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Hurricane Katrina - Fema

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As a teacher by profession, I submit an "F" for FAILURE! FEMA's response to those affected by Hurricane Katrina was nothing short of inexcusable. People were left stranded for days on New Orleans' rooftops without water or food. Patients died for lack of medical supplies. (USA Today, 9/7/05) FEMA couldn't or rather, "didn't" get help to the thousands of people left abandoned at the Morial Convention Center, although reporters and various "superstars," managed to get to the scene.

A more in depth review of FEMA's response to Hurricane Katrina as in comparison with other government relief assistance programs seems to reveal a far more significant issue. Throughout American history, available social service support and reformation has always ignited some form of racial inequality towards African Americans. From as far back as the initiation of the Poor Laws, to the current Prison Laws, African Americans have always been among the most disadvantaged of our society. For example, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) signed into law on May 12th 1933, was part of the New Deal government-spending program. This was established to give direct cash assistance to impoverished citizens. However, as indicated in our text, "Relief money was not always distributed fairly. Racial discrimination in the administration of funds was a major problem. As with other New Deal programs, particularly in Southern rural areas, the black population found it difficult to get on relief rolls." (Social Welfare, Mark J. Stern, June Axinn) Quite similarly, FEMA assistance in the case of Hurricane Katrina seemed to have not been properly or fairly applied towards the predominately African American citizens of New Orleans.

Ironically, the general philosophy of our government's delivery of services is to provide for those in need and support them back to self-sufficiency. As this philosophy relates to Hurricane Katrina, it is evident that the needed support from this disaster was completely disregarded; therefore, self-sufficiency was practically impossible.

Although it is true that FEMA's policy was already in place for how to manage a disaster such as this, their obvious lack of preparedness was inexcusable. The weather reported clearly identified Hurricane Katrina would be one of the worst hurricanes of all times. There should have been a mandatory evacuation much sooner than advised. There were multiple miscommunications and confusion of who was in charge of what issues between the state and government. There were no resources provided such as buses, food or water. School busses were available, however, they were drowned under water. Buses did not arrive for evacuation until four days after landfall. Levees failed and were washed away. (Angie Marek, US News 2/06)

In retrospect, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina influenced policy development in areas such as economic security, disaster relief during and after natural disasters, as well as the commitment of local governmental agencies to act rapidly and effectively in regards to natural disasters. Hurricane Katrina specifically influenced policy development due to the lack



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