One of the worst natural disasters in recorded history was Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane is regarded as one of the biggest hurricanes that proved to be expensive in terms of management throughout history, but particularly in the United States of America. It held the record for the most catastrophic hurricane to impact the United States of America until hurricane Harvey, which struck the country's gulf coast in 2017, proved to be even worse (O'Keefe, 2017). The major hurricane that ended the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was Hurricane Katrina, the 11th named storm overall. According to history, the storm originated from the Bahamas on August 23rd following an interaction which occurred between tropical ten and tropical depression ten remnants.

The following day the storm grew up into a tropical storm Katrina headed to Florida. After two hours the storm had intensified into a full hurricane eventually spreading on 25th to Hallandale beach and Aventura. The storm continued deepening and moved to the Gulf of Mexico on 26th where it had started to become more disastrous than in the previous regions. The storm fully intensified over the Gulf of Mexico waters but eventually weakened on 26th to a category 3 hurricane in southeast Louisiana. The storm caused mass destructions in major towns around Texas to Mississippi whereby massive property was destroyed which included boats, houses and cars which were situated in the coastal regions. The storm was recorded as the most intense in historical books with water rising up from 6 to 12 miles from the beaches (O'Keefe, 2017). As a result, about 1245 people were killed following the large floods which covered the entire regions with most of the population being women and children. Massive property was also destroyed which according to analysis was estimated to a total of $108 billion.

After analysis, it was found out that the increase in the number of deaths noted was as a result of various breaches committed by New Orleans surge hurricane protection. According to expertise knowledge, most of the deaths were also caused by levee and floodwall failure. All the major analysis conducted proved that the designers and constructors of the levee system had committed breaches by constructing a poor system in a move to cut down the costs. However, the court in January 2008 disputed claims on the liability of the designers to the deaths. The aim of this article is to provide a clear overview of the different roles played by the American Red Cross in disaster management. In addition, analysis on the various challenges is very essential in order to draw a good conclusion with respect to the Katrina hurricane.

Role of American Red Cross in Case Management during the Hurricane

Disaster case management is normally a field which is usually neglected in most countries. Owing to the aforementioned fact many countries normally find themselves in challenging situations when disasters strike. As a result most deaths normally occur due to poor disaster management techniques in terms of responsiveness to the disasters at hand. According to the hurricane Katrina which occurred in 2005, a study explored from various case managers and supervisors based on the on the needs on the hurricane survivors drew conclusions that successful case management is normally attributed to adequate client motivation and availability of enough resources (Grube & Davies, 2017). Among the factors that were noted to be the greatest survivor needs comprise of housing, employment and transportation.

Following the hurricane Katrina disaster and the resultant floods which were associated with the catastrophic incident, hundreds of residents in the United States mainly the low income earners were forcibly displaced. Owing to the incident many up to now are still trying to recover to their normal life. In a move to assist the victims of the hurricane disaster, the American Red Cross provided over 3.8 million overstays in shelters in a move to accommodate disaster victims. Following the huge catastrophic hurricane, most of the houses were destroyed by the floods. As a result most of the residents since they were low income incomers they could not be able to immediately find alternative housing facilities. The American Red Cross was noted to have provided such facilities up to seven times higher than any other disaster in history (Grube & Davies, 2017).

Moreover, the Red Cross was also able to provide 68 million meals and snacks to the hurricane victims. Most of the victims were low income earners and could not find alternative sources of food. In a move to support the victims, the Red Cross strategized on offering meals to the victims in order to comfort them. The aforementioned support was absolutely supported by different interested agencies and recorded as the best ever since it was four times more than any other similar disaster support provided before. In addition, the kind of support Red Cross offered was extremely congratulated since it offered up to one million meals in a single day.

As part of case management support service, the Red Cross also offered emergency financial assistance to about 1.4 million families. According to history, the support offered in times of financial support was 20 times more than any other similar support ever offered in Katrina. It is imperative to note that the American Red Cross even continued to offer support after the hurricane (Kusz, 2017). The Katrina hurricane left survivors in devastating situations which warranted continuous support in years to come. In a move to remedy the aforementioned situation, the Red Cross opted to set up a program by the name hurricane recovery. The main objective of the program was to improve the lives of the victims of the Katrina hurricane. This kind of help was not offered specifically to victims within the immediate vicinity but also other persons in nearby cities.

America Red Cross Failure in Case Management during Katrina Hurricane

Despite the Red Cross performing the numerous tasks in disaster management in a perfect way, there were a number of particular areas in which they failed to comply with the relevant ethics. According to the internal report generated based on the operations during the Katrina hurricane, it was noted that there was a failure in the Red Cross logistics system. The aforementioned failure was as result of failure in the system not being able to expand rapidly enough to meet the demand during the disaster. Most of the supplies to areas of the vicinity were dispatched without prior knowledge of the actual demand (Grube & Davies, 2017). The resultant of the poor methods of dispatching supplies was due to the fact there were inadequate personnel with expertise knowledge in terms of logistics. Most of the volunteers who were assigned with the responsibility in logistics department lacked adequate training. As a result, numerous shortages and inefficiencies were experienced during the disaster management programme.

