Breakdown of IT during Hurricane Katrina

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One of the main situations that occur after an extensive natural disaster is the need to restore not only the human elements of existence, such as housing, water and food; but also the need to restore the operational elements of a community, city or country that has been hit by the disaster.


They want to pool their knowledge and interpretations of the situation, understand what resources are available, assess options, plan responses, decide, commit, act, and coordinate. The heart of the network is the communication system they use and the ways they interact within it" (16).
There are five elements that make up an HFN which includes "(1) a network of people established rapidly (2) from different communities, (3) working together in a shared conversation space (4) in which they plan, commit to, and execute actions, to (5) fulfil a large, urgent mission" (Denning, 16-17).
The basis for forming an HFN for quick responses to emergencies or an urgent task, then disbanding the entire group upon completion of the desired outcome is not an entirely new concept as historically, an HFN has become a necessity in such devastating events such as: "(1) the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack that took 2,749 lives which resulted in severe economic impact, especially to airlines, and a stock market loss of $1.2 trillion, (2) the December 26, 2004 tsunami from a 9.1 earthquake that took over 283,000 lives, (3) the August 29, 2005 category-5 hurricane Katrina, which knocked out electric and communication infrastructure, over 90,000 square miles of Louisiana and Mississippi and displacing 1.5 million people" (Denning, 15)
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