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The First Year After Hurricane Katrina: What the Federal Government Did

London Ave Canal in New Orleans, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mark

Here is a partial account of federal agencies' response in the first year following the August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster.

For information about continued progress, read about FEMA's Gulf Coast Recovery Office.



On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast of the United States. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which hit one month later, were two of the most intense hurricanes ever recorded in the nation’s history. The storms had a massive physical impact on the land, affecting 90,000 square miles – an area the size of Great Britain. Over 80 percent of the city of New Orleans flooded. 

More than 1.5 million people were directly affected and more than 800,000 citizens were forced to live outside of their homes – the largest displacement of people since the great Dust Bowl migrations of the 1930s.

Rebuilding Communities

Meeting Long-Term Housing Needs

Providing flexible Federal grants to States
At President Bush’s request, Congress has provided a total of $16.7 billion in Federal funds under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program to help rebuild damaged housing and other infrastructure. This unprecedented program represents the largest single housing recovery program in U.S. history.

  • HUD has been working with leaders in hurricane-impacted States to target these CDBG funds to help redevelop the region and to assist hurricane victims to rebuild their homes safer or to relocate.
  • HUD developed critical, detailed data to help policymakers at the Federal, state and local level on the extent of housing damage in the Gulf Region, for renters, homeowners, and businesses.
  • HUD approved the States’ rebuilding plans in record time and will continue to carefully manage the use of the Federal grant dollars:
    • On April 4, 2006, Secretary Alphonso Jackson approved Mississippi’s initial Disaster Action Plan to distribute $3.4 billion in CDBG funds. The state is making one-time grants of up to $150,000 to aid households whose primary residences were located outside of pre-Katrina designated flood zones; eligible homeowners will also receive grants of up to $30,000 to defray costs associated with elevating homes to meet new hurricane-safe building codes. Mississippi is using its additional $1.6 billion to assist public housing authorities and to address other unmet infrastructure and disaster-related recovery needs.
    • On May 1, 2006, Secretary Jackson approved Alabama’s supplemental CDBG Disaster Action Plan and awarded the state $74 million. The state will distribute funds to local jurisdictions and Indian tribes to address housing and infrastructure needs.
    • On May 9, 2006, Secretary Jackson approved Louisiana’s initial supplemental CDBG Disaster Action Plan and awarded the state $368.4 million to help meet the state’s infrastructure needs, provide interest-free small business bridge loans and support long-term planning efforts. On May 30, 2006, Secretary Jackson approved an amended plan and awarded an additional $4.6 billion of the state’s original $6.2 billion to fund Louisiana’s Road Home Program. This program provides up to $150,000 to eligible homeowners whose primary residences were located outside pre-Katrina designated flood zones and were destroyed or severely damaged following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As of
      August 9, over 100,000 residents have registered for the program.
    • On May 22, 2006, Secretary Jackson approved Texas’s CDBG Disaster Action Plan and awarded the state $74.5 million to target unmet housing and infrastructure needs from Hurricane Rita.
    • On July 26, 2006, Secretary Jackson approved Florida’s CDBG Disaster Action Plan and awarded the state $82.9 million. The Disaster Action Plan designates at least 70% of the funding to restore the state’s affordable housing stock.

Providing mortgage and foreclosure relief and counseling for homeowners

  • On June 30, 2006, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) provided a limited extension of the foreclosure moratorium to August 31, 2006, to allow mortgagors to rebuild their homes or, if rebuilding is not feasible, preserve good credit standing by paying off their mortgage debt.  To date, over 13,000 borrowers living in disaster-declared areas have been assisted through mortgage foreclosure relief programs in AL, FL, LA, MS, and TX.
  • HUD’s Ginnie Mae announced that it would expand its Targeted Lending Initiative (TLI), a program that provides incentives for lenders to increase loan volumes in traditionally underserved areas, to Katrina-damaged areas.  Between October 2005 and June 2006, Ginnie Mae securities receiving this TLI discount included 3,069 loans from the Hurricane Katrina census tracts with original principal balances of over $368 million. 
  • HUD staff conducted housing counseling sessions to assist families in the purchase of homes in their new communities.  Beyond the fundamentals of the homebuying process, evacuees were also advised of their eligibility under HUD’s 203(h) and other mortgage insurance programs. 
  • USDA placed 7,107 evacuees in 2,375 available housing units in 45 states and provided over 17,000 families with temporary mortgage loan forbearance.

Working to provide housing and move the displaced into longer-term solutions

  • HUD, working with the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), arranged for the transfer of HUD Real Estate Owned (REO) properties held off the market to be made available to FEMA for displaced families. To date, over 10,000 HUD homes have been leased to displaced families.
  • HUD has made 1,000 HUD-owned homes available at a discount to FEMA-qualified evacuees displaced by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, or Wilma.
  • The Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), which had been under HUD receivership since 2002, had 7,000 public housing units of which approximately 5,000 were occupied; as a result of Katrina, all these public housing residents were evacuated. After the Hurricane, HANO reoccupied approximately 1,000 units where damage was limited. HANO and HUD have identified another 1,000 units that were not materially affected by the hurricane and are working to temporarily reoccupy the vast majority of these units by the end of September 2006.
  • At the time of Hurricane Katrina, there were also 9,400 vouchers authorized, 700 vouchers issued, and 8,981 vouchers leased-up.
  • As a result of HUD efforts, working with local public housing authorities, more than 27,000 families have been assisted through HUD's Disaster Voucher Program (DVP) to transition out of FEMA transitional housing with more than 20,000 units leased and more than $28 million in assistance disbursed. DVP was created specifically to help families who had been previously HUD-assisted and were displaced by Katrina or Rita.
  • HUD determined that housing markets in Louisiana had experienced rent increases due to the enormous impact of the storms, and thus increased its Fair Market Rents (FMR) in the New Orleans metropolitan area by 35 percent and in the Baton Rouge area by 25 percent. HUD is continuing to monitor the rental markets in these two areas, and will modify FMRs again if needed. In addition, HUD is monitoring rental markets in other areas (Beaumont-Port Arthur, Dallas, Jackson, Houston, Little Rock, San Antonio, and Shreveport), which are housing significant numbers of hurricane evacuees, to determine if the reduction in rental vacancies in these markets would also warrant FMR increases.

