Hurricane Katrina: A Colossal Yet Preventable Disaster
This paper examines the costliest natural disaster in United States history that is Hurricane Katrina. This paper explains how Hurricane Katrina classifies as a scientific, business, and engineering disaster. More importantly, this paper investigates the engineering component of Katrina and describes what could have been done within this field to prevent the majority of the economic damage done.
A disaster is “a natural or man-made hazard resulting in an event of substantial extent causing significant physical damage or destruction, loss of life, or drastic change to the environment.” (“Disaster”, 2012) According to this definition, Hurricane Katrina is a prime example of a disaster. Considering Hurricane Katrina caused at least one hundred twenty-five billion dollars in economic damage (“Katrina damage”, 2005), it classifies as a business disaster. Being that Katrina was a hurricane that had a negative effect on the environment, it classifies as a scientific disaster. However, much of the economic damage done by this scientific disaster could have been prevented if more attention was paid to the New Orleans levee system, making it an engineering disaster. Disasters are often the result of inappropriately managed risk (“Disaster”, 2012). Such is the case with Hurricane Katrina, as up to fifty percent of the economic damage incurred could have been prevented had the risks associated with the levees been more appropriately managed (“Katrina damage”, 2005).
On August 23, 2005, Hurricane Katrina formed over the Bahamas and quickly made its way over Southern Florida. As it made its way westward over the Gulf of Mexico, the storm strengthened from a Category 1 hurricane to a Category 5. Although it caused much destruction along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas, the majority of the damage was done to Southeast Louisiana. By the time the hurricane made its...
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