Lesson Learned from Katrina Recovery
After 2005’s Hurricane Katrina caused massive devastation in Mississippi, elected officials created the state’s Disaster Recovery Division. Afterward, Congress earmarked more than $5 billion in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for Katrina recovery projects in Mississippi.
Catastrophic disaster recovery planning and execution is a rare event that many professional emergency managers will never experience. Emergency Management magazine conducted an interview with Mississippi DRD officials to share the state's challenges, successes and what they would do differently in the future. Below are excerpts from Eric Holdeman’s article.
Question: What was the scale of the disaster impacts that Mississippi had to deal with following Hurricane Katrina?
Answer: There were an estimated 60,000 damaged or destroyed homes in the coastal counties, and this was largely due to the fact that Katrina’s storm surge sent water into places where no one, including FEMA, had ever envisioned water going. So Mississippians first saw that recapturing housing stock was going to be the biggest challenge. Since no one anticipated a surge of this scope, many of those households were not covered by flood insurance, a fact we addressed in our Homeowners Assistance Program.