Hurricane Katrina vs. Sinking of Titanic

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All hazards, whether natural, technological or war hazards, are able to cause loss of life, property damage, and various secondary effects1. Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005, is a recent natural disaster that will be remembered by many as one of the most deadly hurricanes in history6. The sinking of the RMS Titanic, in April 1912, which many believe to have been caused by a collision with an iceberg, was in fact caused by its poor technology3, making it one of the most memorable historical technological disasters to have ever occurred. While these two disasters may seem unsurpassed, they will be analyzed and compared, in order to determine possible similarities and differences that relate to the disasters’ elements of risk. (i) Description of Disasters: Hurricane Katrina is said to have been the most costly and deadliest hurricanes in U.S history, resulting in $81.2 billion dollars in damage and 1836 casualties6. The hurricane made landfall in New Orleans in the early morning of August 29th, 2005 as a Category 3 or 4 storm. The heavy rains that were produced as the hurricane moved inland, along with the poorly designed levees, caused all 56 levees in New Orleans to fail, resulting in freshwater flooding of 80% of the city15. Hurricane Katrina devastated an area over 160 km from the storm’s eye, which included parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and most importantly, Louisiana6. It originally formed off the Bahamas, on August 23rd, as a Tropical Depression and strengthened to a Category 1 storm once it made landfall in Florida on August 25th. The warm ocean water, moist atmosphere and lack of wind shear that Katrina passed through allowed it to strengthen to a Category 3 storm by August 27th. That day, the Mayor of New Orleans to issue a voluntary evacuation, which he upgraded to mandatory on August 28th, only 19 hours before Katrina

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