How many logistics problems are there that came from this disaster?
Identify and describe the type of errors in the response of organizations that provide supplies to the
Describe a new scenario of this operation if would be improved in the event that it occurs again in a
water front city in the US.
Then, make a recommendation on how to not repeat the mistakes that were documented for the
response to Hurricane Katrina.
National Disaster Management; Logistics and Strategies
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Disasters have hit the United States occasionally, and the government has put in measures
to lessen the impacts of the disaster. The national disaster management ensures reduction of
property and life losses by mitigating the effects of disasters. Therefore, hazard mitigation is
most effective when executed under the comprehensive and long-term management plan.
Thus, it is the role of federal, state and local governments to engage in disaster mitigation
planning process through risk identification and vulnerabilities associated with natural
disasters as well as developing long-term strategies that ensure people and property
protection from future events of disaster occurrences (Holguín-Veras, Pérez, Ukkusuri,
Wachtendorf & Brown, 2007).
Therefore, every government and company must develop disaster management plans
which improve education and public awareness around the risks and vulnerabilities; ensure
building of partnerships for risk mitigation encompassing organizations, public, businesses
and government; help in identification of long-term and widely-supported strategies for risk
mitigation; develop implementation procedures that focus resources on the most significant
vulnerabilities and risks as well as communicating priorities to potential sources of funding.
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This paper focuses on the findings of the supply chain or logistic issues that emerged afore
and directly after the Hurricane Katrina from the perspective of state and government as well
as organizations’ aid and volunteer groups.
Disaster poses severe logistical problems to agencies and support organizations, which
prepare for responding and recovering procedures. This is because disasters produce
turbulences that can turn normal conditions into sudden disorders. Therefore, the
circumstances make the delivery of critical supplies such food, medical and water extremely
challenging activity due to the severity of damages on both virtual and physical infrastructure
and the partial or non-existent transportation capability. Furthermore, under this context, the
recovery method becomes more problematic by the predominant knowledge inadequacy on
the nature and difficulties of the management logistics. Therefore, designing a reliable
management logistics approach is hindered by knowledge inadequacy about the informal and
formal logistics operations and interactions, methods for analyzing and coordinating the
flows of priority and non-priority supplies particularly the scientific methods of analyzing
systems of logistics under life-threatening situations (Holguín-Veras et al., 2007). This paper
evaluates the essential logistical problems that were encountered by the government and
organizations’ responding to Hurricane Katrina. Besides, the logistical challenges after the
Hurricane Katrina of August 2005 shocked the United States Gulf Coast. The disaster
provided vital lessons of the urgency to improve the logistics efficiency to the area of an
The critical logistical problems that surrounded the Hurricane Katrina included;
The magnitude of the Hurricane Katrina was a crucial factor for the logistics failures as it
was the major natural tragedy in the history of the United States. Researchers indicate that the
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volunteer organizations and government agencies were profoundly challenged by the size of
the disaster and the corresponding requirements. The victims’ number requiring aid services
increased faster than logistics organizations could support, resulting in difficulties in supplies
of food and shelter. Besides, other organizations such as the ARC had logistics systems,
which were not robust enough to respond efficiently to the disaster. Various critics argued
that the government lack the plans for response and recovery despite the warning of the
possible catastrophe. Disasters plans in place failed to consider the practical requirements and
consequences of the Hurricane Katrina.
Communication infrastructure collapse
The disaster damaged and made unworkable a considerable part of the infrastructure for
communication. Therefore, the complete failure in the regional communications systems
developed challenges for agencies coordination, logistics as well as search and rescue
activities. Network for coordinating and communicating activities within and among different
organizations was cut short due to the collapse of infrastructure, making emergency
responders’ activities extremely difficult. Besides, this resulted in the collapsing of the
“Internet-Based inventory system” known as the E-Team, which is significantly used for the
emergency requests. Thus, the state and local disaster officials lost essential constituent of the
“pull” system, which helped them to enter their requests for disaster, supplies. The service of
E-Team was re-established after three to four days, which had already made supply
transportation extremely difficult.
Lack of training and understaffing
The FEMA was experiencing the challenge of understaffing and reorganization making
the federal government fills in the staff gaps at the time. Besides, inadequate training and
experience accompanied the understaffing by the staff, which extremely impacted the federal
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government response operations. Most local officials were not proficient in using E-team.
The lack of suitable abilities made the tracing of the request deliveries and status more
challenging. Moreover, the nongovernmental organizations experienced inadequate staffing
and lack of incorporation between systems hindered response from FEMA as well as
encouraging local and state officials to depart the established supply procedures.
Inefficiencies in prepositioning resources
The federal agencies failed to have enough supply prepositioning which were critical
supplies for the emergency plan. Responding agencies failed to recognize enough logistical
positioning areas as well as regional performing positions.
Lack of planning for delivery and handling of donations
There was lack of a plan for dealing with donations and insufficient communication
between organizations and government. Besides, there were insufficient donation storage
facilities and arrangement of distribution for low-priority goods hampered more essential
Procurement inefficiencies and limited asset visibility
Procurement is a critical factor that explains the sluggish flow of essential supplies after
the first response. Delivery times were poor as logistic staffs were unfamiliar with specific
The occurrence of similar scenario can be improved through various strategies for
emergency mitigation management. The government must develop a comprehensive training
program that will provide skills to emergency providers to handle critical supply logistics.
The training program must test the abilities of the organizations to respond to natural
disasters. The government should create a robust national emergency logistics network to
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ensure supply requests and communications are done promptly (Whybark, 2015). Besides, it
is essential to develop a regional blanket for purchasing agreements to avoid procurement
delays that plagued the Hurricane Katrina. This should include national and regional
suppliers to use vehicles furnished with “GPS tracking devices to enhance asset visibility” at
all stages of logistic supplies. The government and aid organizations should implement
measures to improve asset visibility as well as establishing public awareness of logistical
resources even when there is lack of network connectivity. Besides, the emergency agencies
and aid organizations should develop regional agreements for prepositioning essential
supplies and ensure execution of robust plans for coordinating donation.
Furthermore, it is recommendable for the development of comprehensive disaster logistics
training program and establishing a robust network for national disaster logistics. Besides, it
is also recommendable to create a regional and local purchasing agreement for delivering
critical supplies in time. It is recommendable to ensure that the response vehicles are
“equipped with GPS tracking devices for asset visibility” at all stages of logistics
management (Whybark, 2015). Besides, to increase asset visibility, it is essential to develop
regional compacts for critical supplies prepositioning. Since most organizations lacked a plan
for donation, it is essential that all disaster agencies and organization implement proactive
donation plans for coordinating the flow of critical supplies. This should involve
comprehensive approach by all disaster stakeholders to understand the critical features of the
logistic system to improve the flow of information to the public.
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Holguín-Veras, J., Pérez, N., Ukkusuri, S., Wachtendorf, T., & Brown, B. (2007). Emergency
logistics issues affecting the response to Katrina: a synthesis and preliminary
suggestions for improvement. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the
Transportation Research Board, (2022), 76-82.
Whybark, D. C. (2015). Co-creation of improved quality in disaster response and
recovery. International Journal of Quality Innovation, 1(1),