Creating Unique Partnerships

  • HUD launched the Universities Rebuilding America Partnership (URAP) program in an effort to empower college and university students to utilize their talents to help rebuild the impacted communities.  Through the URAP program, HUD, in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service, has awarded $5 million in grants to colleges and universities throughout the country to provide expert assistance to communities affected by the hurricanes.  Faculty and students have collaborated with community leaders to rebuild Boys and Girls Clubs, build affordable housing, and provide innovative healthcare solutions to those affected by the hurricanes. 
  • HUD helped HANO develop a pilot employment program for HANO residents and assist HANO in connecting with social services programs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  The HUD team met with over 40 social service providers and employers in Orleans Parish and assisted HANO staff to collect baseline data and develop long-term processes for resident outreach.  Once the pilot is complete, it can be scaled-up for wider local implementation.
  • HUD worked with Home Depot in cities across the Gulf to conduct workshops for homeowners on hurricane preparedness to increase their understanding regarding do-it-yourself repairs or contract repairs.  In addition, HUD released “Tech Sets” on storm resistant roofing and wind resistant openings for use by homeowners, builders, and community officials.
  • HUD’s Center for Faith Based and Community Initiatives (CFBCI) produced the Hurricane Toolkit: Recovery After the Storm, an informational guide to Federal and local resources available to hurricane victims, and the organizations serving them.  To date, over 50,000 hard copies have been distributed. CFBCI also directly contacted nearly 20,000 faith-based and community organizations, enlisting them in the Agency’s effort to promote and apply fair housing practices to post-Katrina projects, and to help HUD enroll victims in the assistance program.

Repairing and Strengthening Infrastructure

  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) repaired and restored 220 miles of floodwalls and levees since September 2005.  With a few exceptions, the New Orleans hurricane protection system is in equal or better condition than it was when Katrina hit. For example, levees and flood walls have been armored to protect against erosion from possible overtopping in several areas, and pumping stations are being storm proofed.  Floodgates have been added at the outfall canals to protect against storm surge and a tree cutting program on existing levees for protection is ongoing. .
    • This work consisted of 59 separate construction projects, carried out by 26 Corps contractors -- 90% of them local.
  • The Corps continues to construct stronger protection for New Orleans by engineering, constructing and improving storm and flood protection infrastructure to a 100-year protection level. This work includes higher levees, stronger floodwalls and greater interior drainage capacity, including:
    • Replacing failed I-Wall design floodwalls with stronger T-wall or L-wall design floodwalls.
    • Reinforcing the most vulnerable undamaged I-Walls and the surge protection closures. 
  • In order to investigate the levee breakage and prevent them from reoccurring, the Corps commissioned an Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force (IPET) composed of 150 subject matter experts from government, academia and industry to analyze the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the hurricane protection system and to develop a list of lessons learned which are leading to state-of-the-art improvements in the engineering of a comprehensive hurricane protection system. 
    • IPET findings and recommendations have been continually provided to the Corps’ task force since November 2005 and have been used to make levee repairs stronger and better.  IPET findings helped the Corps in the assessment of weaknesses in the protection system and IPET results will also be used in design guidance to build future protection projects.  

Restoring Transportation, Shipping, Public Buildings and Re-Opening Ports

  • FEMA Has Funded $5.5 Billion to repair and replace damaged public infrastructure such as roads and bridges, schools, water systems, public buildings and public utilities, as well as to fund emergency protective measures and debris removal. 
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is spending $2 billion to repair and rebuild highways and bridges in LA and MS.  Currently, all repairs of the I-10 at Slidell, LA and the I-10 at Pascagoula, MS., are completed.  US 90 at Biloxi, MS, was destroyed; the contract to rebuild it has been awarded and the old bridge is currently being removed. US 90 at Bay St. Louis, MS., was also was destroyed; the contract to rebuild it has been awarded, the old bridge is currently being removed and the new bridge construction is underway.
  • In addition, DOT is spending $62.6 million to repair and rebuild air transportation infrastructure (not just air traffic control facilities) in LA and MS.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) sent boats and teams to restore ports to pre-hurricane conditions.  Two weeks after the hurricane hit, the Port of New Orleans was reopened, as were other ports along the Gulf Coast with limited transit restrictions.  Today, all ports are open without restrictions and all aids have been repaired or replaced with permanent or temporary markers.  The Coast Guard also played a major role in the recovery of shipping and maritime economic activity throughout the Gulf Region.
  • Commerce’s NOAA has surveyed the region for wrecks, oil rigs, large debris and shoaling to keep commercial shipping lanes open, and provided critical information for clearing Gulf waterways that had been paralyzed in at least 20 ports.

Restoring Energy and Water

  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been assessing oil and gas supplies, and electricity.
    • All petroleum refineries and crude and petroleum product pipelines that were affected by Hurricane Katrina are back to normal operations.
    • In Mississippi, electricity has been restored to all customers who can safely receive it.
    • In Louisiana, electricity has been restored to all customers who can safely receive power.  Some areas of New Orleans remain without power (parts of the Lower Ninth Ward and Lakeview).
  • DOE participated in the newly formed Natural Gas Interagency Group to examine the near and long-term impacts of shortages in the nation's gas supply, producing daily situation reports on energy systems affected by the storm.
  • DOE worked closely with pipeline, terminal, and power companies to coordinate restoration efforts in the Gulf for major power pipelines on the East Coast.
  • DOE repaired its Strategic Petroleum Reserve facilities that sustained damage as a result of the hurricanes ($3 million).
  • For rural areas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working to defer principal and interest payments for two Louisiana electric cooperatives to provide relief on electric rates to 30,000 consumers.
  • The U.S. Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) took a number of actions to facilitate the process of returning energy resources to America, consistent with the need for safety.  These measures included expediting review of requests for temporary barging of oil or flaring of small amounts of natural gas; expediting approval process for pipeline repairs; and waiving of cost recovery fees until January 2006. 
    • MMS deployed personnel to assist on the Maritime Recovery and Restoration Task Force in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Joint Field Office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Staff provided expertise to the USCG on damage to offshore energy infrastructure to help focus oil spill response activities and for expedient notification to mariners of hazards posed by submerged and partially-submerged platforms in the OCS.   At this date, 11 personnel remain assigned to hurricane-related duties. 
    • Interior also deployed experts from its Office of Surface Mining
  • The USCG assisted in rebuilding the devastated offshore oil industry by obtaining and coordinating resources to locate, identify and mark, for navigation safety, the 115 oil platforms that were totally destroyed and sunk, 52 that were significantly damaged, and 19 that were set adrift.  This effort has largely been completed.
  • USDA is working to replace short-term credit lines with longer term lines ($40 million) to stabilize interest cost in rebuilding electrical distribution system.

Restoring Communications

  • The U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is investing $1.3 million in hurricane related assistance to Gulf Coast public broadcasting stations.
  • NTIA coordinated with the Federal Communication Commission to temporarily authorize the use of private sector satellite, ultrawideband, and microwave communications services during rescue and recovery efforts and is restoring communications in the disaster area.

