Waveland's Katrina experience part of Congressional report - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Waveland's Katrina experience part of Congressional report


By Al Showers – bio | email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) – Hurricane Katrina's ground zero, the city of Waveland, captured the attention of a national committee studying communities in America hit hard by natural and man-made disasters. The results of the study will go to Congress.

Waveland leaders played host to that group Wednesday. Using photos, maps and graphics, Waveland Mayor David Garcia took committee members back to the city's darkest days after Katrina.

 "If you notice, it shows four foot of water inside this home that we logged as well," Garcia explained.

"Oh my goodness," one committee member commented.

Mayor Garcia explained to the group, "We had 23 people, total, perish. The majority of them were on the north side of the railroad tracks. When Katrina came ashore, it took water from that Gulf, 12 miles straight inland."

City leaders explained steps they've taken to protect lives and minimize property damage, should another powerful storm strike. The stumbling blocks hindering recovery of the area also came up.

"As you see Waveland today, it's coming back very slow. Because of the problem with purchasing wind insurance and flood insurance, people just cannot afford it," explained the mayor.

Committee members got the message.

"One of the things we're hearing is that the rebuilding process is slow and it requires patience," said Susan Cutter, Chairman of the National Research Council.

Cutter said her group is basically on a fact finding mission. The group has already visited Louisiana and plans to go to Iowa's flood zones and California's earthquake zones. 

"This is an 18 month study. And we hope at the end of the 18 months, we'll have a report that we can brief the federal government in terms of some actionable recommendations that we've come up with."

The group's report is expected to be ready for Congress in early 2012.

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