Hurricane Katrina Case Study

Hurricane Katrina Case Study



Question 1


The case presented is an analysis of the events that happened before and after the hurricane Katrina. There are various perspectives given by people who were involved regarding the events that occurred. Among the perspectives given, the one that I find as being most persuasive is by the then Secretary of environmental quality in Louisiana, Martha Madden. According to Martha, a disaster is something that is always obvious and FEMA had known about the same for twenty years. Thousands of dollars had been spent to conduct studies in the United States and also in identifying contingency measures. Therefore, the level of preparedness should have been better ( With the estimate that had been made for the disaster, those involved in planning predicted that the hurricane was likely to overpower the levees, what they did not know is that they were actually going to get breached. With this in mind, the Army Corps should have had appropriate responses for an emergency.


The perspective that if I find being least persuasive is the one given by Marc Landy who stated that hurricane Katrina was a “mega-disaster” and such an even only put the federal government in a huge test because of the coordination that was required. I find this being least persuasive because it brings the rationale that there would have been different experiences if the local residents evacuated when they were told to do so. This could be the truth; however, the population in the area did not have the capacity to do so. Most of them were disabled and with very low income. The disaster occurred when most of them were waiting for their checks. Without the checks, they had no means to evacuate from the region (The United States, 2015). The solution would have been to provide them with the means to do so.




Question 2


In the case presented, there are efficiency and management arguments that have been given, some of which support the idea of having a centralized system of response to disasters such as hurricane Katrina while other arguments are against the same. The argument given that supports centralization in response to a disaster such as a hurricane Katrina indicates that the response involved very many agencies and this complicated issues. There were fourteen agencies that required coordination from the federal government and there were also local and state authorities that were involved. The then mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin complained about the involvement of very many “cooks” in the response (Rodríguez, Quarantelli, and Dynes, 2014). When the response is widely spread, every person may want to give their ideas and to have their way followed. This may take so much time, thus delaying the response and resulting in very hazardous effects.


One argument that is against a centralized response is by Terry Ebbert. Terry who was then the director for New Orleans in the department of homeland security feels that the response should have been widely spread among different officials. Federal officials should have all been involved in the response, which is a very important aspect when it comes to disaster planning (Etats-Unis, 2016). Every person makes his or her efforts in the position that one is in involved in and this reduces the burden for the local government. This is how any disaster should be handled. Centralizing response to disasters such as Katrina is a very high risk. This is because of the much time that is taken due to the bureaucracies involved.








Etats-Unis. (2016). The Federal response to hurricane Katrina: Lessons learned, February     2006. Washington: Government Printing Office.


Rodríguez, H., Quarantelli, E. L., & Dynes, R. R. (2014). Handbook of disaster research.     New York: Springer.


The United States. (2015). Hurricane Katrina response. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Homeland     Security, Immigration, and Customs Enforcement.    levee-failure.html. Retrieved February 10, 2017.


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