“…the lack of effective transportation for up to 100,000 residents of the [New Orleans] area, raised its head in every exercise, presentation and meeting where evacuation was discussed.” (Dr. Walter Maestri, Jefferson Parish Emergency Management Director)
FEMA identifies a super-strength hurricane hitting NO as the second most likely disaster facing the country [behind a terrorist attack]
Scientific America article describes effects of major storm hitting NO
Times-Picayune runs series on how vulnerable NO would be to major hurricane
National Geo predicted 80% flooding and 200,000 left behind in event of major storm
Hurricane Pam exercise simulated effects of Category 3 storm; over-topped levees and thousands left behind
In the largest urban evacuation up to that time, more than 1 million people leave the New Orleans area prior to Katrina landfall
The hurricane protection system for New Orleans includes levees and floodwalls to hold back the high water from a storm surge; it failed catastrophically at more than 50 different locations during Hurricane Katrina
After New Orleans flooded, the US Dept. of Transportation (DOT) coordinated the emergency evacuation of more than 66,000 citizens from the city
FEMA declared 90K sq mi of Gulf Coast to be directly impacted by Katrina [area almost as big as UK]
Katrina, a Category 3 storm at landfall, resulted in 1.2 million homeowner claims and 500,000 commercial claims
Katrina represented the insurance industry’s single largest insured loss ever. Companies paid $41 billion in property losses, and the government’s flood insurance program paid an additional $18 billion
7,500 troops from four states were on the ground within 24 hours of when Katrina made landfall (Robbins 2005). As of August 27, the Louisiana National Guard had called up almost 3,500 of its members to active duty. By September 9, more than 50,000 Guardsmen had been deployed
Congress has appropriated about $26.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant funds to help the Gulf Coast recover from four major storms - Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav
White House publishes “The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina Lessons Learned”
Congress passes the Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act to re-organize the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA
Nearly 2 million citizens evacuated from at-risk parishes prior to Gustav
Fraud: Among the hundreds of thousands of people who have received financial assistance or insurance payouts in the three years since Katrina, 907 individuals in 43 federal jurisdictions in 25 states have been indicted for fraud
the metro NO area reached 88.1 percent of its pre-storm population
121,083 applicants had received Road Home grants averaging $62,748. Of the nearly $9.4 billion allocated for the Road Home program, $7.6 billion has been disbursed
Metro New Orleans rents are 52 percent higher than pre-Katrina. HUD estimates a one-bedroom apartment in the region will rent for $881, up from $578 in 2005
The Army Corps flood risk maps suggest that many parts of the city remain at risk of six to eight feet of flooding from a major storm
Total FEMA has already spent in Mississippi. This is up approximately $500 million since 2008.
FEMA obligated funds for infrastructure repair and replacement, debris removal, and emergency protective measures.
Amount paid by FEMA to 19,999 policyholders for flood claims through its National Flood Insurance Program.
Given to 274,761 Mississippi households to pay for rent, repair or Other Needs Assistance through the Individuals and Households Programs.
Obligated for public utilities.
Slated for Mississippi through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to take actions to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property form natural hazards and their effects. Administered by MEMA.
Obligated funds to public schools (K-12) in the lower six counties.
Approved funding for 279 HMGP projects throughout Mississippi.
Obligated for the repair of ball fields, community centers, cemeteries, beaches and other recreational facilities.
Obligated for the repair and rebuilding of historical significant buildings.
Obligated for roads and bridges.
Obligated to replace patrol cars and police equipment.
Mississippians registered for assistance through the FEMA toll-free number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for speech- or hearing-impaired applicants or online at www.fema.gov.
Volunteers who have come from 1000 organizations to help Mississippians in need.
The number of cubic yards of marine debris cleared in Hancock and Harrison counties to complete the debris removal mission in Mississippi, bringing the total debris removed to 46 million cubic yards.
Mississippians who now have flood insurance. This is approximately double the policies in effect since just before Hurricane Katrina.
The number of Public Assistance project worksheets. A project worksheet is a dynamic record of each project and is used to collect information and provide justification for the project.
Completed saferoom-storm shelters.
The number of temporary housing units currently occupied. This represents a 99 percent decrease from the all-time high of approximately 43,000 occupied units.
[source: FEMA, Aug 25, 2009]
The following is from the Executive Summary of “The New Orleans Hurricane Protection System: What Went Wrong and Why : a Report by the American Society of Civil Engineers Hurricane Katrina External Review Panel”
In addition to these direct causes of the levee breaches, a number of other factors also contributed to the catastrophe:
The risk to New Orleanians (i.e., the probability of failure combined with the consequences to human health and safety if that failure were to occur) was much higher than many people are generally willing to accept. Because these risks were not well understood or communicated effectively to the public, the importance of evacuating people and protecting property was under-estimated.
The hurricane protection system was constructed as individual pieces — not as an interconnected system — with strong portions built adjacent to weak portions, some pump stations that could not withstand the hurricane forces, and many penetrations through the levees for roads, railroads, and utilities. Furthermore, the levees were not designed to withstand overtopping.
The hurricane protection system was designed for meteorological conditions (barometric pressure and wind speed, for example) that were not as severe as the Weather Bureau and National Weather Service listed as being characteristic of a major Gulf Coast hurricane.
Levee builders used an incorrect datum to measure levee elevations — resulting in many levees not being built high enough. Some levees were built 1 to 2 feet lower than the intended design elevation. Furthermore, despite the acknowledged fact that New Orleans is subsiding (sinking), no measures were taken into account in the design to compensate for the subsidence by monitoring the levees and raising them up to the pre-subsidence design elevation.
No single agency was in charge of hurricane protection in New Orleans. Rather, responsibility for the maintenance and operation of the levees and pump stations was spread over many federal, state, parish, and local agencies. This lack of inter-agency coordination led to many adverse consequences from Hurricane Katrina.
The hurricane protection system was funded on a project-byproject basis over many years. As a result, the system was constructed in a piecemeal fashion. In addition, there were pressures for tradeoffs and low-cost solutions that compromised quality, safety, and reliability.
The design of the New Orleans hurricane protection system was not subject to the rigorous external review by senior experts that is often conducted for similar life-safety structures and systems.”