Social Issues / Social &Amp; Economic Impact Of Hurricane Katrina
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Autor: anton 05 March 2011
Words: 1730 | Pages: 7
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 natureâ€™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 natureâ€™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 â€œshould.â€ 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 disasterâ€™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)
Louisianaâ€™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 citizensâ€™ 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, through interaction, New Orleans and the surrounding communities can prevent a social disaster by preserving the social bonds that formally and informally link the people and the community in the complex knit of the social fabric ultimately embedded in the landscape
of the region. (source 7)
Political leadership was critical to the call for community organizations to map and execute plans to support people from the storm-impacted areas. Specifically noted has been the number of church communities that had been providing financial and other tangible support such as holding rallies and donating the use of church buildings. Many community members expressed a renewal of community spirit and community pride. (source 2) Such strong sentiment is undoubtedly spurred in different people by different things. Rather than every resident that resembles such noted upcoming being driven solely for the love and grief for the destruction, there is definitely a degree of humble retaliation behind the efforts. With the mix of world religions distinct in that area of the country, there are plenty of people wanting to prove to the naysayer that with the good will and the strength of God, all is possible and one or many can endure the worst. Or maybe another religion would be more on the other side of the spectrum, to try and be a smack in the faces of Ioa (the primarily Haitian term for the Gods). (source 4)
It does not matter what a personâ€™s religious or social background may consist of and there truly is little decimation in the mix if a personâ€™s draw to competition is high when identifying what is now a primal distaste in being privy to the words â€œI told you so.â€ It is however crucial that people, at least some of the time, throw emotion to the wind and focus on science and facts. The probability of a repeated occurrence, with no regard to level of impact, is very high. One wise decision would be to skip restoration on areas with the highest probability and just build up other areas that were not effected so tremendously and simply give in to relocation. (source 7) By keeping the areas open, it will first and foremost save money because once the area is hit again, the restoration would have gone to complete waste when funds could have been used in other areas that could continue to thrive and in essence, over a period of time, pay for the investment.
Since light was earlier shed on human instinct, it is only fair to do the same with another instinct, namely, a directive to prosper. To rebuild is to start from the ground up and overall progress is severely stifled, so expanding to that which already exists provides much more prosperity. Again, the open area would provide even more opportunity for solidifying a levee system that would provide an adequate protection of even up to a Category 5 hurricane, built to withstand over 150 mile per hour winds and resistance to 18 foot high flood waters. Itâ€™s more than just the modern ideal of wanting things bigger and better when making requests or demands such as this.
Engineers, scientists and others had warned for decades that the city of New Orleans, lying below sea level and protected from the surrounding water by an inadequate levee system, was not safeguarded from a category four or five hurricane. With global warming increasing the number of such hurricanes, it was inevitable that the region would eventually be struck, and there have been several close calls over the past decade. But no preparations were made. None of the measures required to protect the city and the entire region were implemented, even though doing so would have cost a fraction of the outlays required to address, even in the most basic form, the devastation caused by Katrina and the government's failure to respond. Nothing was done because over the past several decades the American ruling class, under administrations of both political parties, has sought to systematically cut all social spending, including spending on public infrastructure. Bound up with deregulation, privatization and the dismantling of social programs, this policy was designed to enrich a tiny minority of the population at the expense of the American people as a whole. In this, it has succeeded to the point where the United States is the most socially polarized of all the major industrialized countries.
There was an initial need for strong governmental support, specifically in terms of moral support and to a degree it was provided. However, it is time to put that aside on for everyone to rely on their own self and strengthen in sense of community to accomplish unmet goals. While many people do derive strength and a sense of worth from religiously-related ideals, the folly comes when those ideals are used as a scapegoat. President Bush is very much guilty of this. It was evident in prior fights he had waged, to pull religious reasoning into striving for uncivil actions and regulations to be put on even something as feeble as a personâ€™s sexual preference. Hurricane Katrina has laid bare the ugly face of American capitalist society, the enormous social inequality, the impoverishment of broad sections of the population, and the looting of society. These are the realities that invocations of God and religion were meant to obscure. To the hundreds of thousands of people who have been affected by the hurricane and the millions more who have looked on with shock and horror, Bush is saying: Do not look to society and politics for the cause, or the solution, to your problems. Do not look to me and the interests I represent for an explanation, let alone restitution; just rely on God.
1 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina
2 - http://www.sc.edu/katrinacrisis/billingsley_motes.shtml
3 - http://phone.ioerror.us/2005/10/bellsouth-well-be-there-to-rebuild-new-orleans
4 - http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/43a/018.html
5 - http://www.firstgov.gov/Citizen/Topics/PublicSafety/Hurricane_Katrina_Recovery.shtml
6 - http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RS22238.pdf
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