How Government Agencies Responded to Hurricane Katrina and Japan’s Tsunami
Valerie F. Stokes
Instructor Dr. Marion Lee
PAD 525004016 201103
March 18, 2011
This research paper will explore the actions of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and whether they acted fairly and responsively in their reaction time to the flooding in New Orleans and the tsunami flooding disaster in Japan. This paper will also try and determine if the United States Army Corps of Engineers neglected its duties to inspect and repair levees that were breached in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
A qualitative approach will be used to understand why different decisions were made by a ...view middle of the document...
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of New Orleans, Louisiana when it slammed into the city built below sea level. The levees which protected the city from Lake Pontchatrain could not with stand the force and broke apart. The water flooded eighty percent of the city. Residents who didn’t have time or decided not to evacuate spent days on their rooftops, attics and the superdome waiting for state, local and federal help. Assistance from the military arrived September second and third. Federal aid and evacuations started three days after that (Hurricane Katrina, 2008).
The Federal Emergency Management Agency was terribly scrutinized for providing assistance days after the disaster instead of giving immediate aid. Then chief of FEMA Michael Brown was charged with not providing much needed aid quickly enough and he subsequently resigned. Before his resignation, members of congress approached then President Bush and insisted he fire Michael Brown and his reply was “why would I do that” (Dems Blast Bush…, 2005). Why did federal agencies think it necessary to delay assistance to New Orleans? Why did our President find it not a priority to support a territory within its own borders?
Another area of concern was the construction of the levees and the United States Army Corps of Engineers whose jobs were to inspect the levees from time to time to make sure there was nor would be any malfunctions of the levees. The government agency knew years before the storm that the levees could not withstand a major hurricane and neglected to correct the problem. They knew the levees were made with inferior materials and certain destruction would result if the levees were ever breached. Still, no repairs were made. The courts initially found the agency “displayed gross negligence in failing to maintain a navigation channel –resulting in levee breaches that flooded large swaths of greater New Orleans” (Richard Fausset, 2009).
A subsequent court hearing released blame from the United States Army Corps of Engineers and families then laid the responsibility on the contractors hired by the Corps of Engineers.
On March 11, 2011, Japan suffered a devastating earthquake which subsequently produced a tsunami. Before the tsunami hit, the United States immediately began to send aid to Japan by way of the United States Agency for International Development (Vanessa Evans, 2011). Hours after the tsunami hit Japan, President Obama said one aircraft carrier is already in Japan and another is on its way. The President also ordered FEMA to mobilize (MSNBC.COM, 2011). United States ships capable of hospitalizing individuals, providing essential relief and humanitarian efforts where in or on their way to Japan within hours of the natural disaster (CNN, 2011). The United States Department of Defense that occupies Japanese territory were on alert. The assistance was already in place and ready to go into action to offer any humanitarian aid the...