Rebuilding the Economy, Protecting Workers

Rebuilding Industry:

  • USDA Secretary Mike Johanns authorized $250 million to help thousands of hurricane-impacted farmers.  The funds are being used to: help offset livestock feed loss and increased feed costs (3,394 farmers); reimbursement for deceased livestock (1,189 farmers); Noninsured Crop Assistance Payments; aquaculture grants (1,734 farmers); and assistance for debris cleanup, replanting and rehabilitating trees (807 farmers). 
  • Congress has also made available and additional $500 million for hurricane assistance that overlaps USDA’s $250 million package.  Implementation is still under development for these programs.  
  • USDA has begun sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Emergency Forestry Conservation Program, which helps landowners and operators restore and enhance hurricane-damaged forestland ($504 million).
  • Through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation, the agency has mitigated grain transportation disruption along the Mississippi River by removing 129 barges/197,000 tons of damaged corn out of New Orleans ports, moving 294,000 tons of grain to other locations, finding alternative storage for 32 million tons of commodities ($22.7 million), and unloaded 82 barges/122,000 metric tons.
  • USDA’s Emergency Conservation Program has removed debris from farmland, nurseries, and other structures; leveled, graded and shaped land; repaired or replaced damaged fencing; restored conservation structures; and reconstructed poultry houses ($156.3 million has been allocated to date).
  • USDA’s Risk Management Agency provided $187 million in insurance coverage for crops affected by hurricanes.
  • Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has begun to disperse $128 million to assist local communities in rebuilding Gulf oysterbeds and conduct fisheries monitoring.

Stimulating Business:

  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved more than $10.3 billion in disaster loans to homeowners, renters and business owners in the Gulf Coast states affected by the hurricanes. SBA has completed damage assessments on 99 percent of applications submitted and it has rendered decisions on more than 99 percent of the loan applications for businesses, homeowners and renters. More than 22,000 (of 154,000 total) loans have gone to small business owners to the tune of $2.4 billion.
    • In Louisiana: 91,345 disaster loans were approved for $6.4 billion; 78,364 home loans were approved for $5 billion; 12,981 business disaster loans were approved for $1.4 billion.
    • In Mississippi:  34,937 disaster loans were approved for $2.5 billion; 30,473 home loans were approved for $2 billion; 4,464 business disaster loans were approved for $500 million.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) led the first-ever domestic investment mission – to the Gulf Coast region -- with over 30 major companies with at least $10 million to invest participating. 
  • DOC continues to promote business opportunities in the Gulf Region, participating in 12 events outside the region –most recently, Secretary Gutierrez hosted over 200 business and community leaders in Washington, D.C. to discuss recovery efforts. 
  • DOC launched the Hurricane Contracting Information Center (HCIC) to assist U.S. businesses, particularly small, minority – women – and locally – owned, in participating in the Gulf Coast rebuilding efforts.
    • The HCIC website has been directly responsible for linking over 55,000 visitors to the Federal Business Opportunities website and over 24,000 visitors to Center Contractor Registration system.
  • The Minority Business Development Agency at DOC has assisted over 340 displaced minority firms to prepare and submit applications for disaster relief, emergency loans and insurance claims, reconstruct business plans and other key business documents; assisted approximately 1,275 minority business entrepreneurs (MBEs) with the identification of procurement opportunities; and conducted education and outreach activities reaching more than 4,000 MBEs.
  • Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has made $20.9 million of economic recovery and development investments in the Gulf region – helping to generate more than $170 million in private capital investment and over 1500 jobs.
  • Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology is investing $4.5 million in partnership with the Gulf Coast states to support the recovery of manufacturers affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita
  • HUD and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) partnered to create nine workshops co-hosted by hurricane-affected communities in 4 states that detailed the $8.6 billion in Gulf Opportunity Zone (GO Zone) benefits and $1.1 billion in Renewal Community benefits available to stimulate local reinvestment and new investment and provide information on the 26 GO Zone tax incentive provisions.  HUD and IRS are also working jointly on the Earned Income Tax Credit to promote usage of the Gulf Opportunity Zone incentives.
  • HUD and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) partnered to create nine workshops co-hosted by hurricane-affected communities in 4 states that detailed the $8.6 billion in Gulf Opportunity Zone (GO Zone) benefits and $1.1 billion in Renewal Community benefits available to stimulate local reinvestment and new investment and provide information on the 26 GO Zone tax incentive provisions.  HUD and IRS are also working jointly on the Earned Income Tax Credit to promote usage of the Gulf Opportunity Zone incentives.

Developing the Workforce

  • The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has focused on workforce development in hurricane-affected Gulf Coast states by investing funds in four primary initiatives that are already helping citizens pursue career opportunities while supporting the revitalization of the Gulf Coast: National Emergency Grants ($195 million); Community-Based Job Training Grants ($37 million); High Growth Job Training Initiative Grants ($12 million); and Pathways to Construction Employment Initiative Grants ($10 million).
    • Hurricane-affected communities along the Gulf Coast are using National Emergency Grants to provide job search, training, and job placement and related workforce services to more than 20,000 workers.
    • Community-Based Job Training Grants were awarded to community colleges in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas to train over 16,000 workers in those states.
    • The High Growth Job Training Initiative funds provided job training for hurricane-affected individuals in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Over 3,300 workers will receive training through these grants.
    • Under the Pathways to Construction initiative, the President provided $5 million each to Mississippi and Louisiana to help an estimated 7,700 workers enter a career pathway in construction, while also assisting critical rebuilding efforts in those states. In each state, Reconstruction Centers of Excellence are being established to provide a wide range of workforce services that support career advancement in the construction industry.
  • In partnership with the Department of Labor, the Business Roundtable (an association of 160 CEOs of the nation's leading companies) has launched an impressive outreach campaign to promote these federally funded construction training initiatives as part of its goal to train 20,000 new construction workers in the Gulf Coast region by the end of 2009.

Granting businesses, farmers, investors and other taxpayers relief:

  • Over the past year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service have taken significant steps to help taxpayers affected by last year's hurricanes by developing and implementing the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act (KETRA) and the Gulf Opportunity Zone (GO Zone) Act.
    • Treasury has participated in more than 40 outreach events to help taxpayers take advantage of the special tax benefits and incentives enacted by KETRA and the GO Zone Act.  In addition, Treasury has extended filing deadlines, temporarily waived certain rules, and expedited free copies of Federal tax returns and transcripts and it has provided on-site assistance in FEMA disaster recovery centers to aid taxpayers. 
    • The IRS has distributed more than 227,000 disaster kits and other materials to individual and business taxpayers.
  • The Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund has conducted several training seminars in the Gulf, and has awarded financial resources to the region to expand the capacity of financial institutions to provide credit, capital, and financial services to underserved populations and communities. As part of the GO Zone Act, the CDFI Fund has provided $600 million in tax credits to the Gulf Coast region in 2006, and will allocate an additional $400 million in 2007 to encourage private sector capital into the region.

Paying Out Insurance

  • FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provided funds to policyholders affected by Hurricane Katrina to help them rebuild or relocate.  Virtually all claims (99%) have now been closed.  The Katrina NFIP claims represent more than $16.1 billion in payments to more than 205,000 policyholders -- more than all other claims combined since the program’s inception in 1968.
    • Alabama – 97 percent of all claims closed, total payout is more than $260 million.
    • Florida – 97 percent of all claims closed, total payout is nearly $125 million.
    • Louisiana – 98 percent of all claims closed, total payout is nearly $12.6 billion.
    • Mississippi – 98 percent of all claims closed, total payout is more than $2.3 billion.

