The worst storms of all the world’s seas are those of these islands and coasts. The Caribbean counties get hit with the most and worst storms. They don’t have the means to be able to sustain these storms which is why it is so hard for them to get through them. Different islands have responded very differently to hurricanes. In October 1780, a prevailing storm smashed the islands of the Caribbean, killing more than 20,000 people. Known as the Great Hurricane of 1780, it is among the deadliest storms every recorded. This was before there was any government assistants around to help, so the people of the Caribbean had to come together and build back up after the storm. At the moment the hurricane took place Captain Sir Thomas Cochrane was the governor of Antilles and he sent hundreds of pesos to be distributed to the poor of various communities who have suffered from the hurricane. They also set up committees in the affected eastern part of the island. The government in this island had a tremendous response they all came together to make sure their people were good.
Hurricane Mitch of 1998, a late October storm, was the second deadliest storm in the history of the Caribbean. The storm killed at least 6,000 people in Honduras and 3,000 in Nicaragua. Hurricane Mitch left two and a half million people homeless and eventually caused between $6.5 and $8.5 billion in damages. The response to this hurricane was terrible for the simple fact that even months after the hurricane parts of Honduras and Nicaragua suffered from threats to health, a lack of food, population dislocation, and lack of materials for rebuilding. It wasn’t until these islands started getting global recognition that the U.S and other countries wanted to help.
Even though Hurricane Katrina did not have a big impact on the islands it had a big effect on Louisiana, Mississippi, and the City of Orleans. It was the most expensive disaster of the United States. Hurricane Katrina had an even worst response than Hurricane Mitch did, because of mismanagement and lack of preparation. There was also a delayed response to the flooding of the New Orleans and Louisianan.
FEMA also wasn’t much help during the hurricane. In my opinion I don’t think that the response for hurricanes in the Caribbean has gotten better, for example, people in Puerto Rico still have no power from a hurricane that took place all the way in 2017. If the response team for these kinds of things were better Puerto Rico would be so much better by now.
Some criteria’s that political leaders have used as part of the decision-making process when responding to hurricanes are minimizing damage to facilities and surrounding areas, establish site-specific checklist of pre and post hurricane responsibilities, identity necessary response resources and provide mechanism to maintain communications and awareness. When it comes to decision making in responding to hurricanes political leader must be able to think rationally and choose the alternative with the excess of benefits over cost. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an agency of the United states Department of Homeland Security. The purpose of FEMA is to support the citizens and first responders to promote that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protects against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. Even though the government has FEMA in place I feel that they don’t do a very good job at responding to hurricanes.
For example, look at Puerto Rico most people still have no lights or are still homeless. Hurricane Maria was one of the worst natural disasters and I don’t feel like the government is taking it seriously. It has been a whole year and people are still without power, children are attending school with no lights, people are still out on the street homeless. If our government had a better response strategy this would not be the case.
We can also look at hurricane Katrina and how bad of a response they receive from the government. During Katrina Washington was slow to realize how serious the hurricane was and the mayor had failed to mobilize all of the city’s busses to get people out, and FEMA who was responsible for the disaster plan, seemed to be inattentive, ineffective, or incompetent. In this situation we can see that the system of disaster preparation and relief had completely broken down as a result of mismanagement, unclear lines of authority, poor communication, and in some cases indifference or incompetence. Eleanor Thornton says that the government threated them so bad during the hurricane, she says they did not bring food for the convention center until the fifth day after the storm. Big islands like Cuba and Jamaica were able to absorb the blows internally but imagine if they weren’t able to, half of everybody on those islands would have passed away because of the incompetence of FEMA. FEMA has gotten a lot better with their disaster relief strategies since Katrina but I still think that are a lot more they can do to improve. Every hurricane the states has done a mediocre job at helping the people on the islands. They leave them with no food, power, or any materials to build back up. One thing I love about the Caribbean is the way they come together in a time of need no matter where you are from, your race, or your religion. They help each other out and make sure everyone is good. When hurricane Maria was taking place the people in Saint Martin came together to help one another. Some of my family are still in Haiti and when hurricane Maria hit them the states were not doing anything to help them, so all of the villages that were close together came as one. There were people cooking, people trying to build their houses back up, and also people trying to reach out to other to make sure that they are okay. This what is what I love about the islands, even though the states are not helping them they help each other.
There are a lot of lessons that should have been learned from these past hurricanes. For instance, communication should have been one. The government need to realize how important communication is during these hurricanes. The government also needs to be clear on what every one’s jobs are so people don’t get confused on what they are supposed to be doing. There are major opportunities to improve hurricane response strategies. We have opportunities in technology and science, government services and legislation and also engineering and building. Our ability to be able to track a hurricane and make predictions remain highly uncertain. How are we going to be able to respond to a hurricane in the correct way if we don’t know how hard it is going to hit or when and where exactly it is going to hit. The nation doesn’t pay enough attention to hurricane preparedness and response. There is a big lack of attention and dialogue when it comes to the affected countries. Due to the lack of preparedness and response to these hurricanes I think that congress should command a National Assessment of Hurricane Preparedness and Response. The assessment would need to involved all levels of government. Everyone need to make sure they know what they are doing in the case of an emergency. FEMA should try to connect with other agencies to strengthen the present system to a year-round.
Government agencies should implement policies to strengthen existing hurricane programs and response procedures. One last thing that should be done is that congress should develop legislation to ensure funding for hurricane research, production, mitigation and response. These are a lot of things that could be done to ensure that as a nation we have a better preparedness and a better response to the hurricanes not just in our state but to the hurricanes all over the world.