The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Katrina Plus Five


Author of the just-released book Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six, Flaherty said today: "I'm concerned about those who have been kept out of most discussions of the city's future. More than 100,000 former New Orleanians remain displaced in 5,500 cities across every U.S. state. A recent survey found that 75 percent of African Americans who were displaced wanted to return but feel they are being kept out -- mostly by economic issues. These are the stories that have not been heard."

Co-director of the Louisiana Justice Institute, Washington said today: "There are areas of remarkable rebuild that tend to be highlighted; but areas like the Lower Ninth Ward, Gentilly, Pontchartrain Park, New Orleans East and St. Bernard's Parish have not seen the promised help. We've had a red-lined recovery."

Kromm is director of the Institute for Southern Studies, which just released a report titled "Learning from Katrina: Lessons from Five Years of Recovery and Renewal in the Gulf Coast." The report "finds that many of the problems exposed in the botched federal response to the storm -- from breakdowns in disaster planning to a misguided and mismanaged recovery -- have yet to be addressed in Washington.

"What's more, 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 critical 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 Gulf communities have turned the corner, the 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."

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.