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SOCI 100 (54)

Hurricane Katrina

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University of British Columbia
SOCI 100
Debra Pentecost

Hurricane Katrina 01-21-2013 Course reader: Hurricane Katrina and the Myth of Natural Disasters FEMA – Federal Emergency Response Agency  Issued report saying a hurricane that would hit New Orleans was one of three most likely disasters to hit the US  Yet nothing was done to prepare for inevitable Essay’s two main points/arguments:  Powerful people in New Orleans have made economic and political decisions that placed the city, especially its black people, at high risk of hurricane related death  Powerful people resisted charging the American government with responsibility for ensuring the welfare of the citizenry as a whole Flood Control? Two big problems:  Disappearance of coastal wetlands (first line of defense, decreased storm surge)  Inadequacy of levees o US Army Corps of Engineers – supposedly built a wall to withstand category 3 storm Bush Administration  On going efforts to restore wetlands in the area in 1990  Bush ended these efforts by allowing unrestricted development in the wetlands  Two months after Katrina: Bush refused to fund a plan to restore the barrier islands and wetlands  Cut funding for the improvement of the levees (US Army Corps of Engineers) A comparative perspective: Social perspective 1. The population of some countries are more exposed to the threat of hurricanes than the populations of other countries. 2. At the same level of exposure, some countries experience relatively few deaths due to hurricanes while others experience relatively many deaths. 3. Countries that experience relatively low deaths take extensive precautions to avoid the catastrophic effects of hurricanes. Countries that experience relatively more deaths take
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