National Geographic Channel examines how nature’s fury collided with politics during one of the deadliest hurricanes in American history. The Canadian premiere of Inside Hurricane Katrina goes beyond the round-the-clock news coverage to show a detailed view of what happened and why. Was this devastation caused as much by human error as by nature’s fury? Did politics and bureaucracy hinder response efforts? The one-hour documentary airs Saturday November 19 at 6 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT.
With access to six hours of newly-released audiotapes of officials reacting to the crisis, viewers can listen as plans for evacuation, shelters and food deteriorate into chaos and confusion. Officials at the local, state and federal level were making key decisions that in retrospect they now acknowledge should have been made much sooner.
The documentary also makes use of the first comprehensive analysis of events, just released by Louisiana State University, which reveals how this deadly storm attacked the Gulf Coast as if it were an invasion force, cutting off the communications and transport links, and eventually killing more than 1,000 people and leaving thousands homeless. The LSU study – authored by Dr. Ivor van Heerden – details the timeline of failure of the levees in Orleans Parish, giving a clearer and more precise picture of exactly what happened hour-by-hour – which proves dramatically different than earlier media reports.
Inside Hurricane Katrina asks the difficult questions: How did this happen? Can it happen again? Why did a government disaster exercise fail to prepare emergency personnel to respond to a real disaster? Do other American cities face similar threats of mass confusion if confronted by Katrina-like natural disasters or even terrorist events?
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