Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 17 Issue 4 (December 2009), Pages 203-313

Preventable Catastrophe? The Hurricane Katrina Disaster Revisited (pages 206-220)

This article probes the warning‐response failures that left the city of New Orleans vulnerable to catastrophic hurricanes and the inability of local, state, and federal authorities to mount an adequate response to the consequences unleashed by Hurricane Katrina. Through an empirical exploration with the help of three broad explanatory ‘cuts’ derived from the relevant interdisciplinary literature – psychological, bureau‐organizational, and agenda‐political – the authors seek to shed light on the sources of failure that contributed to the various levels of governments' lack of preparedness and the inadequate collective response to a long‐predicted, upper‐category hurricane. The article concludes by addressing the question of whether the vulnerabilities and problems that contributed to the Katrina failure are amenable to reform.

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