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Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath

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From 911 to Hurricane Katrina the United States government has used many of its different resources to help with the aftermath. After every event that causes panic and destruction in the United States there is always someone there to help clean it up, from large companies to the people just wanting to help. When natural disasters and hurricanes strike its takes us to long to get everything taken care of and there are too many losses of life. When it comes down to it, It's not clear if the United States is truly ready for another emergency.

On August 25, 2005 hell struck the southern states of the United States. Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Florida and parts of Alabama were taken over by the massive category 5 hurricane. Hurricane Katrina formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005 and then crossed southern Florida as a moderate Category 1 hurricane, killing some and causing flooding there before growing and strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm weakened before making its second landfall as a Category3 storm on the morning of Monday, August 29 in southeast Louisiana. It caused severe destruction along the Gulf coast from central Florida to Texas, much of it due to the storm surge and then made its way towards New Orleans where the most damage was caused.

As the approaching storm starting growing stronger the citizens of New Orleans we told to evacuate. Many of the citizens did but some stayed. Many of the wealthy and middle class citizens, who had a place to go and money to support them left. The lower class citizens who had no money and nowhere to go, stayed and suffered. As hurricane Katrina mad land fall the destruction started, the winds and the rain were devastating peoples homes became flooded and families were trapped inside of their home and were killed. There were almost 2,000 deaths from the Katrina, hunderds of thousands of people with out homes, water, or food were left on the streets to fight for their lives.

The Super Dome played a huge role in the shelter for the people who needed it most. People fled from their unsafe homes to find a spot in the huge covered football field. Many people where inside of the dome when the storm struck, and many came to it after. When staying in the dome you had what you brought with you, a blanket and a pillow and your family. The bathrooms were overflowing and the air smelt of death. People were pushing and shoving to find a spot to sleep in the crowed unsanitary place. If you were to walk outside of the dome and around the corner you would see the bodies of the men and women who didn't make it and who could not be brought in, many of them had a piece of paper with them stating the names of their family members so that after it was all over they could be buried. People went without food and water for many days, some were stranded on top of their own homes. Cars were under water along with some homes and buildings, many people couldn't swim so that was the death of them.

The flooding came from the breaking of the levees. Why did the levees break? That was the question on everyone's mind. The government should have had the levees in tip top condition, but they did not last very long into the storm. It is believed that because the poor maintaining of the levees most of the things that went under water and were destroyed and killed is the governments fault. That is a questionable statement to make, but the breaking of the levees played a big role in the destruction of New Orleans.

As the hurricane came to an end many people came to the rescue, the first on site were the local police and fire departments, but they were not large enough to deal with the terrible conditions. The Coast Guard arrived soon after and many other small agencies, the rescue and clean up began. As there different groups of people started it was chaos no one knew where to even start. There were people living out of the super dome who needed help but also the people stuck in their homes. As the search and rescue began so did the death toll, house by house they number just went up.

During the time of Hurricane Katrina President George W. Bush was in office. When news of what had happened in southeast states he did not get on Air Force One and fly down to show his country that he was there to help, he took off to another country to do business. It took the President 12 days to make his way down to New Orleans; he never set foot on the ground though. The president overlooked the city from the comfort of his plane. On April 27th 2011 a ramped F5 tornado took over the town of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. President Obama was down there and supporting the efforts within three days. The support that the people of Alabama felt from their President was much greater then the appearance that Bush made in the air.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003. FEMA was established to “support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.” When FEMA was asked about Hurricane Katrina and what it was like down there they layed it all out on the table, they nor was anyone else fully ready to take on what had be done down there. They labeled it a disaster and a disaster is what it all was.

“A disaster, it strikes anytime, anywhere. It takes many forms -- a hurricane, an earthquake, a tornado, a flood, a fire or a hazardous spill, an act of nature or an act of terrorism. It builds over days or weeks, or hits suddenly, without warning. Every year, millions of Americans face disaster, and its terrifying consequences.(FEMA)”

If another emergency was to happen in the United States again the government would have a lot of work to do. When FEMA was added to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security they were thought to be the group that would be able to take care of everything. They are apart of the government she they should have enough money to prepare. At the point we are in with the national debt they money flow to FEMA and all of the other companies in very limited. If and when another emergency happens there is not going to be enough to help feed the people and shelter them.

People living in danger zones should also have a plan for another emergency. Such as where they would go if they needed to leave and extra money would help too. Local police and fire departments need more training and funding. The locals are the first to be there and they have to start with the aftermath and if they are not prepared for it then everything starts to slow down and people are stuck in places they will not survive in.

New Orleans is still not a clean place, many people had to move from there because they were homeless and the United States government has done nothing to help rebuild home for them. Brad Pitt is donating his time and money to build families homes And even the rapper Lil Wayne has donated his money to help rebuild his home town. Still no money from the government to help out the people that need it the most.

When looking at the aftermath of it all and seeing everything that was done and the things that were not done you can see some positive in it. The people of New Orleans have grown stronger and have become more aware of the levees and the problems that come with them. Local police and firefighters have works on new training methods.

When President Obama was asked if we were ready to take on another emergency like Katrina he said “Yes, everyone makes mistakes, but you always get to learn from them.” When the tornado swept through Alabama you could see an improvement in the actions taken by the government. Everything happened so fast, there was a plan and that plan is still in action, there are something's that still need work but the improvements have been made with the timing and the recovery efforts.

Before doing this paper, I got the chance to watch When the Levees Broke. It was an eye opening movie. Just being able to see what the people of New Orleans was going through was un real. People lost the ones they loved and their homes. As a United States citizen I do believe that because part of New Orleans was a very poor mostly black neighborhood that many people had no interest in what the people were going through. But the main point about it is that out government is pending to much of its money overseas taking care of disasters in other countries when our country has still not recovered from our own. Is the government ready to poor their money and help into the next place that needs it. The locals can only do so much they need guidance from the big men, we just need the big men to be there.


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