Hurricane Isaac hits New Orleans on 7th anniversary of Katrina
BY JACQUELINE PARKER
Just as the restored New Orleans was ready to settle down, Hurricane Isaac landed in their backyard on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, August 29. Hurricane Isaac was officially changed to a Category 1 storm Monday afternoon and about 75 percent of New Orleans residents were without power by mid-day.
Winds of 80 miles per hour and rain at several inches per hours have caused overtopping levees and left people stranded. However, for the most part the federal government’s $14 billion investment in a new levee system appears to have paid off.
In response to the weather emergency, President Obama announced Louisiana is under a state of emergency and urged residents of affected areas to heed these warnings. In addition, Obama stated, “The hardest work, of course, is still ahead…the federal government is doing everything possible to help the American people prepare for, and recover from, this dangerous storm.”
Furthermore, local, state, and federal authorities have been coordinating rescue missions in affected communities like Braithwaite, east of the Mississippi River, and areas like Plaquemines Parish, have ordered mandatory evacuations ahead of Hurricane Isaac. Officials said about 40 persons in the parish who did not heed the evacuation order were in need of rescue Wednesday afternoon.
Some residents of Houma, La., abandoned their homes and took shelter in local hotels or homes of generous residents. Officials warned residents to stay off the streets and to use “common sense” when walking along roads that may be potential flood bearers. Local officials have even issued curfews in Mississippi’s East Harrison, Hancock, and Jackson counties. Power lines and trees have gone down, but there have been no reports of injuries or deaths so far.
New Orleans has proven to be better prepared after the chaos of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Hospitals prepared several days earlier for Hurricane Isaac, and some preparations may have been planned months before. Medical teams went over their hurricane plan during Hurricane Awareness Month in May, and were divided into activation and recovery teams. Because of the potential for various, unexpected accidents and health conditions, New Orleans’ hospitals have much larger staffs on call to treat incoming patients.
Isaac marks the first hurricane to move in on New Orleans since Ike in 2008. It is expected to cause insured losses of as much as $1.5 billion, according to disaster-modeling company Equecat. Although, little can be compared to the catastrophe Hurricane Katrina brought to New Orleans in 2005. Ranked as one of the five deadliest (and costliest) hurricanes to hit in U.S history, Katrina brought $108 billion in total property damage and over 1,000 deaths.
Sources– major media reports