Katrina: Did Federal Priorities Lead to a Slow Response?

November 2005 (VOL. 23, NO. 3)

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When a disaster occurs in the United States, citizens expect the federal government to support state and local agencies in responding quickly to mitigate the effects and to ensure the immediate safety and welfare of the community. But, in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina that is not how it has worked out. The reason may be a focus by the federal government on preventing terrorist events through crisis management while under-funding preparedness to handle the consequences of all types of disasters. A solution may be to separate FEMA into a cabinet-level agency tasked specifically with emergency preparedness and response.