Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst storms and one of the worst natural disasters to hit the United States. In terms of property damage it was the worst storm of all time. Nearly two thousand people died as the result of Hurricane Katrina making it the worst storm in terms of number of deaths to hit the US in over eight decades. Most of the damage from the storm occurred in New Orleans, although a large area of the Gulf coast suffered damage.
Hurricane Katrina actually started out as a fairly small tropical storm that didn’t seem particularly menacing. However when it reached the Gulf of Mexico it strengthened very quickly to become a category five storm, the most severe category that there is. As it moved over land it weakened to become a category three storm but the damage it did was enormous. Most of the damage was done to New Orleans where the city became flooded because the levees that protected it failed. There was extensive damage to many other areas of the Gulf coast as well but New Orleans was by far the hardest hit. As one of the most destructive storms to hit the United States there were a lot of questions to be answered about what went wrong. There were also serious concerns about the response to the hurricane by the government.
A large part of the reason that so many people died as a result of Hurricane Katrina is that the evacuation order was given far too late for most people to get out of town. Meteorologists had a good track on the storm and provided several days warning that Katrina was likely to hit New Orleans. Unfortunately because hurricanes change direction fairly frequently it often leads to evacuation orders being given only for the storm to change direction. Not wanting this to happen again the local authorities delayed on making the decision to issue an evacuation order. By the time they finally made one it was too late and most people ended up trapped in the city. The local authorities would be heavily criticized for this failure.
The other great criticism to come out of Hurricane Katrina was for the federal government, particularly the Department of Homeland Security. One of their jobs was to make sure that the levees were safe and sufficient to handle the job which the clearly weren’t. It was also their job to organize the response to the disaster. Most people feel they did a very poor job of this as well. The criticism also extended to President Bush who most people felt didn’t put enough of an effort into the recovery effort. Even know five years afterwards there is a long way to go for the city of New Orleans to recover from the disaster. There are still many buildings that need to be rebuilt and a large percentage of the population still haven’t been able to return.