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