Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters to hit the United States. No storm in history did more property damage and nearly two thousand people were killed. Of course when something like that happens there are going to be a lot of questions asked about what went wrong. The political consequences of Hurricane Katrina where pretty serious, although in the end they mainly resulted in a lot of finger pointing. Nevertheless some politicians did suffer as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
For the most part the political consequences of Hurricane Katrina involved a lot of criticism and finger pointing. There was a lot of blame to go around so everybody started to look for a scapegoat to take the blame for the damage that was done. Most of the blame for fell on Michael Brown the director of FEMA. He was the only top official to actually lose his job as a result of Hurricane Katrina. FEMA was heavily criticized for being too slow to respond and in some cases was actually accused of slowing down rescue operations. Although most people agree that FEMA did a poor job of responding to Katrina there is also a feeling that Michael Brown took the blame for a lot of the failures of other people and other agencies.
The other person to take a great deal of criticism for the response to Katrina was the former President of The United States, George W. Bush. The main criticism was that he was not putting enough of an effort or enough resources into the rescue effort. There was also a lot of criticism of the Department of Homeland Security for the amount of damage that was done. Making sure that the levees around New Orleans was a part of their responsibility. The belief was that they had focused so many of their resources on the threat of terrorism that they ignored other threats to the country.
Also open to criticism was the local government of New Orleans. The main issue there was the failure to issue an evacuation order until it was too late. The meteorologists had predicted that the hurricane would hit New Orleans directly several days ahead of time. However because hurricanes often change direction city officials delayed issuing an evacuation order until they were sure that the storm would hit New Orleans. By this time it was far too late for most people to get out of town. When the evacuation did finally occur it was very disorganized, something that local officials were also criticized for.
Complicating the issue were the claims that the government’s response to Katrina was motivated by race and class issues. Most of the residents of New Orleans are black and or poor, the feeling was that the government wasn’t as concerned with their well being as they would have been if it had been white or wealthy citizens who had been affected. This led to a great deal more criticism of the government.