Watching the disastrous response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was like watching "a train wreck in slow motion." Katrina exposed the weakness of existing emergency management and response policies on all levels – local, state, and federal.
Poor planning, poor decision-making, and poor communication before, during, and after Katrina betrayed public confidence in the ability of public officials to effectively organize and manage emergency response. The bungled response cost lives and property. So what lessons have been learned and what changes should be made?
Both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) policies and practices must be further scrutinized in order to repair the national emergency management system and restore the nation's capacity to deal with catastrophic disasters.
This volume of The Annals uncovers the troublesome roots of concern with the DHS, FEMA, and the responsibility of public officials at all levels and recommends changes that will lead to a functioning emergency management system. Only by shedding light on the underlying problems of current policy and practices can the lessons from Katrina truly be learned and steps taken to fix the system.
Policymakers and scholars alike will find that this intriguing issue offers insight and study that looks deeper than the obvious failures. From studies in presidential leadership to issues in temporary housing and shelter as well as mental and physical health concerns, this volume reviews the consequences and costs of Katrina on several levels and also provides a springboard for concrete changes in policy and practices to take hold.