Environmental Impact Of Hurricane Katrina

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On August 29, 2005, a storm that destroyed the lives of countless innocent people, left families in full desolation, and changed the lives of millions within a few hours, hit the Gulf Coast. The storm, which is also known as Hurricane Katrina, lasted eight days from August 23, 2005 to August 31, 2005 with its highest wind speed at 175 mph. It is known to be one of the largest, deadliest, and costliest storms ever to hit the United States. The storm destroyed about $108 billion worth of damages and left people living along the Gulf Coast homeless and/or penniless as the death rate topped at 1833. The city of New Orleans was hit the hardest, with floodwaters covering up to 80 percent of the city when its levees were breached. People were stuck…show more content…
Bacteria and metals spread through the floodwaters, and the storm destroyed acres of forestry while leaving the Gulf Coast highly polluted with crude oil. According to Gale, “An estimated 6.5 million gallons of crude oil, as well as fuel from cars, boats, gas stations, and households, was spilled… Floodwaters also tested positive for E. Coli bacteria and heavy metals… The coastal marshes, which act as a natural barrier and protect the coastline from tidal surge, were also destroyed” (Gale). The oil spill, which was considered to be one of the worst oil spills in the country’s history, significantly destroyed the biodiversity of the Gulf Coast: beaches, marine animals, and marshlands that protected the coast from storm surges as a natural barrier. The spill of tons of industrial waste and raw sewage in the floodwaters contributed to the existence of E. coli and heavy metals, which had heavy impact on the heath conditions of the residents of the area. The storm also damaged about 1.3 million acres (5,300 km²) of forestland, 14.6 million cords (52,900,000 m³) of paperwood, and 3.2 billion board feet (7,600,000 m³) of sawtimber in Mississippi. Accordingly, hundreds of species lost their habitat, and chances of erosion and landslides increased. Hurricane Katrina not only affected the country economically and environmentally, but also…show more content…
During the aftermath of the storm, the Gulf Coast witnessed a downturn in oil production rates, shipping and export rates, and tourist, wood, and tax industries. The oil spills highly polluted the Gulf Coast, while high winds devastated its forestry and ecosystem. People began questioning the government authorities’ ineffective response to the storm, which led to political implications within the government. Even with its negative impact on the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Katrina brought about positive changes to the society. The government implemented better environmental, communications and evacuation policies. FEMA’s laws were revised for better communications with non English speakers, disabilities, and pets. Fundings were increased for the search party in case of a disaster. Ultimately, Hurricane Katrina highlighted the importance of preparedness in case when a disaster strikes and taught the government valuable lessons. Katrina will always be remembered as a storm that took thousands of lives and destroyed families’ lives within just a few

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