The occurrence of Hurricane Katrina on August 25, 2005, became the most destructive natural disaster in the history of America. The Hurricane Katrina’s high winds and storm surge resulted to a devastating loss of life and substantial damage on property in Louisiana and Mississippi (Henningfeld, 2010). Within the city of New Orleans a number of branches of the levee system compounded losses. There was significant losses in Alabama too as a result of the Hurricane Katrina.
This paper give a review of how the incident management principles would be applied to the Hurricane Katrina emergency. That is, looking into the measures that would have applied to the emergency with respect to aspects of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery for effective decision making during the disaster.
The mitigation efforts with respect to the occurrence of the Hurricane Katrina was an inevitable aspect in order to ensure that there was prevention of the hazards that could develop into disasters all together or ensure measure that could possibly reduce the effects of the storm when it occurs. This emergency management plan phase of the Katrina could have put long-term measures for elimination and reduction of the risk that such disaster could pose (Larsen, 2013). The federal government, the state’s agencies on emergency operations, non-profit organizations among other key stakeholders in national emergency programs should have ensured that as long as the occurrence was a natural disaster but its impacts could have been reduced. This reduction could have taken the forms:
- Initiating policies to ensure thorough consultation of “Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction” when one builds a home.
- Reinforcing the laminated beams along the ceiling thus enhancing home’s structural integrity and ascertaining the roof’s anchoring capability
- Safe rooms in the middle of the houses, stocked with the emergency essentials.
The occurrence of Hurricane Katrina showed the criticality of the need to put in place a pre-positioning commodities and emergency management personnel(Etats, 2006). The National hurricane Center had tracked the Hurricane Katrina in its course of gaining intensity and had crossed the Gulf of Mexico, and the center issued numerous dire warnings with respect to its severity.
The indication of the Katrina’ track shifting towards southeast New Orleans and Louisiana, where landfall was expected as a Category 4 should have made the storm and storm advisories be monitored by the Hurricane Liaison Team and the National Hurricane Center.
As the storm was being monitored a further tracking of storm and preparations to coordinate the response was to be conducted in the most efficient manner by the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) and the Regional Response Coordination Centers (RRCC). Additionally, the RRCCs, NRCC, and the Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) could have activated all their Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) besides putting into place the Defense Coordinating Officer- which is a military liaison specialized in NRP.
With the emergency condition of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, there was need for responding to the calamity in a life-saving and life sustaining efforts and measures to rescue the victims as argued by Larsen (2013). A further Rapid Need Assessment Groups had to conduct an immediate damage assessment ion the damage areas. A good part of the affected states and areas had bridges and roads destroyed, making water or air the only means that could be used to reach the stranded victims, deploy emergency management response personnel, and undertake initial damage assessments (United States,& United States, 2006).
Read also Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina
The destruction of the communications infrastructure- cell phone, phone lines, satellite and radio antennae, and phone towers significantly had an impact on the ability of the emergency response team to get operational and situational information to the state and the federal personnel beyond the affected areas. This called for acquisition by the emergency response teams, mobile communication gadgets to facilitate the communication process from one end to the other.
There is need by the government and other stakeholders to put primary programs in assistance of the individuals and the different states recover from the effects of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. The households or the individuals needed to receive some money as could be calculated adequate in form of Individual and Household program (IHP) assistance (United States, & Mitigation Assessment Team (United States. Federal Emergency Management Agency), 2006). This program should be rolled in a strategic and systematic manner in which in encompasses a two facets grip of housing assistance and other needs assistance.
The recovery measure of the housing assistance should be 100% federally administered and funded, therein providing assistance for home repairs, temporary rental lodging, and home replacement. The other needs assistance should have been a cost sharing initiative among those agencies I rescue of the situation and the respective states. The program could have encompassed the assistance with the reimbursement of dental and medical costs, transportation, funeral and burial costs, and even personal property items.
The public assistance program could have provided for the supplemental federal disaster grants for the replacement, restoration, or the repair of the disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and those other facilities of particular private non-profit organizations (Etats, 2006). Moreover, the program should ensure reimbursement on eligible emergency related activities, for example removal of debris and emergency protective measures.
Rationale for the approach
The devastating outcome of the Hurricane Katrina on property, people’s lives in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Orleans was unimaginable. There was need for an effective emergency management plan in place to help not necessarily eliminate the disaster but to reduce its impact. This could have majorly utilized the mitigation phase of this research paper. Even though a timely and appropriateness in respect to the preparedness, response and recovery on such a natural disaster would have saved the situation in a greater degree.
The outline mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery measures stipulated in this paper offer a benchmarking framework which if could have been deployed would have saved lives and curbed property destruction. A further reinstatement of the situation and the victims of the storm could have been achieved much faster and promptly with such an emergency management plan in place prior to the incidence.
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