Hurricane Rita's Six Month Anniversary

Six months after Hurricane Rita roared ashore along the Texas-Louisiana border, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says if not for Hurricane Katrina, Rita would have been the hurricane of the decade and the one getting all the media attention. Houston Public Radio's Rod Rice reports.

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While Katrina steals the post-storm spot light, FEMA's Deputy Director of Gulf Coast Recovery, says because of Katrina the Rita response was more efficient.

"Because we had some response assets that were pre-positioned here, quite frankly from the public's perspective because they understood the importance of evacuations and getting out of harms way, we dodged a lot of bullets there and benefited significantly by the Katrina response."

Gil Jamieson says one reason the media focuses more on the Katrina recovery effort is because Rita's recovery has been much better and that's not what makes news. Some have said that more money has gone to Katrina's victims than has gone to Rita's. FEMA's Texas co-coordinator Butch Smith says that true and it isn't.

"I think if you look at the numbers of victims in Louisiana and Mississippi from Katrina and the number of victims in Texas from Rita, those are different numbers so from that perspective there may be a difference in the assistance provided. But if you go on an individual by individual, with regard to what the FEMA programs under the Stafford Act allows us to provide to those victims it's the same, it's virtually the same."

Gil Jamieson says while Rita's six-month anniversary is a time to look back it is also time to look ahead.

"Next week FEMA is going to be kicking off significant evacuation planning issues working with our local and state evacuation partners to make sure we're in a good preparedness posture for the 2006 hurricane season."

Jamieson says FEMA is also restocking resources in the area in case they are needed later this year.

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