Hurricane Katrina is one of the worst disasters ever to hit the Americas. Though the country is endowed with much resources and great technological devices, yet it appeared as if the disaster got the nation by surprise. The response units seemed uncoordinated (Roth and Levine Para 2) while the rescue units took too long to respond to the disaster. Using the critical thinking approach, I could have taken a different approach to the disaster. This would be informed by the application of the analysis, assessment, and reconstruction of the problem (Critical Thinking Organization Para 2). Below is a description of the perspective I would have taken to the problem.
My response would have started way before the tragedy hit. As information has it, there were quiet a number of short-comings with regard to the disaster management department. For instance, Roth and Levine (Para 5) indicates that a levees in New Orleans had been breached. Furthermore, the Homeland Security Secretary admitted that the department did not have all the necessary gear to deal with the disaster that hit the nation. This is an indication of poor planning. Since the nation is prone to such disasters as the hurricane, my proactive measures would have started way before the disaster. The idea would have been to make sure that the disaster management teams had state-of-the-art equipment to respond to such a disaster. Furthermore, I would have made sure that all protective features, such as the levees, were in standard condition to help in curbing disastrous effects.
Having taken care of the protective measures, I would have taken a different approach to handling the disaster itself once it struck. First of all, I would have taken a proactive rather than a reactive approach to the problem. As it stands, Michael Chertoff, the former Homeland Security Secretary, admitted that too much time was taken before responding to the problem(Walters and Donald, Para.3). The response time was 36 hours after the tragedy hit as opposed to the ideal 2 days before the disaster landed (Roth and Levine Para 5). This indicates that there was a serious misgiving about the problem or its severity. As such, by taking a critical look at the warnings and the information flowing in concerning the disaster, I would have taken a proactive approach. Acting about 2 days before time could at least have helped in saving more lives.
Another area that was found to be wanting is with regard to the handling of information with regard to the pending disaster. As Fox News (Para 1) indicates, the weather department had already given a lot of information with regard to the pending disaster. Furthermore, constant updates were given with regard to the progress of the storm as it increased in power and scale from a Category 2 to Category 4. By the time the storm hit New Orleans, it would have been expected that the people would have already been evacuated. Nevertheless, thousands of people lost their lives in this region.
Looking at this disaster, I would have taken a totally different approach to the issue. I would have made sure that the updates from the weather forecast were acted upon. All the people in the areas ear-marked to be hit by the disaster should have been evacuated. This evacuation should have been on a mandatory basis. The main idea behind this move would have been to save as much lives as possible.
After taking into account all the pro-active measures that could have helped to save lives, the next step would have been to reduce the damages on property. Of course, it was obvious that with such a disaster in sight, a lot of property could have been lost. However, a closer analysis reveals that quite a lot of property was also lost to looting (Fox News Para 12). In order to prevent such an occurrence where some individuals thrive on the misfortunes of others, I would have put in tight security measures. As it stands, security was sent in after the problems were realized. This reactive strategy could have cost a lot. Therefore, by deploying security in due time, much looting and stealing of property could have been prevented to a considerable degree of success.
Based on the above analysis, it is evident that the loss of lives and damages on property witnessed during the hurricane Katrina can be attributed to poor disaster management and response strategies. The reactive manner in which the problem was approached could have played a major role in aggravating the loss of lives and property. Armed with this information and with a critical eye on the issue, a different approach could have gone a long way in preventing adverse effects from the disaster. As described above, I could have taken a proactive approach in handling the issue. This goes for the disaster preparedness as well as the actual response to the problem. I would have prioritized the approach such that saving lives took the upper hand while safeguarding property came second.
Critical Thinking Organization. “Our Concept and Definition of Critical Thinking.” Criticalthinking.org, 2013. Web. 10th Jan. 2014, http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/our-concept-and-definition-of-critical-thinking/411
Fox News. “Fast Facts: Hurricane Katrina Timeline.” Foxnews.com, Sept. 03, 2005. Web. 10th Jan. 2014, http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/09/03/fast-facts-hurricane-katrina-timeline/
Roth, Bennett, & Levine, Samantha. “Chertoff Admits Katrina Mistakes.” Houston Chronicle, Feb.16, 2006. Web. 10th Jan. 2014, http://www.chron.com/news/hurricanes/article/Chertoff-admits-Katrina-mistakes-1506698.php
Walters, Jonathan, & Kettl, Donald. “Katrina Breakdown.” Governing Outlook, Dec.16, 2005. Web. 10th Jan. 2014, http://www.governing.com/topics/economic-dev/The-Katrina-Breakdown.html