New Orleans - Hurricane Katrina


On August 28th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the eastern coast of New Orleans in United States. By August 31st, 2005, 80% of New Orleans was flooded with some parts under 15 feet (4.5 m) of water. More than 1,800 people lost their lives, and more than $81 billion dollars in damages occurred.
Hurricane Katrina was the sixth strongest recorded Atlantic hurricanes ever, and was amongst the five deadliest hurricanes that ever occurred in the US history.


Before the Katrina attack,

Max Mayfield, the director of the National Hurricane Center, telephoned New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin, on the night of August 27th to express his extreme concern, and on the morning of August 28th, made a video call to U.S. President, George W. Bush, about the severity of the storm. Many New Orleans residents secured their belongings and prepared for evacuation immediately as Mayor Nagin issued the first ever mandatory evacuation of New Orleans.
About 1 million people managed to flee New Orleans and its surrounding suburbs by the second hit of Katrina the next morning.

After the Katrina attack,
  • Many telephones, including most cell phones, and Internet access were not working due to line breakages, destruction of base stations, and power failures, and all local television stations were disrupted. This made coordination of rescue and the telecasting of the disaster difficult.
  • Most of the major roads traveling into and out of the city were damaged and this toughened rescue efforts. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport was closed before the Katrina attack but was reopened for rescue work because there was no flooding in airplane movement areas and inside the building itself. The renowned Superdome was no longer safe for the people seeking shelter in it too.
  • The levee system built by the US Army Corps of Engineers was severed damaged by Katrina and it was said to be the worst engineering disaster in US history. The US Army Corps of Engineers admitted that faulty design specifications, incomplete sections, and substandard construction of levee segments, contributed to the damage done to New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and two thirds of the flooding in the city would have been avoided if the levees held.
  • Death toll of 1,836 was resulted and dead bodies were found everywhere in the city; most survivals lost their loved ones.
  • Toll on America’s economy (E.g. New Orleans was pro active in oil refining and this form of income for America ceased periodically after the Katrina attack).
  • Unstable homes, unclean water and insufficient food for the survivals as it took time to repair the damage.
  • Increased crime rates as survivals looted to fight for necessities and non-necessities.
  • International criticism on US’ lack of leadership to minimise the impacts of Katrina and mismanagement regarding the relief efforts of the attack.


  • Non-governmental organizations like the American Red Cross rendered financial aid and helped raised US$4.25 billion to help the victims.
  • US Army Corps of Engineers proceeded with the reconstruction of levees, with new considerations of the new levees locations and further modification to be made.

a natural disaster could happen anytime and anywhere. It could possibly happen just where we live tomorrow. Hence, it is very important for the government to always take precautions and ensure the national facilities are working in good conditions so as to defend the country with preparedness when need be and the citizens should also be prepared to stay united in terms of a crisis. This is all we can control and we should make good use of this abilityto do so and this would minimize the impacts of a natural disaster.

By Cheryl Mun (10S01)

1 comment:

Eliza Isa said...

Although Hurricane Katrina was the sixth strongest recorded Atlantic hurricanes ever, I believed that the damage it had caused could have been minimized had we, humans, taken care of our environment, specifically the mangrove forests.

In places like New Orleans, mangrove forests are key parts of the coastal ecosystem. One of the most important benefits of a heavily treed coastline is that the trees serve as buffers for the storm surge associated with hurricanes or tsunamis since their huge roots systems dissipate wave action. Mangrove forests stabilize the coastline, reducing erosion from storm surges, currents, waves and tides. However, as we learned after the tsunami a few years ago, many coastal areas in the tropics no longer feature mangrove forests: the trees have all been cut down in many coastal areas. Removing mangroves removes the first line of defense against hurricanes. Therefore, instead of destroying mangrove forests around the coastline for more physical space or natural resources, we should expand them.

I do agree that the government has a huge role to play in by taking precautions and ensuring that national facilities are in good order. However, the main thing still boils down to us taking care of our environment.

Puah Li Lin 10S16