Natural Disasters vs Terrorist Attacks

Comparison and Contrast Essay


A number of natural disasters have struck the United States causing significant losses. Notably, natural disasters are natural phenomenon that is attribute with a lot of damages to infrastructure and property and as well kills many people including other living organism. Natural disasters such as the attack on World Trade Center commonly known as the 9/11 attack as well as the Hurricane Katrina of New Orleans are major natural disasters that significantly impacted the United States (Kates, Colten, Laska, & Leatherman, 2006). Since the occurrence of these disasters, it made a significant change in the United State government towards disaster preparedness and management. The terrorist attack that occurred in on September 9th on the World Trade Center was staged by nineteen terrorists who hijacked four United States airplanes then intentionally crashed one of them into the south and also north towers leading to a significant destruction of property and death of about 2,977 people (The Washington Post et al., 2001). Similarly, in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans resulting in an aftermath of more than 1800 lost lives that was however ranked to be the costliest natural disaster that ever happened in the United States (Kates et al., 2006). This paper compares and contrasts the extent of damages caused by the attack on World Trade Center and the Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.


Cause a lot of deaths

Both these two natural disaster cause a huge number of deaths in the United States in their respective affected areas. In the Hurricane Katrina, its aftermath led to a total death of approximately 1836 comprising of 1577 people from Louisiana and 238 people from Mississippi (Hawkins & Maurer, 2009). Actually, majority of these victims were the main United States citizens. Moreover, a number of people are still reported missing. For the attack on World Trade Centre, approximately 3,000 people also died (Griffin, 2010). This was the worst calamity that caused a high number of deaths out of terrorism incident that has ever occurred in the United States.

Destruction of infrastructure and property

The two natural disasters caused a lot of damages to the infrastructure and properties. The Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans resulted in destruction of property estimated to be worth $81 billion (Kates et al., 2006). This is a significant destruction of property which lead to a lot of people being homeless as well as costing a lot of losses to the United States government. Similarly, the attack on the World Trade Center caused countless property damage too. Twenty one libraries within World Trade Center were destroyed, numerous art work and monuments as well as the adjustment offices neat World Trade Center were destroy (The Washington Post et al., 2001). The entire World Trade Centre was brought to the ground.


The aftermath of both disasters led to increased unemployment rates. In essence, the survivors of these disasters were rendered jobless due to the destruction of property cause by these disasters which damaged their places of work. For the Hurricane Katrina, the area impacted by the hurricane was supporting about one million non-farm jobs though after the disaster occurring thousands of the residents of that area were rendered jobless by the hurricane (Hawkins & Maurer, 2009). About 100,000 jobs in the lower Manhattan region were lost in the World Trade Center attack as a result of the destruction of the attack that occur (The Washington Post et al., 2001).


The geographical coverage of the affected area

The Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans affected a wide area while the attack on World Trade Centre affected a small area. The Hurricane Katrina affected a wide area impacting two different location, Mississippi and Louisiana. This is a wide area coverage as compared to World Trade Center Attack. Its impact covered 90,000 square miles (Kates et al., 2006). The coverage of the disaster for the World Trade Center attack just covered the as small radius only affecting the building adjacent to the twin towers (Griffin, 2010). The disaster was concentrated on the World Trade Centre and its immediate surroundings.

Economic Loss

The economic impact on the United States government is quite higher for the World Trade Center attack than the Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The economic loss recorded out of the World Trade Center on the United State economy is a total $11 trillion (The Washington Post et al., 2001). The attack stirred and economic impact on the world economic markets as well as the international confidence in investing in the United States. On the other hand, the Hurricane Katrina, the economic impact that was accounted for both Mississippi and Louisiana is more than $150 billion (Hawkins & Maurer, 2009). This led to a significant economic suffering across in the affected states.

Nature of the disaster

The nature of the two disasters are different. For the Hurricane Katrina is a natural phenomenon caused by natural activities whereas World Trade Centre attack is an anthropogenic disaster caused by human activities. The World Trade Centre attack disaster was stage by nineteen terrorist who rammed a plane into the World Trade Centre causing the disaster (The Washington Post et al., 2001). For the Hurricane Katrina it was a natural calamity caused by wind storms from the ocean that lead to the disaster (Hawkins & Maurer, 2009).


In essence, both Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the World Trade Centre attacked are major disaster of the United States that caused a lot of property damage, loss of life and significant economic loss. These are the most perceived disasters to be the turning point of the United States disaster management. Despite their difference in their nature, Hurricane Katrina and the attack on World Trade Center remain to be the most devastating disasters in the United States.