Recovering Federal Jobs and Facilities:

  • Virtually all (78 out of 83) Federal facilities run by the General Services Administration (GSA) in areas affected by the hurricanes are now re-opened.
  • The U.S. Office of Personnel Management worked with agency Chief Human Capital Officers in updating and providing specific guidance on leave options for employees unable to report to work.
  • The Social Security Administration maintains an on-going community presence in the region, re-opening all but 3 of its initial 21 facilities that were closed due to Katrina. 
  • To re-establish a presence in Louisiana, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) opened a fully operational regional office in a temporary facility in Gretna, Louisiana, accommodating 108 employees. The VA is committed to helping the city of New Orleans by relocating its regional office inside the city limits in 2007.  The regional office is currently providing 100% of pre-Katrina services ($2 million).
  • All Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) field offices in the region are now re-open (New Orleans was the last to re-open in June 2006).
  • The two National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) centers significantly impacted by Hurricane Katrina -- Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans – are now re-opened and at full capacity.  Both facilities support their communities with temporary housing, transportation and other resources for workers, as well as the kind of well-paying, high-tech jobs that will help the region rebuild and recover.
    • Michoud continues to support the Space Shuttle Program, including shipping an external tank to the Kennedy Space Center which enabled the successful flight of STS-121.  One year later, under continuing personal hardships, these workers continue to produce the external tank which holds the fuel and oxidizer necessary to propel the Space Shuttle into flight and are transitioning the facilities to support the Vision for Exploration.
    • Stennis continues to be the primary site for rocket propulsion engine testing.  Today, all testing required to support the certification and flight readiness of Space Shuttle Main Engines, and for the development of advanced rocket engine technology, is being accomplished in a normal manner.  During Hurricane Katrina, about 3,700 people (including employees, their families, and the public) sought shelter at Stennis.
    • NASA continues to build its newly established NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) at Stennis, which will assume many of NASA’s personnel, procurement, and financial functions in service to all 10 NASA Centers.  Current staffing at the NSSC is 95 civil servants and 215 contractors – all new jobs on the Gulf Coast that did not exist pre-Katrina.  Approximately half of the civil servants and nearly all contractor employees were hired from the local MS and LA workforce.  NASA expects to hire a total of 500 workers by October 2009.
  • The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service initiated repairs to its heavily damaged regional headquarters in New Orleans.  Approximately 150 personnel were engaged in maintaining continuous agency operations from a temporary office in Houston.
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is spending $147 million to repair and rebuild damaged Customs, Immigration, and FEMA facilities and to enhance public disaster alert and warning systems.  DHS is also spending $285 million to repair Coast Guard facilities and ships.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is rebuilding its fisheries science center in Pascagoula, Mississippi, which provides important support to the Gulf’s fishing industry.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is spending $4.6 billion to repair and rebuild damaged DOD facilities and equipment, such as at Kessler Air Force Base in Mississippi and at the Naval Air Station in New Orleans. DOD is also spending $1.6 billion to allow temporary operations to continue at damaged facilities and $400 million on military pay and allowances, primarily for Guard and Reserve members activated for the relief efforts, as well as aid to the Armed Forces Retirement Home.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is spending $126 million to rebuild Federal law enforcement facilities, including offices for Federal agents and attorneys, damaged prisons and IT and communications capabilities.  In addition, DOJ is spending $75 million for repair of Federal buildings and courthouses in the Gulf region.

Restoring the Environment and Parks

Removing Debris
  • Since Hurricane Katrina, FEMA has funded the removal of about 100 million cubic yards of debris in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi through mission assignments to other agencies such as the USACE and the USCG. 
    • 100 percent of debris has been removed in Texas (Rita) and Alabama (Katrina), while 99 percent of debris has been removed in Mississippi.  Louisiana is 72% completed.
  • USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service cleared 1,450 miles of channels.
  • The U.S. Forest Service has sold over 300 million board feet of downed timber to reduce wildfire threat, opened more than 1300 miles of roads, constructed 938 miles of fire breaks near wild land urban interfaces and provided $22 million to State and private forestry funds.
  • By mid-2007, NOAA will have surveyed and mapped over 800 square nautical miles along the Gulf Coast to locate marine debris.
  • The Coast Guard helped with the recovery or disposal of marine debris resulting from more than 620 commercial vessels and an estimated 4,000 recreational vessels that sank or grounded during the storm.  In Mississippi alone, USCG teams identified more than 235 sites along residential canals that will require marine debris removal.  The marine debris removal effort is expected to be completed in 2007.

Restoring the Environment

  • The Corps is developing a plan to protect the State of Louisiana from damages caused by a potential Category 5 hurricane.  The plan will include a combination of structural features, such as levees or gates; non-structural features (which could include enhanced evacuation planning and protocols for more rigorous building codes); and restoration of coastal features, such as wetlands, that can lessen storm surge.  The Corps will present the plan to Congress by December 2007, although some promising components of the plan may be recommended in advance of the complete report.  Actual construction of the plan will require authorization and annual funding by Congress.
  • NOAA has contributed to environmental stewardship of the Gulf Coast by collecting of over 10,000 digital aerial images for damage assessments, oil spill response prioritization, search and rescue, and access routes for evacuation.  NOAA has also assisted in the clean up of over 8 million gallons of spilled oil in the Gulf, has partnered with other Federal and local agencies to address issues and plan for reviving a sustainable fishing industry in the Gulf and is investing $10 million in environmental impact analyses, resource management and general cleanup efforts.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has conducted over 400,000 analyses of the environment (water, air, floodwater and residual sediment), responded to approximately 70 emergency situations to address chemical spills, fires, and other emergencies causing an immediate public threat.
  • EPA played a key role in the overall debris mission with FEMA and the Corps, for which the total estimates are expected to top 122 million cubic yards.  EPA provided technical advice and assistance, promoted recycling, and handled the disposal of over 4 million containers of household hazardous waste; assisted in the proper handling and recycling of over 380,000 large appliances (refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners) and collected and recycled over 661,000 electronic goods to save important landfill space and ensure the reuse of metal components.
  • EPA assessed approximately 4000 water systems to determine their viability after the storms and provide assistance where requested; inspected over 3,500 potable water trucks to ensure drinkable water was delivered promptly to areas affected by the hurricane; assessed approximately 1,300 underground storage tank locations and over 1,600 chemical facilities and refineries; continued to monitor 12 temporary ambient air monitoring sites throughout LA; and continued to provide oversight of the cleanup by Murphy Oil of a large oil spill which impacted over 1,800 homes in St. Bernard Parish (Murphy has completed the external cleanup of 1854 homes).
  • In July 2006, EPA completed cleanup of oil and hazardous materials in Mississippi and Alabama, and transitioned responsibility for remaining activities to the State.
  • In Louisiana, EPA has completed the collection of approximately 80% of household hazardous waste, 99% of the large container removal and 95% of the large appliances for disposal.  EPA continues to collect containers and household hazardous waste and consults with the state on landfill operations at the 13 area landfills being used for debris disposal. EPA activities are currently focused in the St. Bernard and Orleans parishes.  Work is expected to be completed in October 2006.
  • FEMA is providing the State of Louisiana an estimated $1.57 billion in mitigation grant funding.  In Mississippi, more than $429 million has been obligated for post-disaster mitigation projects through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
  • The Coast Guard coordinated the cleanup of more than 8 million gallons of spilled oil.  There were six major and four medium facility oil spills located primarily along the lower Mississippi River.  Additionally, there were more than 1,000 minor oil spills throughout the Gulf region.  Pollution responses were extremely difficult because of the total loss of infrastructure and support facilities for responders.  The oil pollution response effort has been completed in all the affected states.
  • The Coast Guard assisted the EPA to address over 5,100 hazardous materials cases.  USCG teams removed oil and hazardous materials such as batteries and chemicals from beached or grounded fishing vessels and pleasure craft.  Additionally, hazardous material response members entered laboratories and chemical plants and recovered hazardous materials that posed a threat to the general public.  The hazardous materials response effort is winding down and is nearly complete.
  • Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) crews cleared debris from local fire departments in Hancock County, MS, to make way for temporary equipment and assisted Terrebone Parish, LA., officials inspecting flood protection levees during Hurricane Rita. In July, the FWS received $162.4 million to restore wildlife refuges seriously damaged by the hurricanes.
  • Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) replaced or repaired numerous damaged stream and coastal gages throughout the region to restore flood warning capacity and National Weather Service flood forecasting capability.  Scientific assessments were conducted to help with response and recovery operations including sampling and testing of surface and ground water. USGS scientists also collected a tremendous amount of post-storm data to help assess the hydrologic impacts and extent of flooding, geomorphic coastal change, and to assess the impacts to biological habitats.
    • USGS, in cooperation with NASA, provided elevation data in the earliest assessments of the levee breeches in New Orleans.  Daily aerial photography and high scale imagery maps were provided by USGS to determine the status of the cities in the recovery phase. 

