Galveston Hurricane of 1900
This hurricane hit the city of Galveston, Texan on September 8, 1900 (Simpson, 2003). It was a category 4 storm, and it is widely considered to be the deadliest hurricane in U.S history. The storm claimed about 8,000 casualties and leveled the city of Texas. The main cause of the hurricane is unknown due to limited observation ability during the 19th Century. The storm was first sighted on august 27 east of the Windward Islands. By august 30, the storm had passed through the Leeward Islands. Antigua reported a severe storm three days later. By September 7, heavy damage was reported along the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi. The Galveston Weather Bureau office warned that a hurricane was likely to hit the town. On the afternoon of September 8, there was a steady northeast wind that had picked up, and the office was recording sustained hurricane winds (Simpson, 2003). The town was destroyed with its costs estimated at $99.4 billion.
This was a small but ferocious hurricane that affected northwest Bahamas, southern Florida and south-central Louisiana between august 16 and august 28, 1992 (Simpson, 2003). The damage of this storm was estimated to be $25 billion. The number of deaths a result of the hurricane was twenty six. However, additional loss of lives caused indirectly brought the death toll to sixty five.
The Galveston Weather Bureau office received warnings from Washington office as early as September 4 that a tropical storm was looming as it had moved northward over Cuba. However, the Bureau office did not have any means of determining the position of the storm or its destination. The office could also not use the term hurricane to avoid panicking by the members of the public. The forecasters believed the storm would travel northeast to Florida and exit into the Atlantic. Thus, few people evacuated Galveston as many people were unconcerned by the rain clouds. Thus, the city was caught unprepared to deal with such a high disaster, resulting in the high number of deaths.
The main reason why the number of deaths after hurricane Andrew was low compared to Galveston hurricane was down to a good disaster management and preparedness (Simpson, 2003). Before the hurricane hit Bahamas, weather forecasters had predicted a storm. There were warnings to the residents to experience a hurricane. Hence, the early warnings were credited with the low number of casualties. In Florida, evacuations in about nine counties were ordered. In total, around 1.2 million people were evacuated, hence the low number of fatalities.
One of the best changes to natural disaster preparedness is the issuing of warning. The residents are warned to expect hurricane, not unlike in 1900 when the authorities feared causing panic; hence the failure to warn the people. In 1900, there were no evacuations for the predicted areas and the result was massive loss of lives. Therefore, evacuation from the affected areas before the hurricane arrives plays a significant role in reducing the number of casualties.
Implementation of the legislature will be crucial in mitigating risks involving emergency agencies. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s early-warning systems help save lives during disasters (Leatherman & Williams, 2008). This system is crucial is assessing risk from natural disasters. It is also responsible for issuing disaster messages that may cause damage to people and property. Thus, the people are warned earlier which reduces the cost of the disaster as people will be evacuated and other measures taken to reduce damage to property.
Future of Hurricane Disaster Response and Recovery Efforts
The federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for addressing the preparedness of the nation in case of a natural disaster. It is a department of the United States Homeland Security. Its purpose is to coordinate disaster response that has occurred in the U.S which has overwhelmed the local and state authorities. It is also responsible for a program that identifies risk before a disaster to reduce injuries and loss of property and reduce the recovery time. FEMA has major programs for floods, hurricanes and earthquakes. It also maintains teams of qualified in emergency fields. These include Mobile Emergency Resource Support (MERS), Disaster Mortuary Operations Response Team (DMORT), National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), among others.
In the future, the government and emergency recovery agencies should consider the use of technology in disaster management (Lohrmann). Technology can be used to prepare and recovery after a disaster. Websites can be used to access information on disaster preparedness. FEMA maintains a quick tips checklist to assess whether one is ready for such disasters.
The National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service are using advanced technologies to understand hurricanes and their impacts. FEMA has gone a step ahead and built an application that will work even when the mobile network has been destroyed after a hurricane. This application enables s people to access information on their devices.
The government is not left behind in improving natural disaster management. The office of Public safety is activating emergency centers and shelters. This enables the government to issues warnings and in implementing its preparation, evacuation and recovery plans after a disaster. Therefore, technology can be of considerable use in fighting the negative impacts of hurricanes and help the authorities and the people to prepare for a hurricane.
Leatherman, S. P., & Williams, J. (2008). Hurricanes: Causes, effects, and the future. Minneapolis, MN: MBI Pub. Co.
Lohrmann, D. (n.d.). Hurricane Irene: Using Technology to Prepare and Clean Up. Government Technology: State & Local Government News Articles. Retrieved October 12, 2012, from http://www.govtech.com/blogs/lohrmann-on-infrastructure/Hurricane-Irene-Using-Technology-082711.html.
Simpson, R. (2003). Hurricane!: Coping with disaster. Washington D.C: American Geophysical Union.