[StBernard] Landrieu Comments on Late-Night Release of National Disaster Housing Strategy

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Mon Jan 19 15:17:14 EST 2009

Landrieu Comments on Late-Night Release Of National Disaster Housing

WASHINGTON - United States Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., today made the
following comments about yesterday's late-night release of the Federal
Emergency Management Agency's National Disaster Housing Strategy (NDHS). In
July, FEMA released a version of the NDHS - 13 months after the legal
deadline by which it was required - with significant shortcomings. In
particular, an analysis of the NDHS revealed seven completely blank annexes,
and that FEMA had yet to identify a reliable alternative for housing a
substantial number of evacuees from large-scale catastrophes such as
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the federal levee failures that followed.

Sen. Landrieu made these remarks:

"They have a saying in Washington to describe the release of bad news on a
Friday evening - they call it 'taking out the trash.'

"Last night at 10 p.m., FEMA notified my staff that it would finally release
a version of the National Disaster Housing Strategy (NDHS) complete with the
seven annexes that were missing when they initially released the report in
July. At 10:21 p.m., the strategy was released.

"I am disappointed that in the final hours of its term, this administration
waited until the Friday night before Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and the
Inaugural ceremony to release a report that is so critical to enabling FEMA
to handle catastrophic disasters. It is as if they hoped they could release
the report without anyone noticing.

"My staff is reviewing the document to see that it is consistent with the
legal requirements set out in the Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform
Act (PKEMRA). Already, the staff has found that Annex Six, in which FEMA was
required to list any new authorities it needs to improve its performance,
remains completely blank. We are still reviewing the rest of the document.

"I will say this; we do not know when the next catastrophe will strike. The
complete Strategy was required by law to be submitted to Congress in July of
2007. A year and a half has now passed since that deadline was missed, and a
year and a half more time wasted before FEMA is fully prepared to handle a
catastrophic housing crisis. I intend to call FEMA before the Subcommittee
on Disaster Recovery to publicly examine the NDHS and ensure that it meets
legal requirements. And, as we head into a new administration, I am prepared
to work with Secretary-designate Napolitano and other leaders to ensure that
FEMA will be stronger and better prepared than ever."

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