Hurricane Katrina was considered as one of the most destructive disasters in the history of the U.S. The level of damage and the degree of response during the occurrence of the crisis were clear indications that the government lacked proper management plans and procedures required to mitigate the outcomes. One of the plans that were put into action in the state of Mississippi was the use of the National Guard to enhance relief operations. This was a part of the overall plan called the National Response Plan (Dudley, 2006). The following paper aims at assessing strategies and situations during and after the occurrence of the disaster. Consequently, workable strategies are highlighted as well as reasons behind their application that are supported with due consideration of the available resources. The work further analyzes the Mississippi crisis plan and explains the usefulness of the elements selected for the National Response Plan. Consequently, the paper states how the plan could be relevant in either Louisiana or Alabama. Finally, presents the missing elements of the plan for these states.
From the journal After Katrina: Building Back Better Than Ever, which is a report by James Barksdale who is the Chairman of the Governors Commission on Recovery, Building and Renewal, it is made clear that the National Response Plan (NRP) was a workable strategy that provided a big boost of the disaster management efforts made by the American government (Governor's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal & Bernstein, 2005). The NRP strategic plan was designed to encompass all hazards and, at the same time, establish a single wide-ranging framework that could be used in managing an array of activities such as response, preparedness, and recovery. A key strength of this plan is the fact that it includes the complete spectrum of complex and continuously changing needs in response to or in anticipation of major disasters, terrorism, and other crises. The strategy is considered as scalable and flexible.
The decision about the programs that were launched during the occurrence of Hurricane Katrina was made by the recovery experts. The course of actions included the use of Technical Assistance Contract as well as the Hazard Mitigation Technical Assistance Program. The latter is abbreviated as HMTAP, and its purpose was to coordinate the efforts made by the National Guards with other support agencies as well as different non-governmental organizations (The White House, 2006). Therefore, contracting was a remarkable feature at the time of the occurrence of Hurricane Katrina. It helped both the local and federal governments use the limited resources at their disposal to attract staff and volunteers into the disaster stricken areas, salvage property and secure lives of victims. FEMA which incorporates the use of Long Term Community Response Plan was among the contracted organizations. The plan provided 15 teams of volunteers stationed at strategic locations in Mississippi so as to provide emergency support functions. This measure was taken after the Presidents declaration of the hurricane as a national disaster.
Using the HMTAP contract, FEMA in conjunction with the National Guard were able to assess the structural damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Likewise, the teams were able to document certain events and actions that have been essential in streamlining future disaster and emergency management strategies. Among them there were the creation of the flood advisory map and setting up of community-based programs. This was done to foster the efforts of the local governments bids to educate the public on mitigation plans. Hurricane Katrina brought several organizations into the State of Mississippi. Through coordination by the Governors Office, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Mississippi Development Authority, Mississippi State University, FEMA and Coastal Planning Development Districts have been able to instigate mitigations strategies that could be applicable to other states such as Louisiana and Alabama (Ouellette, 2008).
Holly & Rick (2006) developed a hypothetical framework based on the Crisis in Context Theory (CCT). The contextual plan illustrates that the use of the National Response Plan supported by the Long Term Community Response Plan initiated by FEMA can be relevantly applied to Louisiana or Alabama (Myer & Moore, 2006). This is because these strategies provide the conducive environment where research work carried out by planners, grant management experts, and recovery policy specialists can thrive. In addition, the Governors office has shown backing for the strategies motivated by the need to provide a long-term policy that will enable recovery in the event of financial or structural losses caused by any either natural or manmade disasters. Such realization cements the fact that the NRP can be equally instrumental if applied in Louisiana and Alabama.
Conte & Myer (2006) provide an explanation of the triage assessment system (TAS). They assess cognitive and behavioral patterns and reaction of individuals as well as state agencies that might help to deal with disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. According to Triage Assessment Form, both Louisiana and Alabama exhibited low performance when it came to crisis intervention (Myer & Moore, 2006). This can be attributed to the fact that the two states lack elaborate disaster management strategies. Moreover, the inhabitants of these states require massive public education on disaster management.