Congressman Responds To House Report on Katrina - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Congressman Responds To House Report on Katrina

Unheeded warnings, poor planning, and apathy. A House investigation found that is what led to the slow emergency response from the White House down to local governments after Hurricane Katrina.

And that's not all the investigation determined. The draft report calls Katrina "a national failure, an abdication of the most solemn obligation to provide for the common welfare."

"If this is what happens when we have advance warning... we shudder to imagine the consequences when we do not. Four and a half years after 9/11, America is still not ready for prime time."

The House report was one of many topics Congressman Gene Taylor addressed at a Town Meeting in Bay St. Louis Monday night.

"I though that for a Republican Congress with a Republican administration, it was probably about 80-percent of the critique it should have been," Congressman Taylor said.

Congressman Taylor says one conclusion, that FEMA suffered from a lack of trained and experienced personnel, was right on target.

"It pretty well confirms the suspicions I had. I was down in South Mississippi the day of the storm, the days immediately after the storm. FEMA couldn't tell you when the next truck of MREs was coming, the next truck of ice was coming, where it was. They couldn't tell you when we were going to get a mobile morgue or a mobile hospital. It was truly amateur night," Congressman Taylor said.

The report called military assistance during the storm invaluable, but also concluded that the military failed to coordinate with state, local and other federal assistance organizations. Monday night, Congressman Taylor only had praise for our men and women in uniform.

"Half of the Mississippi National Guard was in Iraq during the storm. The other half did a magnificent job," Congressman Taylor said.

But even with the House's report, Congressman Taylor questions whether the federal government, FEMA in particular, will be able to handle the 2006 hurricane season any better should another catastrophic storm hit.

"I am not comfortable that FEMA's learned anything," Congressman Taylor said.

At Monday night's meeting, Congressman Taylor also pointed out that thousands of South Mississippians are still waiting for FEMA trailers nearly six months after the storm.

by Toni Miles

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