Another problem that occurred was in terms of staff recruitment. Although there were numerous volunteers and around 12000 paid staff. Most of them were put on the waiting list and others turned away. As a result, there was a lot of deficiency in terms of personnel. Moreover, most of the personnel also complained that despite them being trained they were offered jobs in different departments (Kusz, 2017). Owing to the aforementioned discrepancies the level of personnel performance was at the lowest level due to the mismatch in the duties and the training offered. Criticism also rose on the way Red Cross offered support to people with special needs like the elderly and disabled. Some groups such the religious and civic groups complained that despite the Red Cross having received bulk Katrina donations, the organization seemed to share little in addressing the community needs.

Ways in Which America Red Cross Used “System Thinking”

Following the catastrophic incidence, most families were displaced and needed adequate support. In a move to remedy the current situation imposed by Katrina hurricane, the Red Cross organization had to rethink of ways to offer support to the victims affected. Through systems thinking, Red Cross formulated plans which were to be followed. First and foremost the first step was to offer shelter to the disaster victims. Most victims had been misplaced and did not have accommodation. In offering them mental support and consolation they had to first be provided shelter. After being housed the company had to strategize on ways of providing the victims with adequate food. Food and shelter are the basic human needs hence for every human being to be satisfied they must be provided.

Moreover, the organization had to set funds which could cater for emergency situations. These funds were to be offered to victims who were need of financial assistance. The Red Cross Company had different strategies of obtaining funds for the whole program. In a move to get funds donations were sourced from different donors under the Katrina donations (Bleemer & Van der Klaauw, 2017). This entire program was well planned since funds were also set for continuous support of the victims up to a point where they would go back to their normal lives.

Coordination between America Red Cross and External Systems

Effective incident and disaster response are normally attributed to efficient coordination between related departments. Soon after the hurricane Katrina catastrophe, the American Red Cross tried to coordinate with different state and federal agencies. Both the state and local authorities knew how devastating the situation was and were determined to assist the Red Cross Company in the evacuation support. Federal officials were quick to offer support to the numerous numbers of citizens who were stranded in the rising water levels and huge floods. In addition, they were offering a law enforcement service which is normally the work of state and local governments.

However, the all process seemed in efficient due to poor communication infrastructure and poor disaster preparedness. Normally the federal should not be the first respond to disasters. It is normally the work of the state and local government to handle such situations. In Katrina hurricane situation the state and local government failed in their part since they did not offer the relevant support needed (Kusz, 2017). The federal always assist if situations worsen since they are noted to have better resources in terms of disaster management. Hence their services are only needed after the state and local government have responded. According to the catastrophic disaster of Katrina hurricane, the external systems proved in efficient to offering support to the America Red Cross.


Following the incidents before and after the hurricane Katrina, it is important to note that most of the increase in deaths was as a result of poor disaster handling techniques. The disaster claimed more lives due to the lack of adequate measures in preparation for natural calamities. The aforementioned unpreparedness is clearly seen in the poor collaboration and poor communication infrastructures between different relevant authorities. In order to avoid similar cases in future relevant organizations should design strategies which will be able to counter catastrophic incidents like the hurricane Katrina. Moreover, since the greatest contributor to the inefficiencies in disaster handling is human personnel. The relevant Red Cross personnel in different countries should be effectively trained in order to be able to deal with disasters efficiently. Another major issue noted in the hurricane catastrophe is ignorance of designers and constructors in America. Most of the flooding was attributed to levee and floodwall failure. Due to corruption, the constructors had opted to reduce the costs related to the projects in order to increase their financial gains. As a result, they ended up constructing poor facilities which in turn increased the level of calamities. In a move to remedy such situation, the government in different countries should always have a follow-up and seek expertise knowledge once projects are completed.


Bleemer, Z., & Van der Klaauw, W. (2017). Disaster (over-) insurance: the long-term financial and socioeconomic consequences of Hurricane Katrina.

Grube, L. E., Haeffele-Balch, S., & Davies, E. (2017). The Organizational Evolution of the American National Red Cross: An Austrian and Bloomington Approach to Organizational Growth and Expansion. In The Austrian and Bloomington Schools of Political Economy (pp. 103-119). Emerald Publishing Limited.

Kusz, K. W. (2017). Standing in the need: culture, comfort, and coming home after Katrina.

O'Keefe, P. (2017). Is This America? Katrina as Cultural Trauma; Oil and Water: Media Lessons from Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Disaster; Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith: New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina; Hurricane Katrina and the Forgotten Coast of Mississippi. The AAG Review of Books, 5(2), 121-125.

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