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2017 Hurricanes: A Katrina Deja Vu

Posted by Tal Porat | September 24, 2017

Around this time of the year in 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the United States and left 1,800 people dead and more than a million displaced in the Gulf Coast region. It also destroying over 200,000 homes in New Orleans. Similar to Hurricane Harvey, Katrina also impacted the Gulf of Mexico before hitting the United States.

Aside from causing massive evacuation, Hurricane Katrina caused around US $96B in damage which included housing, business and government properties, and consumer goods. Three million people were left without power.

The gulf coasts of Mexico and the United States were greatly effected by Katrina and 19% of U.S oil production was effected, leading to higher gasoline prices. However, the price hike was brief because former President Bush decided to supply the effected refineries with oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Katrina also disrupted the shipping industry by causing damage to the Port of New Orleans.

A little over a decade after Hurricane Katrina, the United States economy can still feel its effects. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was criticized for their oversight of how damaging Hurricane Katrina was and their lack of preparation in responding during the catastrophe. Since then, FEMA has made efforts to improve their programs and services in preparation for major weather events such as Hurricane Harvey.

Corporate social responsibility also changed since Hurricane Katrina as more people showed a lack of trust of federal agencies and their local governments. Not just non-government organizations, but more companies and corporations became active in pledging and providing relief for hurricane victims since Katrina as part of their cause-related marketing campaigns.

The insurance industry felt significant impacts, considering over 1.7 million claims were filed in the effected states with a total of US $41.1B in insured loss. Flood insurance coverage spiked after what happened in Louisiana after Katrina. Federal aid worth US $120B helped rebuild flooded neighborhoods and the tourism industry is helping Louisiana to recover.

Above all, the locals who were directly impacted by Hurricane Katrina were effected the most – financially, psychologically, and physically. As New Orleans rebuilt its homes, its jobs, and its lives - some never came back. Residents spent months in shelters, and some sought refuge in nearby states and cities, particularly Houston, where many stayed permanently after the dramatic events brought by Katrina.