Restoring Parks

  • The Department of the Interior’s National Park Service (NPS) has helped remove debris and a ton of hazardous materials and waste from the Gulf Island National Seashore; the main campground is now operational and is being used by FEMA for displaced persons.  Valuable cultural resources were removed from Jean Lafitte and secured at Natchez Trace.
    • NPS is awarding $43 million in 2006 Hurricane Disaster Relief Grants to Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.  The funding will help State Historic Preservation Offices carry out compliance review, technical assistance, and stabilization and repair of historic properties damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  In addition, the NPS received $74.4 million to restore hard-hit parks.

Maintaining Continuity of Federal Payroll, Benefits and Services

  • The VA’s regional offices processed over 3,200 convenience checks, totaling over $ 2.7 million, for displaced veterans and beneficiaries.
  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) located displaced Social Security (SS), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and disability beneficiaries to provide the 73,600 hurricane-impacted beneficiaries with a replacement check or were unable to access their funds ($38 million).
    • The Department of the Treasury printed messages on 9.6 million SS and SSI check envelopes in June to encourage recipients in hurricane-prone areas to sign up for Direct Deposit in order to avoid any delays in the delivery of benefit payments.
    • Through outreach conducted in FEMA centers, SSA provided assistance to over 528,000 persons.
  • The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) established a toll-free telephone number and email address for use by employees, retirees, and their families to obtain information about pay and benefits and to report their whereabouts; worked with annuitants and financial institutions in the affected area to deliver annuity payments through both direct deposit and checks; worked directly with the applicable Federal employee health plans to ensure that enrolled Federal employees and annuitants received timely and appropriate health care; worked directly with the Federal life insurance vendor to expedite payment of death claims, without waiting for receipt of death certificates; and worked directly with the Federal long term care insurance vendor to give enrolled Federal employees and annuitants extra time to pay their premiums
  • USDA’s National Finance Center (NFC), located in New Orleans, which is a primary payroll provider for the Federal Government, continued to perform payroll functions uninterrupted for 565,000 of the approximately 1.8 million civilian Federal employees it serves.  The NFC was one of the first three major employers to return to eastern Orleans parish (along with NASA and Folgers Coffee).  Despite working with reduced staff levels, NFC has reduced 95% of its backlog for payroll, human resources and retirements.
  • The U.S. Department of State’s Passport Agency in New Orleans reopened for business, producing an average of 25,000 passports per week, or roughly 70 percent of its pre-Katrina production.  The majority of its 84 full-time government employees have returned to the agency.

Providing Health Care, Social Services, Food and Education

Providing Health Care and Social Services
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is supporting the efforts of the people of Louisiana to design a health care system of the future. Early this year, Secretary Leavitt appeared before the Louisiana Legislature, urging creation of the Louisiana Health Care Redesign Collaborative. The Collaborative was created to empower a group of health care leaders from across the state with the design process. HHS is supporting the work of the collaborative with staff, expertise and by removing roadblocks. Secretary Leavitt has pledged to support large-scale Medicare and Medicaid waivers to bring about the goals of the design effort, as long as the Collaborative adheres to agreed to principles. The Collaborative has set a goal of presenting its blueprint for redesign by October 20, 2006.
  • HHS activated and mobilized all of its emergency response capabilities to help state and local officials provide assistance to victims.  Experts from across HHS, including Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration, were made available to augment state and local public health resources.  Hundreds of thousands of doses of antibiotics and other medications, as well as medical supplies and equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile were shipped to the Gulf Coast. 
  • HHS granted special “evacuee” status to individuals affected by Katrina, which simplified the enrollment process for programs like Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Head Start.
  • Secretary Leavitt extended an existing public health state of emergency through January 31, 2006, to ensure vital services were available to meet the needs of Gulf Coast residents and evacuees.  The Secretary’s order applied to states affected by Katrina—Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida—as well as those harboring many evacuees: Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
  • HHS provided $2 billion for Medicaid waivers for hurricane victims, allowing eight states to reimburse providers that incurred uncompensated care costs as a result of serving an estimated 325,000 evacuees.  32 states were able to provide continuity of coverage for up to five months for displaced low-income individuals by temporarily enrolling them in a host state's Medicaid program through simplified enrollment. 
  • HHS helped 30,000 families by providing short‑term, one-time cash benefits through the TANF program to families who traveled to another state from the disaster-designated states.  The hurricane-damaged States of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama also received additional TANF funds to provide assistance and work opportunities to needy families - $69 million for loan forgiveness and $40 million in contingency funds for state welfare programs. 
  • HHS awarded $550 million in Social Service Block Grants to respond to the human services and mental health needs of individuals in the affected region.  The funding will also provide support to those lacking health insurance or adequate access to care, and to health care safety net providers.
  • In collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), HHS is conducting a study to monitor the progress of recovery and problems faced by Gulf Coast residents affected by Hurricane Katrina over a period of time. In addition, HHS is awarding a contract to conduct a research project on the role of faith-based and community organizations in post-hurricane human services relief efforts.
  • VA is working to repair and build new facilities to care for our nation’s veterans.  The VA is replacing the New Orleans Medical Center ($625 million), constructing a new hospital in Biloxi ($293 million) and reactivating a Regional Office in New Orleans to contract for benefits-related health examinations, and ensure veterans' benefits processing continues as quickly as possible ($25 million).  In addition, the VA is cleaning up and repairing its seven cemeteries impacted by Hurricane Katrina ($2 million).
    • VA has re-established health care for over 80% of veterans who had previously received care at the VA New Orleans, Gulfport and Biloxi facilities.
    • VA established alternate sites to provide veterans health care in the New Orleans area due to the closure of the medical center.  These alternate sites along with existing community based clinics have treated over 26,000 veterans post-Hurricane Katrina. 
    • To continue service to veterans in the aftermath of the storms, VA deployed a system of 12 “mobile clinics” in coordination with local authorities to provide urgent and emergent care to include first aid, immunizations, and prescriptions.  Through August 2006, these clinics treated 5,000 veterans and 11,000 non-veterans, filled over 42,000 prescriptions and administered thousands of tetanus and hepatitis immunizations.
    • VA Home-Based Primary Care programs continued to provide comprehensive primary medical care to homebound veterans, as well as other services including nursing care, rehabilitation, nutritional counseling, and social work evaluation throughout the hurricane affected region.
  • VA deployed over 100 experts (nurses, radiology technicians, health technicians, respiratory therapists and other health care professionals) to the New Orleans area to assist with their current healthcare personnel shortage.  VA health care professionals will continue to support local hospitals (Tulane Medical Center, East Jefferson General Hospital, West Jefferson General Hospital and Meadowcrest Hospital) through the end of September 2006. 
  • HHS’ United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps have continued to work with Louisiana health officials – most recently to assess 72 nursing homes and 61 hospitals in the 12 southernmost parishes of Louisiana.
  • HHS’ Office of Minority Health provided the March of Dimes with $500,000 to improve outcomes for high-risk pregnant women in the gulf area after Hurricane Katrina and it provided approximately $600,000 in supplemental funding to State Offices of Minority Health (SOMH) that were impacted by Hurricane Katrina.
  • HHS’ SAMSHA conducted 91,000 counseling sessions – referred 700 to mental health, substance abuse services and social services.
  • SAMSHA’s Center for Mental Health Services, in partnership with FEMA, has awarded over $100 million in funds to administer crisis counseling programs in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  The $34 million Regular Services Crisis Counseling Program grant recently set aside for the state of Louisiana is the second largest grant of its kind ever.

