Criticism of Government Response To Hurricane Katrina

Criticism Of Government Response To Hurricane Katrina

The criticism of the government response to Hurricane Katrina consisted primarily of condemnations of mismanagement and lack of preparation in the relief effort in response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Specifically, there was a delayed response to the flooding of New Orleans, Louisiana. (See Hurricane preparedness for New Orleans for criticism of the failure of Federal flood protection.)


Within days of Katrina's August 29, 2005 landfall, public debate arose about the local, state and federal governments' role in the preparations for and response to the storm. Criticism was prompted largely by televised images of visibly shaken and frustrated political leaders, and of residents who remained in New Orleans without water, food or shelter, and the deaths of several citizens by thirst, exhaustion, and violence days after the storm itself had passed. The treatment of people who had evacuated to registered facilities such as the Superdome was also criticized.

Criticism from politicians, activists, pundits and journalists of all stripes has been directed at the local, state and federal governments.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was also criticized for failing to implement his evacuation plan and for ordering residents to a shelter of last resort without any provisions for food, water, security, or sanitary conditions. Perhaps the most important criticism of Nagin is that he delayed his emergency evacuation order until less than a day before landfall, which led to hundreds of deaths of people who (by that time) could not find any way out of the city. Adding to the criticism was the broadcast of school bus parking lots full of yellow school buses which Mayor Nagin refused to be used in evacuation. When asked why the buses were not used to assist evacuations instead of holing up in the Superdome, Nagin cited the lack of insurance liability and shortage of bus drivers.

New Orleans has been classified as a non-regime city. Regimes involve governmental and non-governmental cooperation, a specific agenda, a recognized problem and resources to deal with the problem. New Orleans only had a temporary coalition to deal with Hurricane Katrina, which led to ineffective, temporary and inefficient evacuation and provision of resources. Organizatioins such as the Red Cross attempted to form coalitions, but the various actors could not agree on a specific solution, and this failure to cooperate led to instability and misunderstanding between governmental and non-governmental actors.

Read more about Criticism Of Government Response To Hurricane Katrina:  Evacuation Process Criticism, Federal Government Response, U.S. National Guard, International Criticism, House of Representatives Report, Potential Discrimination Against Non-U.S. Citizens

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