As people rush to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey, it’s important to take a look at how philanthropy helped people during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and onwards. It’s also worth examining the lessons we learned from Hurricane Katrina about what kind of aid is most needed during a natural disaster and what issues could arise. Thanks to volunteers and donations, Hurricane Katrina victims were able to find help, which we can only hope also occurs with Harvey. When disaster strikes, charities are often some of the first people on the scene, working tirelessly to help those in desperate need.

What philanthropies did during Katrina

Almost immediately after the storm hit, multitudes of people headed to the city to help out. From individuals to businesses to large philanthropies, there were many groups in New Orleans offering help to those affected by the hurricane. Even today, many groups continue to head to New Orleans to help rebuild homes and other buildings. There are still parts of the city that aren’t even close to recovering, but there are many people who have not forgotten this fact and want to continue to help.

Where some organizations went wrong

When you talk to people who were there as events unfolded and organizations that tried to offer immediate help, there are a few lessons that have been learned from the errors made during Hurricane Katrina. One of these issues was the lack of communication. The resources were not in place to effectively communicate with organizations, emergency crews, hospitals, and those affected by the storm. People needed help but had no idea how to get it. Only some people had access to functioning phones and many charities had to find ways to get to those in dangerous situations that needed assistance. Another issue that arose was the lack of support and communication for local organizations from larger philanthropies who came to help. Instead of working together and learning about the community, some organizations merely did what they thought was best without planning for the specific situation.

What the city is like now

Since Katrina, New Orleans has been steadily working toward rebuilding itself. While the city is certainly not the way it was before and there is still damage from the storm, the city is thriving. There is a great market for entrepreneurs in the area and many people are steadily rebuilding their lives and careers and achieving success. A new levee system firmly protects the city, hopefully ensuring that nothing even close to Katrina ever happens again.

The disaster and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina helped teach the country a lot. Federal organizations, non-profits, and regular civilians learned much about how to be prepared when a disaster strikes. Hopefully, these lessons can be implemented whenever another tragedy occurs and we can avoid the degree of devastation we saw when Katrina landed.