Providing Food, Nutrition and Medicine:

  • In the immediate aftermath of the storms, FEMA provided 85 million liters of water (three liters per person per day), 176 million pounds of ice (eight pounds per person per day) and 46.5 million meals (two meals per person per day) -- more meals, water and ice were provided for Hurricane Katrina victims than the combined total of all four major Florida hurricanes in 2004. 
  • USDA’s Food & Nutrition Service has provided 936,000 new households with $557 million in food stamps and provided 676,081 on-going households with 480,677,453 in benefits; in addition, USDA distributed 22 million pounds of food for congregate meals while food stamp benefits were not operational.
  • HHS’ Food & Drug Administration (FDA) conducted inspections of establishments that serve food at retail locations including schools, hospitals, shelters, group homes, nursing homes and senior citizen centers. In Louisiana alone, FDA contacted 1,461 establishments for inspection.  The FDA inspected 417 pharmacies to assure drugs, medical devices and biologic products held and stored were appropriate for sale and distribution and is currently supervising the reconditioning and destruction of products unsuitable for their original use. These activities will continue for the next 18 to 24 months.
  • HHS’ Ryan White CARE Act Program providers provided 2,123 encounters at a cost of $1 million.
  • HHS’ Health Start Grantees provided uncompensated services through 42,200 patient encounters at an estimated cost of over $2 million.

Helping Children, Students, Parents and Teachers:

  • HHS’ Head Start program received $90 million to cover the costs of replacing or repairing facilities that were damaged or destroyed and not covered by insurance or FEMA.  The funds also covered the costs of serving approximately 4,800 evacuee children from January 1, 2006, to the end of each grantee's current school year (i.e., late May or early June).
  • HHS provided child care waivers to Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas to access $60 million for child care services in support of Hurricane Katrina and Rita recovery efforts.
  • The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is continuing a recovery process that has aided over 150,000 students, parents and teachers by quickly releasing almost $2 billion to reopen schools in the Gulf Coast region and to help educate the diaspora of students.  Thus far, 83% of K-12 schools have reopened in Louisiana and Mississippi (100% in MS, 71% in LA).  Every hurricane-hit community has reopened at least one school.
    • ED funds have been used to recover student and personnel data; to replace or repair school district information systems; to replace instructional materials and equipment, including textbooks; to rent mobile educational units and lease space; to recreate instructional plans and curriculum development; and to identify, enroll and help transport homeless students to school.
    • ED provided more than $20 million to help Louisiana open or reopen charter schools, enabling public schools in New Orleans to reopen as charter schools, expediting the children’s education and the region’s recovery.
    • ED received $60 million of the foreign donations received by the U.S. Department of State. The funds will be used in individual K-12 schools for reconstruction of libraries, science labs, and other facilities ($30 million).  The remaining $30 million will be given to institutions of higher education, also largely for physical reconstruction. 
    • EPA assessed approximately 900 public and parochial school chemistry classrooms and removed chemicals and other equipment from 130 chemistry laboratory classrooms to ensure safe schools for returning students.
    • HUD helped co-sponsored the Children's Defense Fund "Freedom School," a model summer program for housing youth in New Orleans and Houston for reading enrichment, youth leadership development and parent engagement.  HANO also helped find summer employment for 65 youths.
    • The Department of Commerce, via the United States Patent and Trademark Office, worked through the General Services Administration, to donate almost 700 sets of computer equipment and almost 400 printers to learning centers and schools located throughout Louisiana and Mississippi.
  • All major higher education institutions in the region have re-opened.
    • Higher Education Help – ED allocated $190 million to the Louisiana Board of Regents and the Mississippi Institutes for Higher Learning to assist colleges and universities in those states affected by the hurricanes.  In addition, ED is currently distributing over $25 million (out of $30 million total) in unused Federal campus-based student aid funds to severely affected colleges.
    • Student Loan Forbearance – ED offered six months of student loan-payment forbearance for borrowers in the Federal student loan programs impacted by the disaster.
    • Aid to Colleges and Universities – Post-secondary institutions educating displaced students have received aid (up to $1,000 per student) to help defray new and unexpected costs resulting from the hurricanes.
    • On August 17, ED announced $50 million has been made available to eligible higher education institutions to defray expenses from hurricane recovery, such as lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, and construction directly related to damage resulting from the hurricanes.

