Federal, State, and Local Response Term Paper

This problem was compounded by the fact that many of the people that stayed behind were low-income, had many children, or were elderly. Some also stayed because they could not take their pets and would not leave them behind. Many of these disadvantaged people needed the help much more rapidly than they got it, especially if they were elderly and infirm, or if they had young children that needed to be taken care of. They needed food, water, diapers, etc., and this was part of what caused the looting in some areas. While some people looted simply because they could, others broke into businesses and stole water, diapers, and non-perishable food – things that they should have been able to get for free, much sooner than the state actually provided it. The state government had an obligation to take care of its own people, and it appeared that this was not done in a timely enough fashion to save as many lives as could possibly be saved.

The local and state problems were significant, but they were nothing compared to the problems on a Federal level. Organizations such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were very slow to respond to the disaster, which indicates that they had not prepared for it beforehand, even though they knew that it was coming and what it was capable of doing. They seemed, instead, to adopt a more ‘wait and see’ approach that was completely inappropriate for the task at hand. Had they been ready to go as soon as the winds and rain had diminished enough to do so, more people could have easily been saved. There were people that died not because of the storm but because of a lack of food and water after the storm. Even though many areas were flooded, boats could certainly have been used to get needed supplies to these people or to help get them out of dangerous and flooded areas.

The President was criticized very strongly after Katrina, as was FEMA and the Red Cross. It was felt that everyone ‘dropped the ball’ on the Katrina issue, and after Hurricane Rita moved through, everyone responded much more quickly than they did to Katrina. This was good for the victims of Rita, but it did not help those that suffered through Katrina. The approval rating that President Bush had was at its lowest just a few days after Katrina, because it appeared that he sat back and did very little right after the disaster. While this may not be true, it was the way that it looked to the media and by extension to the people of the country. Even though the American people understand that not everything that the media says is true, the media still has the power to sway people quite often, and sometimes quite strongly. Because of this, doing what is right so that it will be reported fairly is something that the President and all other government officials must be aware of when facing disasters of this nature.

Many evacuees also still need help, and some are still not being allowed to return to their homes to see if anything is left. While there are some Hurricane Katrina evacuees that just appear to be attempting to get something for nothing, the majority of these individuals are still in serious need of all of the basics that people take for granted, such as food, clothing, and a decent shelter. This is unfortunate, but it will likely not be the last time that something like this will happen, and weather forecasters and saying that there will be an increased cycle of hurricanes for at least the next 10 years. These hurricanes are also predicted to be stronger and larger, which means that another ‘Katrina’ is only a matter of time. It is hoped, for the sake of the people that will be in harm’s way when another one hits, that the local, state, and federal governments will be more prepared and take more of an interest in helping immediately after the storm, so that more people do not have to suffer to the extent that the victims and evacuees of…

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