Free Custom «Disaster Characteristics and Management Stages: Louisiana Floods» Essay Sample

Free Custom «Disaster Characteristics and Management Stages: Louisiana Floods» Essay Sample

Disasters are common global phenomena. Most people experience catastrophic happenings that lead to the loss of property or life or both to the magnitude that requires an extraordinary response from society. Significantly, disasters occur when people least expect them leading to deaths and injuries. These disasters can be either manmade, such as terrorism, or natural such as earthquakes and floods. More to say, disasters affect a large group of people within a short period. For instance, Cenciarelli et al. (2015) reported that the Ebola virus started in Guinea, and then spread to Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Mali within a few months in 2013. Therefore, learning the characteristics and prevention of disasters is fundamental. This paper examines the Louisiana flooding disaster, its type, characteristics, and finally, discusses the application of disaster management stages.

Louisiana Flooding Disaster

The current disaster that resulted in severe damages is the Louisiana flood. The flood occurred as the result of rainfall (May & Bowerman, 2016). Therefore, this disaster was naturally caused.


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Type of the Louisiana Flood

The Louisiana flood that happened in August 2016 was a natural disaster. In their book, Nies and McEwen (2014) identify flood as a type of a natural disaster. According to journalists May and Bowerman (2016), the flood resulted from the torrential downpour that caused the death of 13 people and the damage to 40,000 homes. Flooding is a severe natural disaster that leads to massive casualties in many parts of the world. For instance, a similar incident occurred in Brazil in 2011 where 900 people died (Mata-Lima, Alvino-Borba, Pinheiro, Mata-Lima, & Almeida, 2013). Therefore, the Louisiana flood had the potential to cause more casualties and destruction if the government had neglected it completely.

Characteristics of the Louisiana Flood

According to Nies and McEwen (2014), characteristics of a disaster can be classified into six categories. That is frequency, predictability, preventability, imminence, scope, and number of casualties and intensity. In this regard, this paper classifies the Louisiana flood into these divisions.

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Frequency. Frequency is how often the disaster occurs (Nies & McEwen, 2014). In Louisiana, some reports indicated previous catastrophes of such nature. For instance, in March 2016, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (2016) confirmed that there were severe storms and floods. Similar incidences occurred in July 2015, February 2013, and December 2009. Moreover, such occurrences coupled with hurricane, storms, and tornadoes had happened in previous years. Consequently, flooding is a common phenomenon in Louisiana that requires early preparedness to handle any emergency before it occurs. 

Predictability. Predictability of a disaster refers to the ability to tell whether the disaster will occur. Hersher (2016) contends that flooding is an expected incident in Louisiana. Hersher (2016) stated that several advisories were issued about the occurrence in southeastern Louisiana. However, the government did not take the initiative of warning the residents about floods. Therefore, from the frequency of the flooding in Louisiana, it is noticeable that it is predictable, considering the fact that such occurrences had often happened in the previous years.

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Preventability. In preventability, various actions are taken to avoid the disaster. Hewitt and Mehta (2012) ascertain that governments need to be aware and set priorities in making sure that disasters are prevented. Preventability involves primary prevention, which prevents the occurrence of a catastrophe, secondary prevention that is employed when a disaster has already occurred, and tertiary prevention that focuses on the recovery of the community. In the case of the Louisiana flood, it was challenging to prevent the floods since there was a lack of proper communication between the weather forecasters and the local government. Moreover, the magnitude of the catastrophe had never been experienced before.

Imminence. Imminence refers to the speed of onset of an impending disaster (Nies & McEwen, 2014). It often goes to the extent of the forewarning. In Louisiana, the weather service board had warned the government before the disaster occurred (Hersher, 2016). The rain magnitude was close the forecasted one. It rained for about three days, leaving more than 20 inches of water. No information regarding the response of nurses was given before the disaster. However, Loke and Fung (2014) argue that nurses need to be equipped with necessary skills to deal with disaster before they happen.

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Scope and number of casualties. The scope of the disaster describes the range of its effects. It involves the geographical area of the people affected by the catastrophe. Currently, no correct figure of the casualties is given. However, on August 18, 2016, Mary and Bowman (2016) reported that the disaster had killed 13 people and damaged 40,000 homes. Therefore, it can be seen that the disaster affected a large geographical area. However, no correct figure of the affected individuals is given.

Intensity. Intensity describes the level of destruction caused by the disaster. A White House report indicates that roads and bridges were damaged in addition to the over 40,000 affected homes (Griffin, 2016). As mentioned earlier, 13 people were killed, and an unknown number of people lost everything from their homes (May & Bowerman, 2016).

Application of Disaster Management Stages

Since disaster is a serious incident that leads to the loss of life and property, various measures must be put forward to deal with the catastrophes. There are three disaster management strategies such as prevention, preparedness, and response. Nurses must be conversant with these three stages (Nies & McEwen, 2014). Additionally, all the three stages apply to the Louisiana flood.

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Prevention. Despite the knowledge of the flooding hazard, there are no properly laid down plans for the state of Louisiana to prevent floods in the future. However, there is a plan by the federal government to assist the government of the state of Louisiana in preventing floods (Office of the Governor of Louisiana, 2016). Additionally, there is no information on the prevention of disasters by nurses in Louisiana. Jafari, Shahsanai, Memarzadeh, and Loghmani (2011) argue that health workers need to prepare always to handle disasters. However, it did not happen in this case. Additionally, there are ineffective communication strategies. The residents said that they were not warned despite advisories given by the National Weather Service Office (Hersher, 2016). This inadequate unpreparedness is dangerous because if there is a hazard of a similar kind again, which usually happens, the residents of Louisiana will face the same problems again.

Preparedness and planning. Preparedness and planning involve plans to deal with the disaster. Initially, there were several floods in Louisiana. However, they do not compare to the one that happened in August 2016. Perhaps, the effect could be seen when FEMA approved a budget of $205 million (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2016). Therefore, the government was not prepared enough to handle a severe disaster, and there were no effective plans.

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Response stage. The response stage commences instantaneously after a disaster occurs. After the catastrophe, people need to relax to wait for the aid (Nies, & McEwen, 2014). In the case of Louisiana, many people received help. The people were given water, meals, blankets, and shelter, and the President visited them (Griffins, 2016). Additionally, the government together with various stakeholders helped survivors open their businesses.


Disasters cause physical and psychological trauma when people are affected. People lose property; others die in the catastrophes, and many people lose their loved ones. In any disaster, preparedness and mitigation are necessary to curb the negative effects that disasters bring. Therefore, people can be prepared for a disaster, but the governments need to train people who must always be ready to act during emergencies. This watchfulness should happen because people cannot handle disasters on their own. Considerably, many disasters are beyond control such as the case of flooding in Louisiana. However, with adequate plans, people can get proper help even after a serious catastrophe.

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