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FEMA's Craig Fugate on the Katrina's 5th anniversary

By Ed O'Keefe


"In big disasters, I ain't going to be here," says Fugate, who keeps his FEMA office sparse with Florida Gator mementos. (Bill O'Leary/Post)

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, profiled by The Eye in today's Post, took a break from his ongoing tour of the Gulf Coast region to answer reader questions about the agency's work since Hurricane Katrina:

(RELATED: 10 things I learned about Craig Fugate)

Austin, Tex.: It seems one of the major failures during Katrina was the lack of cooperation and focus between the local, state and fed government. Who is really in charge during a crisis like Katrina and what, if anything has changed in how governments deal with each other and make decisions?

Craig Fugate: Generally in a disaster it's local government supported by the states supported by the federal government but we can't wait for. Disasters are local but it never meant that local governments were by themselves. We have to work better as a team when disaster strikes at all levels of government. There shouldn't be a division between the local, state and federal government.

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Arlington, Va.: Will FEMA expand and do more international responses like the Haiti earthquake? How do domestic responses translate to international responses? Are they similar?

Craig Fugate: FEMA will continue to support the U.S. AID as required but many disasters have common elements that we are trained for such as search and rescue.

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Heckuva a job Brownie!: Do you think FEMA has shaken the negative image it got because of the response to Katrina?

Craig Fugate: I'm not sure but I'm more concerned about working to make FEMA stronger before the next disaster strikes.

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Atlanta, Ga.: We all remember the fraud and waste associated with the FEMA credit cards distributed during the aftermath of Katrina. What procedures are in place to prevent fraud and waste in this new round of federal funding for Gulf Coast reconstruction?

Craig Fugate: You have both the oversight of the Dept. of Homeland Security inspector general as well as the Government Accountability Office as well as the oversight of Congress as well as FEMA working closely with the state and the applicants to ensure that we fund the eligible cost.

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Storms on the horizon: How is New Orleans being prepared for the next Katrina?

Craig Fugate: I think the efforts of both the local officials as well as the state continue to improve the state's ability to respond to future disasters as well as the support from the federal government.

Read the full chat and leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 26, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Comments

Not to detract attention for the anniversary, but I hope people around the nation understand that Governor Bobby Jindal and Louisiana's state legislature have created yet another man-made disaster that is poised to do extensive long-term and perhaps irreparable damage to the state's pubic institutions of higher education. The University of New Orleans, for example, the city's only public research university, had to take drastic actions after Hurricane Katrina that included laying off many tenured faculty members. If nothing changes, UNO will have to do that again five years later. If that happens -- and it looks like it will -- it will be nearly impossible for the university to attract high-quality faculty members in the future. Jindal's political ambitions are keeping him from addressing the revenue side of the state's budget problems. States and schools all around the country are struggling mightily in this economy, but higher education here has been gutted over and over again in recent years, and the worst is yet to come if nothing changes. Keep than in mind when listening to Mr. Jindal talk about recovery.

Posted by: mgear | August 27, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

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