Abolish FEMA? Storm Victims Aren't Sure That Will Work - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Abolish FEMA? Storm Victims Aren't Sure That Will Work

Drive through any south Mississippi neighborhood and you'll see two unmistakable sights -- crippled homes and white trailers. The debris came from Katrina's fury. The trailers came from FEMA's response.

William Brewer got his trailer in November, after eight feet of water soaked his Gulfport home.

"I would have to give them maybe a C+ or a B," the 86-year-

However, the U.S. Senate wasn't the least bit impressed with how FEMA reacted to Katrina's jolt. Earlier this year, senators visited Gulfport and heard about several FEMA issues that slowed down recovery efforts. A senate panel came up with a list of 86 recommendations to fix those problems.

One recommendation was to abolish the agency, and create a new National Preparedness and Response Authority.

Brewer understands that sort of reaction. But the retired colonel isn't sure it's the right reaction.

"I'd have to say that you either have to have FEMA or somebody and do the same job, maybe a little better, a little faster, I don't know,"

Despite a lot of good people coming to the area to run FEMA's on site offices, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott says they weren't enough to cover up the agency's poor execution.

"I think the idea of starting over is worth at least considering," the senator said from his Washingto

On Thursday's Midday program, FEMA representative Gene Romano defended his agency -- especially the way it responded to Mississippi's crisis. Romano was asked if was FEMA capable of handling major disasters. "Yes unequivocally yes,"

Back on Bayou Circle, Col. Brewer moved back into his revamped home. Because FEMA had answered most of his questions since the storm, he wasn't sure abolishing the agency, or changing its name was necessary.

"I think overall they've done a good job,"

Mississippi's chief disaster response official isn't sure FEMA should be abolished either. MEMA's Robert Latham said changing the agency's name may fix a perception, but it doesn't fix the problem. He believes FEMA needs funding and manpower.

"We don't need to reinvent the wheel," sai

by Brad Kessie

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