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Perhaps the most famous example of a governmental response to a recent natural disaster were the actions of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. The hurricane caused catastrophic flooding in New Orleans as water broke through the system of levies designed to protect the city, which is actually situated below sea level.
Poor emergency planning and unclear communication between city, state, and federal governmental officials regarding this disaster led to chaos in New Orleans for several days as countless people were displaced or even trapped by the floodwaters, which covered four-fifths of the city.
Because of the confused emergency response measures associated with Katrina, the head of FEMA, Michael Brown, resigned his post, and Louisiana's governor Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans' mayor Ray Nagin both received considerable criticism and scrutiny for their role in the situation.
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