Preventing Waste, Fraud and Abuse

  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General (IG) has developed and currently participates in a far-reaching fraud prevention program in the affected states of the Gulf Coast Region, sponsoring training courses and workshops in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. These presentations and workshops are designed to educate State Agencies, as well as Federal, state, and local law enforcement to identify fraud in HUD grant programs, as well as other affected HUD programs.
  • To date, HUD’s IG has opened 50 hurricane-related cases, which have resulted in 9 arrests, 9 indictments, and 3 convictions.
  • HUD is auditing millions in hurricane-related contracts for procurement, REO properties to house evacuees, emergency contacting activities and is also starting to review States’ control systems for CDBG funding.  These CDBG reviews will act as a real-time deterrent to waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars.
    • HUD deployed a cadre of equal opportunity specialists to 60+ Disaster Relief Centers and Long Term Recovery Centers on the Coast to conduct an aggressive fair housing education campaign to directly assist evacuees who reported housing discrimination.  HUD staff also visited hotels, shelters, and FEMA trailer parks to meet with displaced families about their fair housing rights.  
    • HUD, working with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), helped FEMA identify and fix accessibility barriers in trailer units and park sites.  This collaboration between FEMA, HUD and DOJ resulted in the production of accessible temporary housing units and the development of accessible trailer parks for thousands of evacuees with disabilities.
    • The Federal Government will distribute more money to more recipients for hurricane relief following Katrina and Rita than ever before in the history of our nation which is why DOJ created the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force to deter, investigate, and prosecute disaster-related Federal crimes. Task Force members and partners include Inspectors General (IGs) from participating agencies, Federal law enforcement, Federal regulators, state and local law enforcement, and community partners.  The Task Force works closely with Federal law enforcement and the IG community, particularly the IG of the Department of Homeland Security, who leads the Homeland Security Roundtable of the President’s Council on Efficiency and Integrity (the body charged with coordinating the IG response to Katrina fraud, waste and abuse).
  • The Task Force’s Command Center in Baton Rouge has received and referred 6811 complaints to various Federal agencies nationwide, and the Task Force continues to receive approximately 200 calls a week related to disaster benefit fraud.  In addition, the U.S. Government Accountability Office has referred over 6,000 matters to the Task Force for investigation.  Similarly, the American Red Cross is in the process of referring over 2,000 matters to the FBI Field Office in Louisiana and over 300 matters to the FBI Field Office in Jackson, Mississippi. 
  • In addition to its efforts through the Task Force, DOJ is currently working with various IGs, FEMA, and other agencies to facilitate database comparisons between Federal agencies to identify so-called “double dipping.”  Though there are a number of sensitive privacy issues that must be addressed in connection with such determinations, this ongoing effort remains a priority in the Department’s response to Katrina.

Reconstituting the Justice System, Fighting Crime

  • The U.S. Department of Justice was instrumental in the creation of the Southeast Louisiana Criminal Justice Recovery Task Force -- a coalition of virtually all of the principal local, state, and Federal components to the regional criminal justice system. 
    • In addition to the regional, multi-disciplinary approach to rebuilding the Greater New Orleans criminal justice system, which was troubled even before Hurricane Katrina, the Task Force was also instrumental in the crafting of policies for future emergency public services and continuity of operations in the event of future natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.
    • The Task Force is helping to train New Orleans police officers, sharing intelligence between the FBI and local law enforcement, exploring ways to better harmonize efforts such as the establishment of a regional crime lab and regional training academy, and worked to improve interoperability between State police and local law enforcement.
  • DOJ is rededicating and supplementing its enforcement resources to address violent crime in New Orleans by sending 4 additional Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives special agents to New Orleans to supplement the Violent Crime Impact Team, which focuses on reducing gun crime and DOJ is also sending 10 Attorneys to New Orleans to assist in prosecuting firearms, drug and immigration cases with a federal nexus. In addition, the Justice Department is providing funding to hire 9 additional Assistant US Attorneys who will assist with the fraud and violent crime caseload.  
  • DOJ’s U.S. Marshals Service will be detailing 4 additional Deputy Marshals to supplement the Crescent Star Fugitive Task Force.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation, in partnership with state and local law enforcement, recently launched a Violent Crime Intelligence Initiative.  This initiative is designed to gather information on violent persons, develop a "worst of the worst" list, and distribute that information to federal, state and local law enforcement.
  • DOJ will engage the community to assist law enforcement in cracking down on violent crime.  Specifically, the Department will reestablish the ATF Gun Hotline.  This hotline, which is available around the clock, seven days a week, allows citizens to report the illegal use and possession of firearms for federal response.  The hotline number will be advertised in public service announcements throughout New Orleans.
  • By providing funding to establish a Boys and Girls Club and Police Athletic League in New Orleans, the Department of Justice is helping to rebuild communities and prevent violent crime.  In addition, DOJ will provide funds and help establish Safe Havens in the three New Orleans Weed and Seed Sites.

Providing Immediate Recovery and Relief

Search and Rescue
  • The response to Hurricane Katrina remains one of the largest search and rescue operations in United States history, made more notable by the swift execution of rescue plans for Hurricane Rita shortly thereafter.  The Coast Guard deployed hundreds of air and boat crews to rescue more than 24,273 people and assisted with the evacuation of an additional 9,462 patients and medical personnel from hospitals and nursing homes.  More than 40 percent of the Coast Guard’s helicopter fleet was deployed to support rescue operations.  A total of 33,735 lives were saved or medically evacuated.
    • Katrina: 24,135 lives saved and 9,409 evacuated
    • Rita: 138 lives saved and 53 evacuated

Taking Immediate Relief Measures and Setting Up Help Lines

  • The Corps spent 53 days pumping out an estimated 250 billion gallons of water in New Orleans.  The work had to be done twice, due to the setback caused by Hurricane Rita.
  • The General Services Administration (GSA) helped FEMA obtain more than $1 billion in supplies, equipment and services to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, including: 1.5 million gallons of jet fuel, unleaded gasoline and diesel gasoline; 414,000 cots, beds, blankets, and sheets; 20,000 air mattresses; 4,000 tents, tent bags and sleeping bags; 2,000 travel trailers for evacuee staging areas; 978 bags of clothing; 600 pallets of ice; 319 acres of land awarded for temporary housing and temporary housing staging areas; 213 ambulances; and 74 trucks
    • 76 percent of contract dollars awarded by GSA in response to Hurricane Katrina have gone to small businesses; 54 percent to local businesses.
  • GSA's call center agents responded to more than 1.5 million hurricane-related calls and e-mails from disaster victims asking about benefits and assistance.
    • FEMA’s hotline was staffed and operated for a record 176 consecutive days following Hurricane Katrina, ensuring hurricane victims could apply for Federal disaster assistance.
    • FEMA has accepted more than 2.5 million registrations via their hotline or Web site from Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims, nearly two times as many registrations as all 2004 hurricanes combined.
  • FirstGov.gov, the official Web portal of the U.S. government, served as the government's leading source for information on “Finding Family and Friends” throughout the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts; Español.gov provided much-needed information in Spanish to support hurricane victims and their families with the most current information available from FEMA.
  • GSA coordinated restoration of 911 and enhanced 911 services.
  • The U.S. Department of State received and dispersed a significant amount of material donations (food, supplies, rescue services, etc.) from foreign sources.
  • GSA's call center agents, on loan to FEMA, responded to more than 1.5 million hurricane-related calls and e-mails from disaster victims asking about benefits and assistance.
    • FEMA’s hotline was staffed and operated for a record 176 consecutive days following Hurricane Katrina, ensuring hurricane victims could apply for Federal disaster assistance.
    • FEMA has accepted more than 2.5 million registrations via their hotline or Web site from Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims, nearly two times as many registrations as all 2004 hurricanes combined.
  • FirstGov.gov, the official Web portal of the U.S. government, served as the government's leading source for information on “Finding Family and Friends” throughout the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts; Español.gov provided much-needed information in Spanish to support hurricane victims and their families with the most current information available from FEMA.
  • GSA coordinated restoration of 911 and enhanced 911 services.

