The Katrina Hurricane disaster is an experience for which it seemed that the United States government was ill prepared. According to analysts, New Orleans was never equipped with any disaster preparedness strategies to combat a hurricane much more one of the Katrina magnitude. This was a known irregularity, but public health and government officials took no time to address these issues. For example, it was further reported that the infrastructure on which New Orleans was built was incapable of withstanding high wind more less a hurricane (Beriwal, 2005).
The city was built on delta marsh. More importantly less than half of the city has sunk below sea level. This has made the area more vulnerable to destruction by tornados and hurricanes. Reports have since been fueled to the press indicating that in the new Orleans situation, one of the most significant planning failures was that there was no disaster plan to address effects of a levee breach should mass flooding occur. A typical hurricane plan would embody a strategy for disaster relief personnel to access the state through overland routes (Federal Emergency Management, 2014).
New Orleans had no mass flooding and isolation disaster preparedness plan. At the last minute a strategy was retrieved from books, which obviously did not work. Failures emerged from relief personnel inaccessibility to regions where people needed relief. These relief personnel travelled on trucks, which could not traverse pathways that were never travelled by trucks before. Besides, flooding prevented them from getting very far into retrieve persons/place already under water (Beriwal, 2005).
Counter arguments were that there was a plan. However, had there been a mass flooding plan it would have been executed immediately after the hurricane impact was realized. Precisely, there were no heavy-lift helicopters to replace the regular traditional truck-born hurricane relief forces. Previous assessment and planning would have prepared alternative transportation for relief personnel to access the state (McGreal, 2010).
Beriwal, M. (2005). Hurricanes Pam and Katrina: A Lesson in Disaster Planning. Natural
Federal Emergency Management Agency (2014). Disaster preparedness. Retrieved on March,
18th 2014 from http://www.fema.gov/
McGreal, Chris (November 8, 2010). Decision Points: Katrina Response was 'flawed', but I
Wasn't to Blame: Bush. London: The Guardian Press.
Part 11: Week 7 - El paso, Texa (fortt bliss)
Examine your state's emergency preparedness rankings. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your state according to the 10 criteria, and why you feel your state is prepared or unprepared.
The trust for America embarked on a criteria emergency preparedness scale that, offers guidelines towards state becoming equipped to face emergencies. They include funding commitment; community resiliency; response readiness; emergency management; infectious disease control and vaccination (whooping cough); health system preparedness; infectious disease control (flu); public health laboratories staffing and surge capacity; extreme weather event preparedness and public health laboratories chemical preparedness (Amed News, 2014).
Since the adoption of these 10 criteria Maryland; Mississippi; North Carolina; Vermont and Wisconsin have met 8 of them are ahead of the other states in the country. As it pertains to Texas, the greatest strength lies in its infectious disease control program. However, the other significant criteria have not been met minimal and in some cases at all. Weakest areas are funding commitment; emergency management; extreme weather event preparedness and public health staffing and surge capacity. The overall rating stands at 5, which denotes unpreparedness (Amed News, 2014).
Fort Bliss is an army fort headquartered in El PasoTexas. It is United States of America Largest installation and maneuver areas, which is located amidst expanse of 1, 700 square miles of white sand. Since this is a military base and soldiers along with civilians ought to be protected against diseases meeting this criteria seems the focus of emergency management. Sick soldiers cannot train neither go to battle. However, funding ought to be increased in providing better infrastructure in cases of weather disruptions such as tornadoes and hurricanes (Mangan, 2001).
A plan could encompass designing a committee of stakeholders. These would be army officials; Texas governor; business owners and public health personnel within the community. They will be briefed about conditions the community which are hazardous should a disaster strike. From a public health perspective this committee will ensure that appropriate infrastructure is built whereby residents could be relocated before tragedies occur.
The first strategy is to increase public health awareness in the community. Army official ought to realize that the safety of soldiers in just as important as other citizens in the country. One lesson from New Orleans is that appropriate access to people must be created. There must be more than one. It would appear that due to limited funding authorities cannot fulfill the other five dimensions embodied in the criteria system. There is a large expanse of sand which could pose an environmental threat related to weather. Heavy rainfalls could shift the sand and erosion. Therefore, public health should forge army officials to strengthen the extreme weather preparedness facilities in the state.
Texas is one of the largest states in United States of America and there are civilians living there who must be adequately protected from any type of disaster. According to the 2001 census reports there are approximately 8,264 people with 1,527 households and 1,444 families. Eighty percent of these households have children under the age of 18 years old living on this post. They deserve better protection (US Census, 2010).. Therefore, Texas governor should be made aware of Texas preparedness criteria ratings. Army officials must approach their administration to update budget spending towards emergency preparedness, especially for families residing in El paso, Texas (fortt bliss).
Amed News (2014). How prepared is your state? Retrieved on March 18th, 2014 from
Mangan, F. (2001). El Paso in Pictures. Texas A&M Press
United States Census (2010). Texas. US census bureau.