Over the span of a few days, Hurricane Harvey has managed to completely devastate Houston and leave a path of anguish in it’s wake.
Although this radical destruction had been predicted prior to its landfall, it still had enough destructive force to submerge and destroy the city of Houston.
This sort of power is rarely seen in hurricanes that reach land. However, Hurricane Harvey’s sheer force and destructive power shows striking resemblance to that of some other hurricanes that have ravaged North American lands.
The one that bears the most resemblance, in terms of power, is Katrina.
Both wreaked havoc on unsuspecting southern cities where thousands live below the poverty line, along with everyone they know and the rest of their families.
With no money to evacuate, no close family or friends, no money to rebuild or buy a new home, and no money to buy the basic necessities such as food, water, or even clothes; these hurricanes completely destroyed the lives of thousands, who still haven't and may not ever recover.
Although these hurricanes are very similar, Harvey pales in comparison to the complete and total to destruction brought to the city of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.
While the 60 deaths in Houston are a tragedy they can’t compare to the 1,833 people who lost their lives in Hurricane Katrina.
Katrina was category 5 that resulted in $108 Billion of damage. There was great carnage in the city for over seven days. Thousands died, but there are more to the deaths than just the storm. Did this many people really have to die?
Simply put, the answer is no. For the first time in the history of New Orleans, the city was under mandatory evacuation. Houston on the other hand was not, leaving a large group of diverse people to remain in their homes.
With that being said, it’s still not apparent why so many died. It my even seem that less people should have died in Katrina than Harvey, due to the mandatory evacuation.
So many died due to their inability to leave due to the city’s extreme poverty. Out of the 500,000 who lived their, more than 100,000 people did not even have cars to flee. Most of these people without cars were among those living under the poverty line.
There was no one for them to catch a ride with during the evacuation because the only people they’ve known were from the same ghetto as them, living in the same poverty.
The black and poor, which was 70% of the city in 2005, were left in their homes to die. Some were able to be bused to the superdome, which was supposed to be the saving grace of these disenfranchised blacks. The key phrase being ‘supposed to be’.
The conditions at the superdome in downtown New Orleans were hellish. With the superdome being heavily guarded, as well as the downtown being underwater, the people had nowhere to escape to.
People were without flushing toilets and running water at the superdome, as well as every other semi-habitable space in the city, due to the complete destruction of the sewage and pipe systems.
Everything at the superdome was fine until the generators cut off, leaving the people without lights and without air conditioning in the heat of summer time in New Orleans.
The superdome began to fall apart: the ceiling was ripped to shreds by the 174 mph winds, allowing the torrential downpour from the hurricane into the structure.
Everything was fine until the people in the overcrowded building began to see the situation as every man for themselves, doing anything to get the basic necessities, such as food and water where the resources were extremely scarce.
There was no relief to the Anguish of New Orleans for over five days. For days people had to live in the gut wrenching superdome in fear of dying.
For days people had to live atop their roofs being threatened by non-receding flood waters waiting for help that never came.
For weeks, 80% of New Orleans was underwater. Waterlogged corpses, broiled by the sun, floated in the lake that was once the city of New Orleans.
No help came for the victim's aid for nearly week, whereas in Houston, the aid came nearly instantly.
The story of Hurricane Katrina is a story of neglect. The Levee that was built to protect those who lived in poverty from flooding was severely neglected for decades. The people were neglected and without help for days. When help finally did show up, they split families up against their will and sent them to different parts of the country labeled as refugees; a term often used specifically for foreigners, not US citizens
If a good thing has come out of Hurricane Katrina it’s been the response to Hurricane Harvey, and the preparedness of America to handle disaster.