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August 26, 2010
12:40 PM

Study: Nation Has Yet to Address Key Failures Exposed by Katrina

Leading Gulf experts to unveil new report on lingering flaws in disaster and recovery policy; say change needed now to continue Gulf renewal and protect lives in future disasters

WASHINGTON - August 26 - On the five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a new report finds that many of the problems exposed in the botched federal response to the storm -- from breakdowns in disaster planning to an often misguided and mismanaged recovery -- have yet to be addressed in Washington.

According to the report by the non-profit Institute for Southern Studies, Learning from Katrina, these key flaws in federal policy will stall Gulf Coast rebuilding and put lives at risk in future disasters unless the President and Congress take action soon. Among the issues addressed in the study:

* Poor disaster planning and response put thousands of Gulf residents in harm's way before, during and after Katrina. But after months of delays, FEMA is just now releasing its new disaster framework -- and it still omits internationally-recognized standards for protecting storm victims.

* Waste, fraud and abuse by private contractors hurt Katrina relief and recovery efforts and cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Despite widespread calls for contracting reform, federal officials have yet to beef up contractor investigations and oversight that can prevent future scandals.

* While most communities have turned the corner, the Gulf recovery remains fragile and uneven. Problems with affordable housing, schools and health care access are still big obstacles, and have been exacerbated by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and the BP oil disaster.

Go here for a full copy of the report:

On Thursday, August 26 at 1pm EST the Institute will host a one-hour media briefing to discuss key findings of the study and what's needed now for full Gulf Coast recovery.

Phone Briefing and Q&A with report authors and Gulf Coast experts on Learning from Katrina
- a look at federal disaster and recovery policy on the 5-year anniversary of Katrina

Thursday 8/26/10; 1pm EST/12pm CST

Leading Gulf Coast recovery experts including:
* Chris Kromm
- Report co-author and director, Institute for Southern Studies
* Monique Harden
- Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, New Orleans
* Reilly Morse - Senior Attorney, Mississippi Center for Justice, Biloxi
* Sue Sturgis
- Report co-author and lead researcher, Institute for Southern Studies
* LaTosha Brown
- Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health

To join the phone briefing and Q and A, please call: 1-800-369-1540; Code 25365#

For more information, please contact: Chris Kromm, 919-419-8311 x26 or

The Institute for Southern Studies is a non-profit media, research and education center based in Durham, N.C. The Institute publishes Facing South, the popular online magazine, and Southern Exposure, a print journal of politics and culture and winner of the National Magazine Award, two George Polk Awards and other prestigious honors. For more information please visit


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