Revisiting the Worst Hurricane Disaster
Hurricane Katrina was the worst hurricane disaster in U.S. history as measured by total damage to property and persons. This hurricane costs the U.S. $108 billion dollars to repair the total destruction of property in the southeastern region. Those who lost their homes and property had to wait years for insurance settlements to feel the full recovery.
Putting money aside, the grief of the hurricane’s damage was unrepairable. The memories of looting, suicide, burglaries, death of loved ones, starvation, and societal chaos left the citizens of Louisiana and Mississippi a psychological scar. This disaster emergency showed U.S. citizens and the world that local political leaders and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are NOT 100% ready for a major national disaster and emergency.
Similar to the greek-like mythological figure called “mother earth,” all of us have a sense or belief that someone or some cloud is hovering over us to protect us from harm. In some ways this is true and in some ways it is false. The belief that Father FEMA or “Uncle Sam” is here to protect us is a false belief system that has been tested and failed. In the case of Hurricane Katrina, FEMA was prepared to help the citizens but preparation for the magnitude of the disaster was very underestimated.
Local politicians within distance of the disaster voiced their opinion and were seen nervously shaking as citizens were homeless, hungry, and without clean water. Shelter was a major obstacle to overcome as citizens moved into what is now the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. What is a football stadium was a home for thousands of people.
FEMA and other organizations did a great job in handing out supply bags to citizens such as toothpaste, brushes, water bottles, and some rations. However, in the short term, these “comfort bags” did not sooth the swell of citizen discomfort. Some of the Louisiana citizens were seen eating the toothpaste from these bags for nutritional value. Military personnel and officers were sent to Louisiana to restore order and killed several citizens. Snipers were seen shooting in certain locations to prevent further hostilities.
In a matter of a week, the citizens of Louisiana and the surrounding area knew how fragile life can be. One day you are enjoying life and the next day you are fighting for survival. There were only about 1,800 deaths in this disaster. However, this statistic does not count the injuries, rapes, physical harm, and poverty hurricane Katrina caused. Those with families caught in the hurricane relief effort would agree that there is NO father FEMA.
What We Can Learn
We can learn a lot from this disaster. One is that citizens all over the world are not educated or prepared for an emergency. If the Louisiana citizens were properly educated and prepared, they would have had plenty of food, water, and would have occupied shelter in another state until order was restored. The S.A.D. principal could have been implemented. If you are not aware of the S.A.D. principal you can see the page under Survival 101 on our website. S.A.D. stands for:
- Secure Vital Resources
- Assess your surroundings
- Defend your territory until help arrives
There is no better way than to be prepared. When you are prepared then there is no emergency. Too many times we hear about situations where people were prepared for an emergency to only have their lives taken away from them. Being prepared means you have what it takes to overcome any emergency. Being prepared means that your life is not dependent of government or non-profit intervention.
Testimonial on How BAD Hurricane Katrina Was
A survivor of the hurricane Katrina disaster wrote a book on how to prepare for disaster emergencies. He mentions that the problem with FEMA and other disaster emergency organizations was that they ignored disease medical care preparation. I encourage you to watch his video. You can find his video by clicking the link below.