The Trauma Lines Blog

Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists

Katrina…5 years later

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As we approach the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the emotions of residents are mixed, the stages of recovery are farther along in some areas versus others and let’s not forget that the Gulf shores have recently been struck with another major disaster in which they’re still picking up the pieces.

But FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says that five years later, FEMA is far more prepared for any disaster that comes their way. However, Fugate is still urging Americans to still make sure they’re prepared:

While FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said he believes his agency is prepared for whatever comes his way, he urged people to take their own steps to be ready for a disaster in case the government cannot reach them quickly to provide assistance.

“People are always asking is FEMA ready, is FEMA prepared as if, if FEMA were prepared, suddenly magically everything gets better,” Fugate said in an interview this week ahead of his trip to the region. “Here’s my question, are people prepared?”

Yet future preparations can’t do anything to help the residents of the hurricane-ravaged area who say that government resources and donations are beginning to dry up too quickly:

“There are still a lot of homes being rebuilt, but the process is slowing down,” [Kurt Jostes, director of development for RAI Ministries] said.

Grant money and insurance proceeds have dried up. The recession hasn’t helped, either.

Post Katrina, FEMA was widely criticized by many, saying their relief efforts were unorganized and insufficient to even begin with. Yet as Fugate suggested, it’s the people on the ground — your neighbors, the countless volunteers — that have the ability to work swifter and faster than the government:

“If you’re looking for somebody else to take care of you in a disaster, there may not be somebody else fast enough,” he said, noting some of the quickest rescues immediately after Katrina were done by neighbors, not the government.

Brenda Murphy, editor-in-chief and publisher of Jambalaya News, a free, bilingual newspaper published every other week, said “This is the new New Orleans life,” referring to the city’s new residents who have traveled to the Gulf to help rebuild the Crescent City.

While many of the cities and towns damaged by Hurricane Katrina are mere skeletons of what they once were, the pride and determination of the residents — both new and old– seems to be intact. 

Some things never change.

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Written by traumalines

August 25, 2010 at 8:38 pm

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