Hurricane Katrina is considered to be one of the most destructive hurricanes that ever hit the United States. It brought huge damage, disaster and despair for the country, especially for New Orleans where the death toll was the highest. The consequences of Katrina were improbable: the entire districts were demolished, more than 80 percent of the territory found itself under water, and approximately 1,800 people were killed. Flooding is the core reason for such huge losses in New Orleans. More than 300000 buildings were devastated or became impossible for people to live in.
Floodwater rose to rooftops in the poor areas, and many citizens were saved from the roofs of their homes.
The BEA appraised the situation according to the total economic effect of hurricane Katrina in 150 billion dollars that makes it the most costly catastrophe in the history of the United States. Here are some of the sectors which incurred losses: food export, tourism, oil supply, and other forms of trade and business. Katrina had also an impact on the labor market. In June 2006, the unemployment level had reduced to 92,900 comparing to the year 2005 when the employment total was 105,300. Not only was the loss in employment caused by Katrina, but the loss in wages. Approximately 2,9 billion dollar waste was formed during the ten months following Katrina.
The University of North Texas was also scrutinizing the effects of Katrina and professor Bernard Weinstein estimated to total loss as 250 billion dollars (Brookings Institute, 2011). He considers also the influence on destroyed gas production and on economic increase. For instance, in the year of 2005, economic increase fell down from 3,8 % to 1,3 %.
Hurricane Katrina struck 19 % of oil production in the United States. It demolished 457 pipelines and devastated 113 offshore gas and oil platforms. Due to that damage, the cost of oil grew to 3 dollars for a barrel, and the value for gas reached 5 dollars for a gallon (Heidi Ball, 2008).
Katrina's damage to the economic system of the United States was so crushing because of its itinerary. It caught the center of sugar industry in Louisiana, where the annual crop value was 500 million dollars. That part of Louisiana used to have 50 chemical plants, which produced 25% of the nation's chemicals. In addition, Hurricane Katrina damaged the port; nevertheless, it started to function in a week after the catastrophe. The total damage value for it was 260 million dollars. After Katrina hit the city, the amount of tourists abruptly decreased in no time. The numbers were striking. Before Katrina, the tourism industry had a profit of 9,6 billion dollars and just after it – 2,6 million dollars (Kimberly Amadeo, 2012).
After Hurricane Katrina, many powerful and wealthy businessmen and officials were claiming about their contributions to recovery program. However, time was passing, and no one came to the rescue plan. The vital issue was that most of them did not keep their word and left New Orleans. For instance, Donald Trump was about to build a magnificent hotel and new apartments, yet people are still waiting for that. Don Peebles, the great developer, was sure about the New Orleans’ future and promise to rebuild houses, however no one saw him starting doing that. Both of them were unreliable and noted for the lack of actions.
Now, it is the seventh anniversary after Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans is still trying to improve its economic, demographic and social situation. Much effort has been put into recovery projects, but still it is far from the starting position. The number of homeless people ranges from 4900 to 5500 that is two and a half times more the before the disaster. Most of them sleep in the abandoned houses that have not been repaired after the storm.
Unemployment is on its way to renewal; however, poverty exceeds the national standard. A huge number of New Orleans’ population lives in indigence. According to the figures of the national standard, the poor should make 15% of the population. Nevertheless, the percentage of the poor among African American families is 30% and among white families is 8%. So, the total constitutes 38 % that is more the twice bigger than the national rate (Common Dreams, 2012).
With the help of munificent tax motive, New Orleans is becoming filled with new businesses and industries. They involve the Receivables Exchange that gives small and large businesses an opportunity to vend goods to hedge funds instead of delaying the payment. Moreover, New Orleans demonstrates pivotal signs of recovering by establishing entrepreneur competitions in order to discover new, highly motivated and authoritative entrepreneurs. Out of hundreds of participants, only 20 companies have a chance to be engaged in a program that is controlled by professional mentors. The purpose of that program is to create a powerful and well-organized enterprise that will be able to withstand any barriers and economic recessions (Facing South, 2012).
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The effects of Katrina can still be seen in New Orleans; however, it is slowly but surely rehabilitating. Much has been done but still quite a lot left to finish. The city is still recovering, and officials need to establish new evacuation policies in order to prevent possible disasters. New Orleans will forever exist as two cities: the one before Hurricane Katrina and the one after. The population in New Orleans is never going to be the same as seven years ago. In other words, Katrina changed New Orleans forever; no one can bring some things back, such as racial and economic divide that has been a part of New Orleans for centuries.