Admiral Thad Allen says the overwhelming impact of Hurricane Katrina creates a huge responsibility for him. But he says his job boils down to a simple task: making sure each state gets the resources they need from the federal government. "We're here to support them as best we can. My job is to come to Mississippi, make sure I know what's going on on the ground here, I've been here a couple of times," he says.
During those visits, the admiral saw what a wreck Katrina made of the Coast, the people left homeless, and the challenges ahead. "The immediate challenges we have is to restore the basic utilities, sewage, water, that sorta thing, get people out of shelters into temporary housing, get travel trailers set up where people can move into that cause they wanna get back near their homes, they wanna rebuild," Allen says.
Allen says housing is the biggest need right now and in just the month since the storm he sees a lot of progress. "You've had tremendous success and you've proceeded very, very well. You use the trailer parks, gettin' your people into travel trailers, gettin' your key people into places where they can help the communities. I think it's been terrific."
Allen promises more housing and other help is on the way. Allen and new acting FEMA Director David Paulison met briefly in Biloxi to discuss recovery efforts along the Coast. They left together after lunch to meet with Governor Haley Barbour in Jackson.