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Identify the major deficiencies in preparedness and mitigation planning that left the Gulf Coast vulnerable to a major disaster. Address how lack of effective risk assessment and hazard analysis played a role in worsening the devastation.

Hurricane Katrina demonstrated that the United States was unprepared to deal with a disaster of such magnitude. Even though, as indicated in the senate report, “Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still Unprepared,” the government knew for many years that a devastating hurricane was quite likely to strike New Orleans, planning was insufficient and no solid strategy existed for response. Lack of strategy delayed response when time was of the essence and a lack of leadership and unsuccessful coordination efforts actually contributed to additional destruction and distress.

Multiple serious mistakes were made during first-response efforts and the recovery stage after Hurricane Katrina, which ultimately contributed to the development of new standards, procedures, and agencies. Lessons learned from this catastrophe had a significant impact on preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts at every level of government. The mistakes of Katrina and the resulting recommendations for improving practices within the United States are documented in “Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still Unprepared.”

The report is lengthy; however, the following sections provide a comprehensive overview of deficiencies in the areas of preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery.

  • Executive Summary
  • Chapter 2: Hurricane Katrina: Indicators of Impact
  • Chapter 5: Hurricane Katrina: Timeline of Key Events
  • Chapter 6: Emergency Management: Louisiana
  • Chapter 8: “Hurricane Pam”: Warning Flag for Katrina
  • Chapter 18: Communication Voids
  • Chapter 19: Lack of Situational Awareness
  • Chapter 27: Failures in National Response Plan: Unified Command
  • Chapter 28: FEMA Waste and Fraud
  • Recommendations

Your task is to read these sections of the report and prepare a presentation for the mayor of your city demonstrating the major deficiencies in the area of preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Based on the report, your analysis of your state’s emergency plan in Module 2, and any additional research, make recommendations in a PowerPoint presentation (15-20 slides) for what your city needs to do to make sure it is as prepared as possible for potential threats.

Be sure to address the following:

  1. Identify the major deficiencies in preparedness and mitigation planning that left the Gulf Coast vulnerable to a major disaster. Address how lack of effective risk assessment and hazard analysis played a role in worsening the devastation.
  2. Identify problems with communication and operations that worsened the impact of the storm during the response phase.
  3. Identify major problems with both short- and long-term recovery in the aftermath of the storm.
  4. Identify the most important lessons your own city should learn from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
  5. Recommend what your city should do to address its major weakness in the areas of preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery in order to ensure it is as prepared as possible. Include recommendations for the role training and exercises should play in ensuring preparedness.

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