Colonel Lewis F. Setliff III of Army Corps has launched a web site exclusively for rebuilding New Orleans after Katrina. Colonel Lewis is concentrating on engineering and reconstruction that is required to rebuild New Orleans and about the difficulties faced by local residents, ways and means to overcome day-to-day problems. Katrina damaged New Orleans environment, businesses and economy contribution to the nation. Prior to Katrina New Orleans was a great place for tourists, corporate businesses to conduct business meetings and with this scope of tourism, restaurant business and aqua business in New Orleans were doing extremely well.
Katrina slowed down almost every activity of New Orleans apart from causing huge damage to homes, transport, spread of debris whereby residents had to sell homes, businesses and even closing down of schools in the early days after Katrina. Katrina brought a loss of 1,464 lives, 200,000 homes, 18,000 businesses and an insured loss of $ 25 billion. The U. S. Government estimated a budget of $200 – $300 billion for cleaning up activity in New Orleans. It is essentially important to rebuild New Orleans and bring businesses and economy growth to the regular profit making, and recover all the losses and relief funds that resulted from Katrina.
Responding to an argument, whether New Orleans should be rebuilt, necessarily gives out a fact that New Orleans businesses were contributing to the overall GDP growth of nation, although at a lesser percentage. Further natural disasters such as tremors, hurricanes, volcanoes cause damage to environment, it is by all means necessary to rebuild even at a slow pace. If rebuilding measures are not undertaken, it leads to further deterioration of state as well the life status of residents.
It also reflects the efficient governance of the government, if effective steps are not taken towards disaster management. Particularly, people seek help from government only in emergency where there is a serious concern in water log, debris, breakdown of electricity, telephone wires, cable network, drinking water supply, dilapidated condition of buildings and piling up of wind-blown dust, garbage, menace of mosquitoes, insects and rodents which is not an appropriate living condition and there are dangers that these might even spread out to other states as well.
With this scenario, there is an acute need in New Orleans for bringing back the normal life style, by fulfilling every need and want in New Orleans both at environment level and at citizens level. Particularly the grievances and embarrassing situations of citizens have to be dealt with, by providing complete package of solutions. Otherwise, people would begin to desert New Orleans and the gospel of ‘never come back’ may cause a greater harm to New Orleans. People talk about this (rebuilding) being an opportunity… It’s more than an opportunity: It’s an obligation to fix the housing problems that were there” (Sheila Crowley, President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition)
Rebuilding homes is a massive work of engineering and labor. Many of the areas of New Orleans are resided by low-income African American whose poverty levels are above 20%. Non-Profit Delta Housing Development Corp informed Congress that 40,000 households in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were in short of adequate plumbing before the storms.
The present situation of New Orleans is improving in restaurant business, aqua and social life of people is slowly recovering. There are huge plans from the Government to protect the city in giving a new shape and in cleaning up of environment. Further creation of jobs, providing small business help through voluntary organizations is an essential activity, as a measure of providing income source of those who lost jobs after Katrina. “Everyone should agree that the residents of the region need to get jobs that result from the rebuilding as much as possible”. Bill Bynum, Non-profit Enterprise Corp of Delta in Jackson) It has been constant struggle for evacuees to return back to New Orleans in finding a new home and new job.
Especially for families who have been residing in New Orleans with families, Katrina caused a great disruption in life, disturbed the progressive living conditions of family, specially children’s education, health and income status. Until New Orleans is rebuilt, poor families continue to struggle until provision for homes, medical aid, personal loan, reopening up of industries and businesses and encouragement of SBA for setting up of SMEs. Research indicates that following a technological disaster, communities are characterized by a lack of consensus about environmental change, general uncertainty, and social disruption (Gill and Picou, 1998) . Further people outside the community or area are impacted by the technological disaster are not capable of fully understanding the stress and trauma connected to the event. Consequently, they are unable to offer support” (Edelstein, 2000)
The government and voluntary organizations such as Red Cross International Economic Development Council must understand that it is the people who are affected by disasters and timely help is the hour of need when people are in dire need of monetary, health and medical aid. The rushing up of help must be thoroughly organized by allocating enough budget for each sect of need viz. , rebuilding infrastructure, homes, disposal of waste, medical aid, food aid or loans for starting small businesses. It is also important to monitor the management of relief funds that these funds are used to the fullest in rebuilding New Orleans.
Further, people must also begin to source self-help such as painting works, brick works, gardening, or cleaning up of schools, hospitals, small works such as these can very well be managed by local residents and inform voluntary organizations to meet requirements if any, in the vicinity. Government and non-profit organizations can extend very little whether it is funding or providing services, whereas it is for the people to begin to act courageously and work on every day basis to see that New Orleans is rebuilt. Disaster management requires both financial aid, voluntary service aid and emotional support to local residents.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicated in 2005 that there was a serious concern for major diseases and illnesses post-Katrina in the New Orleans area. People who lost lives in Katrina were mostly above the age of 75 years who were African-Americans. There were 1. 2 million evacuees from New Orleans who did not get any health-related problems whereas for those who could not evacuate, got affected with sicknesses by the impact of Katrina. Katrina destroyed 94 kidney dialysis clinics and out of these 27 remained closed until January 2006. Clemons 2006).
Apart from this, many hospitals and nursing homes were completely damaged bringing health care service to the point of zero level. Conclusion Going by the fact of natural disaster, there is a necessity to rebuild New Orleans with a supporting fact that, it is a huge resort for all kinds of major businesses that cannot be overlooked in any manner. Rebuilding New Orleans is advantageous for future in establishing further growth in employment, implementing new big and small businesses and for people to overcome low-income status levels.