Blog 7: Disaster Planning

CRPeppers: Jack Barron, Sam Jallaq, Haley Jaynes, Gabrielle Smith & John Smith  

Overview:

Hurricane Ike tormented the USA from September 1st 14th in 2008. It was considered a Category 4 at its peak over the Atlantic, but it shrunk to a Category 2 when it made landfall. The majority of the hurricane hit Texas and Louisiana, with winds of 110 mph and 22 ft storm surges covering large portions of the coast and destroying vegetation and uprooting trees. The flooding went as far as 10 miles inland, and was exasperated by 20 in of rainfall in 2 days. The hurricane destruction wasn’t limited to only the coasts however as its winds spawned 29 tornados and the hurricane turned into a Tropical storm over the Midwest and continued to wreak havoc.  In Ohio specifically, 2.6 million people lost electricity from Cincinnati to Columbus. Overall, the hurricane caused 112 deaths directly, but an additional 64 people perished from indirect deaths from electrocution, carbon monoxide poisoning, etc In monetary terms, there was $33.3 billion in damage, $12.5 billion in  Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, not including flood damage. The hurricane destroyed homes, left people stranded on their homes, forcing some to carry sick relatives up through their attics, and forced relocations to football stadiums to avoid flooding. Many rescuers spent a significant amount of time helping those encompassed by the flood water. Overall, Hurricane Ike cause an immense amount of damage and took many human lives in the span of 14 days

 

Communication

I Found a hurricane Ike archive page, it is an archive of “the Official Page for the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management Announcements”. During Hurricane Ike and the aftermath, the stories change tone and frequency.  On September seventh (2008) to the tenth there were eight updates warning about a storm approaching and not recommending evacuation. On September 11th there were greater than ten postings talking about evacuation and preparation. Then on September 12th mandatory evacuation was ordered. Over ten stories were about preparation and visiting politicians. September 13th to 15th there were over ten stories talking about damages and many interviews politicians and school superintendents. On September 15th there were stories about power being restored and a mandatory curfew. Things seem to be fragile at this point, but improvements are steadily being made. More power is being restored but some water is not safe to drink. September 16th to 17th has many stories about power, road openings, and debris pickup. September 18 the stories shift to trying to return to normalcy. With stories like “Dickinson Municipal Court has advised those with payments or tickets due during the wake of Hurricane Ike contact the court immediately”, “Houston Mayor Bill White today announced that he has established a relief fund for victims of Hurricane Ike”, “The City of West University Place has lifted its Boil Water Notice” and “The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County today announced that its Park and Ride service has returned to operating on its normal schedule”.  On September 21st There are many stories detailing aid services and resources like the red cross. On the 22nd there are still a lot of stories they seem to be more positive “The City of Friendswood has issued an update on its recovery process and announced that less than 10 percent of Friendswood is without power”. From September 23rd to the 26th there is still and high influx of postings. They talk of funding and supplies to people before the focus was cleaning up storm damage. After the 25th only five more stories are posted the final update is given on October 31st.

(Management, Galveston County Office of Emergency. “Hurricane Ike Archive.” Guidry News, )

 

Vulnerabilities

Over 1.5 million people still didn’t have power on the 16th of September

Evacuation flights were suspended as airports were out of power and there were high winds

Highways were jammed and gas stations were out of service for weeks

Oil boats were stuck in a harbor and destroyed — they crashed into each other

Fires were started with destroyed machinery

There were many mandatory evacuations, but more than 100,000 people in Texas did not

Places in the Midwest weren’t prepared for the high winds and lost power for as long as a week

FEMA aid was late to many people who applied for loans and trailers

Hospitals were impacted and remained closed, so people were sick and many were unable to be treated

 

Future improvements

Strategies communities can use to prepare/protect themselves from future hazards like Ike are:

1. More storm drains

2. Making buildings and cities above sea level

3. Seawall

4. Reduce wetland degradation

5. Green infrastructure: walls, levees, and pumps

6. Making buildings resistant to high winds

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/09/how-to-build-hurricane-proof-cities/539319/

Implementations

The main barrier to many of the proposed strategies is funding, which is determined by the government. The only way to minimize this barrier is to petition the government to look at the past cost in damages and show them it would be much more cost effective to increase funding now and prevent those costly damages. Another barrier would be that the existing infrastructure sometimes prevents more storm drains, leeves, etc. This also calls back to the funding, because it could be done if there was enough funding. The only way to minimize this would be to increase funding and dedicate more manpower to get it done before another disaster makes all the work useless.

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