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Cutting Red Tape and Helping Communities Rebuild

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate discusses how, in the years since Hurricane Katrina, the agency has accelerated the recovery by cutting through red tape, and getting money moving to important projects on the ground, from schools to police stations to hospitals to libraries and transportation systems.

Five years ago, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated communities across the Gulf Coast. Five years later, the communities are still working to recover and rebuild from the destruction and damage wrought by those storms. We know these efforts have been incredibly challenging and frustrating at times, but they have also been a powerful testament to the courage, hope and determination of the people of the Gulf Coast – and those across our country who helped.

The Obama Administration remains committed to supporting the people of the Gulf Coast in their ongoing efforts to rebuild stronger, vibrant communities. FEMA will continue to be a partner to the Gulf Coast region and support the ongoing work of our state and local partners, the private sector, and the numerous faith groups and non-profits throughout the region.  We’re also continuing to work with our federal partners to build on the improvements that have been made in recent years, accelerate the recovery by cutting through red tape, and get money moving to important projects on the ground, from schools to police stations to hospitals to libraries and transportation systems. We know a lot of work still lies ahead.

We’ve also taken a number of steps under the leadership of President Obama and Secretary Napolitano to aggressively prepare for hurricanes and other natural disasters.  By coordinating across all levels of government before a storm strikes, we can not only ensure a more robust federal response, but also give state and local officials access to the resources they need to help keep their community safe.  We can’t control when a hurricane or other emergency strikes, but by working together, we can ensure we’re prepared.
We created a web site,, to provide updates on these recovery efforts and honor the work of the states, local governments, residents, volunteers and many others over the last five years.  Recovering from a disaster the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina requires a team approach, and FEMA is only one part of the team, so this site provides only a snapshot of the overall work being done in the region.  Katrina survivors and volunteers from around the country have been and continue to be the biggest contributors to the Gulf Coast’s recovery.  Their impact simply cannot be measured, neither can the inspiration they have provided to all of us.

Please also take the time to visit to learn the few simple steps your family can take now so you are prepared before the next disaster strikes.

Craig Fugate is the Administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency

Read more from the Hurricane Katrina: 5 Years of Remembering & Rebuilding series.