Katrina Revisited (Part 3)
A year after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and parts of the Gulf Coast, Chris Reynolds went back to New Orleans to evaluate the rebuilding efforts. During Katrina, Reynolds commanded an aero-medical team that evacuated sick and elderly New Orleans residents to nearby hospitals. Today, he is program director for emergency and disaster management at American Military University in Charles Town, W.Va.
Reynolds was shocked to discover that large parts of the city were worse than when he left them. Once-flooded parishes were now debris-strewn, abandoned slums. In the years following Katrina, a lot has happened--and not all of it good, says Reynolds. Michael Brown, the head of FEMA, was fired and new leadership took the helm. A story in The Washington Post on Sept. 6, 2005, called him the “accidental director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, caricatured as the failed head of an Arabian horse sporting group who was plucked from obscurity to become President Bush’s point man for the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.”
After 9/11, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002, creating the Department of Homeland Security. In 2003, FEMA was absorbed by the DHS in order to better deal with law enforcement, disaster preparedness and recovery, border protection and civil defense. In an effort to simplify things, the “
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