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Ike Response Committee Holds First Hearing

After Hurricane Katrina a few years ago, FEMA was roundly criticized for what many considered a botched response during the recovery. In the aftermath, leadership was changed and policies adjusted to make things easier in the future. Well today state lawmakers met to discuss FEMA's response to Hurricane Ike. Bill Stamps tells us what happened.



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Most people who watched FEMA respond to Hurricane Katrina three years ago would give it a low grade for its actions. Although FEMA did much better with Hurricane Ike, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee doesn’t give it an A this time either.

“I believe that this hurricane preparedness and hurricane response is a movie in the making. And we can do better.”

How does the government do better when the next hurricane hits Texas? That’s what state lawmakers were trying to find out. Like this exchange between state representative Harold Dutton and Houston Mayor Bill White about pod center locations.

“How do you decide where to place these pods and whether or not we outta have some sort of criteria in place that helps local governments decide where to place the pods.”

“Every disaster is a little bit different so if you put your feet in cement thinking it will look like that last disaster maybe it won’t.”

Congressman Al Green testified about the need to get more organizations involved in the planning process instead of government leaders.

“It’s great to be there at Revelations, but it’s also good to be there at Genesis. I’m hopeful that at the Genesis we can have churches involved, we can civic clubs involved, we can community organizations.”

With the new Obama administration soon to take over, Congresswoman Jackson Lee sees even better days ahead for FEMA.

“I believe President Obama is very sensitive to the quick response needed in hurricanes.  He was one of the first to be in Louisiana after Hurricane Ike.  He’s gone several times. I know that he wants to see a rapid response, efficient response, well-funded response. I imagine under his administration you will have a finely-tuned with a greater level of leadership going throughout FEMA”

Bill Stamps, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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