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The anatomy of hurricane Katrina

hurricane, hurricane katrina

Every high school student who has paid attention in geography class knows that a hurricane is a tropical storm with strong winds which can reach high speeds of more than 70 miles per hour. The consequences of such a hurricane can sometimes be devastating and it was painfully experienced again in 2005 when hurricane Katrina (or Catrina) hit the US. It is the strongest hurricane known and in late August 2005, it attacked New Orleans. The impact of this natural disaster was catastrophic. It completely flooded New Orleans City which not only causes the sudden and massive evacuation of its citizens, but also the loss of hundreds of lives. According to the last estimates, 1500 became the fatal victims of hurricane Katrina which caused severe damages in five different states.

Hurricane Katrina is also known as the eleventh-named tropical storm. Then it became known as the fourth hurricane. In the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, it became known as the first Category 5 hurricane. It soon became the third most powerful storm of the season, after hurricane Wilma and hurricane Rita. In fact, hurricane Katrina has become known as the sixth strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic basin.

Hurricanes usually caused the most devastation near its eye, but hurricane Katrina also caused devastation far from its eye. It destroyed the levee system that protected New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. It flooded 90,000 square miles of the US which is an area roughly as large as the United Kingdom. Hurricane Katrina can now be identified as the hurricane which caused the most destructive and costliest natural disaster in the history of the USA.

More than 1.2 million people had to be evacuated mostly to neighboring states. Another 1.5 million people were displaced; a crisis not seen in the US since the Great Depression. Estimates of the physical damage range from $ 40 to $120 billion with the most accurate estimate being $75 billion. In addition, hurricane Katrina also left around three million people without electricity. It took some places weeks to restore electricity.

The response after hurricane Katrina caused it most devastating damages was large scale in nature. Various agencies promptly responded including, federal. state and local level agencies. In addition, National Guard soldiers, non-governmental charities, private individuals were also deployed, not only in the affected area, but also in at least 19 other states where temporary shelters were set up. Donations from all over the world poured in breaking the tsunami and 9/11 relief efforts. This was a historic reversal of events because this time the US received aid from other countries instead of the other way around.

The US Senate, in turn, approved $10.5 billion for the victims on September 1, 2005. This measure was approved the next day by the House of Representatives. A week later, on September 7, President Bush requested an additional $51.8 billion which was approved the next day by Congress. Home land Security Secretary Michael Chertoff described the effects of hurricane Katrina as “probably the worst catastrophe, or set of catastrophes in the country’s history.” This statement made on September 3, 2005 reflected hurricane Katrina itself as well as the flooding of New Orleans.
Published: 2007-04-21
Author: Martin Hahn

About the author or the publisher
Martin Hahn PhD has received his education and degrees in Europe in organizational/industrial sociology. He grew up in South-East Asia and moved to Europe to get his tertiary education and gain experience in the fields of scientific research, radio journalism, and management consulting.

After living in Europe for 12 years, he moved to South-East again and has worked for the last 12 years as a management consultant, university lecturer, corporate trainer, and international school administrator

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