Class B Graham’s MOMs

Class B: Graham’s MOMs

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Class B: Graham’s MOMs

Graham (2015) explains that Maximum of Maximums (MOMs) are catastrophic natural and manmade events of large-scale destruction that cause unprecedented damage that goes beyond historical models, despite a nation’s excellence in preparing for such events. The author adds that even with premium preparedness, these events, also termed the mothers of all disasters end up killing thousands, disrupting economic activities for extended periods, and rendering large populations homeless without fundamental necessities. Graham gives several examples of such events, namely, huge hurricanes, earthquakes, nuclear terrorist attacks, and deadly epidemics.

Looking at the time relevance and locations of these examples, they do strike me as fundamentally different from Hurricane Katrina and the September 11 attacks. Both the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina exhibited some of the unique characteristics of Maximum of Maximums. Particularly, the two events were naturally catastrophic and resulted in extraordinary destruction and damage to life, property loss, and devastation of critical infrastructure. The aftermath of the two events was growing death tolls.

However, the nation seemed to ignore intelligence and misjudged the warning signs behind the growing threat of the terrorist attack, which means that it failed to prepare adequately for this event. Also, the forecasts issued by the National Hurricane Center after correctly predicted the strengthening of Hurricane Katrina were also ignored to some extent. What these mean is that in these two events nation was not adequately prepared to face respond to them. In that case, what differentiates Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 terrorist attack from Graham’s MOMs is a lack of the element of preparation as MOMs cause massive damage even with sufficient national preparedness. Graham’s posit regarding people’s inadequacies in preparing for disasters is correct as a lack of preparation permeates government institutions that should be in the vanguard of driving such preparedness, hence becoming a true paradox for disaster planners. What should be done is it to model, initiate, and reinforce nationwide predictive educational programs to augment the public’s ability to predict disasters while enhancing their readiness and resilience.


Graham, D. A. (2015). The Mothers of All Disasters. The Atlantic. Retrieved December 02, 2019, from