Disaster: Home

Hurricane Section

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Hurricane Katrina was the eleventh named storm, fifth hurricane, third major hurricane, and first Category 5 hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It was the third most powerful storm of the season, and the sixth-strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. Katrina formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005, and crossed southern Florida at Category 1 intensity before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico, becoming, at that time, the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Gulf. (Hurricane Rita broke this record later in the season.) The storm weakened considerably before making its second landfall as an extremely large Category 3 storm on the morning of August 29 along the Central Gulf Coast near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana. The storm surge from Katrina caused catastrophic damage along the coastlines of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Levees separating Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans were breached by the surge, ultimately flooding about 80% of the city, all of St. Bernard Parish and portions of St. Tammany Parish and Plaquemines Parish. Wind damage was reported well inland, impeding relief efforts. Katrina is estimated to be responsible for $75 billion in damages, making it the costliest hurricane in United States history; the storm has killed 1,420 people, becoming the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane.

You will need to research the disaster as well as the ways in which various states, NGOs, IGOs and even individuals aided the recovery effort. What approach was most successful? Where does the power to address global disasters lie?

Remember the three goals for diaster relief.


The BBC devoted an entire section of to collecting various information about the disaster. They have a flash presentation on the path of the hurricane as well.

Infrared image of category 5 hurricane

NPR in the US also collected great information as well as doing an in-depth look at FEMA's success (FEMA is a federal program and therefore speaks to role of the state).

image: wikipedia commons



What were the various NGOs operating in the region and what did they accomplish? How should we evaluate their efficacy? The following links should give you a place to start with this question.

Global Policy Forum reprinted an article trying to evaluate the role of NGOs in treating disasters. US Senator Grassley investigated the actions of the Red Cross during the hurricane relief efforts and released a letter detailing his findings. The Red Cross responded to his criticism with their own release. There are several news stories about this issue. You might start by listening to NPR's coverage. A group of NGOs created a committee to coordinate work in Pakistan. Check out their joint action report.



Several agencies in the federal goverment responded to the Hurricane. For a full list see First Government's site and search for what government is doing. Here a few places to begin:

  • Department of Homeland Security technically had control of the situation. The maintain a website.
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC) has lots of reports on how to help the recovery efforts.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued an update.


Congress has begun its own process of evaluating the government's response. For transcripts of the hearings check out C-Span on hurricane hearings. For a synopsis check out this press release on the first day of the hearings.


The UN created a special joint organization to coordinate efforts: Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) website. The regional IGO, the Organizatin of American States (OAS) called for an investigation into human rights abuses post hurricane. In this case, an IGO is working to change problems illustrated by the disaster.