Gulf Coast hurricanes past and present underscore importance of American manufacturing to national security
Seven years ago today Hurricane Katrina ambushed the city of New Orleans. The costliest natural disaster in American history, Katrina took lives, homes, businesses, ecosystems and in some cases neighborhoods. Levee and floodwall failures caused much of the damage sustained during and after the storm. And the aftermath exposed vulnerabilities in the nation’s preparedness for such events.
Hurricane Isaac pummels Louisiana as I write this. While New Orleans’ levees have held up, the infrastructure in other towns has not. According to NBC News:
Officials in Plaquemines Parish, where the surge overtopped an 8-foot levee, said National Guardsmen and even residents were trying to rescue people trapped in homes. Up to 60 people appear to be trapped, NBC's Gabe Gutierrez reported from the area.
'We have flooding, inundated four-to-nine feet in areas on that side' of the levee, parish emergency management official Guy Laigast told the Weather Channel. 'We've got homes that have been inundated. We have folks who are trapped in their residences.'
While the damage from Hurricane Isaac will likely not be as severe as that sustained during Katrina, it’s worth remembering that the United States is still unprepared for major blows to its infrastructure.
A recent study conducted for the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) found that the United States is at risk of being dangerously unprepared for serious emergencies because of the offshoring of critical manufacturing sectors and a reliance on foreign suppliers. The report concluded that the U.S. must revitalize its manufacturing capacity to reduce such vulnerability.
We often mention, at ManufactureThis, the importance of American manufacturing to the U.S. economy. It's just as important that we all remember American manufacturing is also vital to U.S. national security.
Image of Hurricane Isaac (left) and Hurricane Katrina (right) both from NASA Goddard Photo and Video's flickr page and used following Creative Commons guidelines.
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