Providing Immediate Medical Response

  • FEMA deployed all 28 Urban Search & Rescue teams nationwide into the Gulf region to assist with response and rescue efforts, saving nearly 6,600 lives.  Additionally, FEMA deployed a record 6,300 personnel, including highly-trained nurses and physicians who treated more than 165,000 people in the weeks following the unprecedented storm. 

Providing Immediate Housing, Health and Other Essential Services

  • After developing an evacuation program with DOT including more than 1,000 buses, FEMA began moving a record 273,000 individuals in congregate shelters into more suitable transitional homes including hotels, travel trailers and apartments -- a larger displacement of people than occurred during the entire Dust Bowl era.
    • More than 85,000 families were provided hotel and motel rooms; 850,000 families have been provided temporary housing assistance (to pay for rent at an apartment); and 119,000 manufactured homes are in use by displaced families.
    • Much of the housing assistance is being provided through FEMA’s Individuals and Households Assistance Program, which has provided a total of $7.1 billion to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
    • More than 550,000 households – $2 billion total – have received Other Needs Assistance to cover medical, mental health, transportation and other expenses.
    • Combined Katrina-Rita assistance to individuals and households more than doubles the combined total of similar assistance for the four major Florida hurricanes in 2004, the Northridge Earthquake in 1994 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
  • FEMA has conducted 1.9 million housing inspections in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and approved more than $400 million to help 180,000 households repair damaged homes.
  • FEMA has also worked with the hardest-hit states, spending more than $3.7 billion to assist with debris removal efforts through the Public Assistance (PA) Program.
  • FEMA has approved $975 million in Community Disaster Loans in Louisiana and Mississippi, including a $120 million loan to the City of New Orleans to maintain essential services such as law enforcement, education and health services.
  • Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) operated a base camp at its refuges in Lacombe, LA, which provided shelter for local emergency workers, FEMA staff and international Red Cross teams; provided food for 1,400 people including patients at the local hospital; and deployed teams utilizing flat-bottom boats to support local search and rescue operations including removal of deceased from a flooded nursing home. 
  • The U.S. Department of State provided $66 million of its foreign donations – from 151 nations and international organizations – to FEMA for case management services, to assist Katrina victims with their long-term needs.  These funds were provided in a grant to the United Methodist Committee on Relief who utilized the money to establish and maintain the Katrina Aid Today Consortium, an organization that provides case management for Katrina victims and evacuees nationwide.
  • HHS made $27.3 million from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) available to four States directly impacted by the disaster—Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi—to help provide relief for home energy related problems.
  • To respond to the long-term needs of evacuees affected by the hurricane, HHS’ Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Network of 1,000 community action agencies provided immediate assistance with food, housing, transportation and other services.
  • HHS released $1.75 million in disaster relief funds for immediate reestablishment of infrastructure and for additional resources to support over 50,000 elderly evacuees.
  • In Louisiana, 11 of the State’s 37 Area Agencies on Aging were either completely or partly out of commission after Katrina and Rita. All are now functioning fully or at a limited capacity.
  • HHS’ Centers for Disease Control (CDC) deployed 700 staff over the past year, provided 14 Federal Medical Stations Units accounting for 3500 beds, including pharmaceutical and medical supplies, and sent 1.2 million doses of various vaccines (e.g., Hepatitis A & B, Tetanus and Diphtheria) to affected States.
  • HHS’ Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) assembled more than 287 teams to assist with relief efforts. 32 of the 287 teams were deployed to assist first line responders living aboard two cruise ships docked in New Orleans. 


  • The Coast Guard provided Maritime Safety and Security Teams to protect critical infrastructure and key facilities as well as to provide security for multi-agency responders during the height of emergency response efforts immediately after the storm passed. 

Better Preparation for Future Storms

  • The President directed Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser, Frances Fragos Townsend, to lead a comprehensive review of the Federal response to Hurricane Katrina.  On September 23, 2005, Townsend held a meeting with the entire Cabinet to initiate this review.  These findings later resulted in the 217-page report entitled "The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned," released on February 23, 2006.
  • The Report identifies deficiencies in the government’s response and lays the groundwork for transforming the nation’s vision of emergency preparedness and response, making 125 specific recommendations for improving the Federal government's capability to respond to future disasters.
  • In the spring and summer of 2006, DHS led a series of hurricane exercises to increase senior official skills and awareness.  DHS conducted a stakeholders conference in April 2006 to review remedial actions and explore opportunities for improvement with Federal, State, Local and private organizations/officials.
  • Since the release of the report, the Homeland Security Council has been holding weekly meetings with departments and agencies to review Katrina actions and remediation.  The President has closely monitored that progress and is receiving regular updates and briefings. 
  • Changes have been made to address shortcomings in the National Response Plan (NRP) and a NRP Quick Reference Guide has been developed.  This Guide provides an overview of key NRP elements, including the Joint Field Office. 
  • DHS has been enhancing the National Response Coordination Center operations and capabilities at FEMA headquarters, and conducting exercises and training to ensure increased incident management expertise across the Federal government and among State and Local government entities and officials.
  • DHS has already designated hurricane incident management teams (Principal Federal Officials [PFOs], Deputy PFOs, Infrastructure Liaisons, Defense Coordinating Officers, Federal Coordinating Officers), and conducted formal training and exercises.  
  • In the months since Hurricane Katrina, FEMA’s Director has led widespread re-tooling efforts within FEMA.  These have entailed upgrades to FEMA’s situational awareness, emergency communications, and commodity distribution and tracking capabilities, as well as FEMA’s debris removal, temporary housing and victim management programs.
  • FEMA’s Office for Gulf Coast Recovery has established Transitional Recovery Offices (TROs) in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas to implement FEMA’s recovery programs.
  • FEMA is currently hiring more than 2,000 individuals to support FEMA’s long-term recovery operations in TROs in the Gulf Coast region.  A majority of these individuals are local residents whom were personally impacted by the hurricanes.
  • HHS established a department-wide incident management system and rostered, trained and equipped teams of Public Health Service officers. The teams include a rapid deployment force of five teams of 105 officers each, deployable within 12 hours of notification; an applied public health team and mental health team, deployable within 24 hours; and incident response coordination teams.
    • HHS has developed 20 Federal medical stations with a 5,000 bed capacity for deployment which can be onsite within 48 hours.
    • To meet the unique care requirements of persons with disabilities, HHS, its Federal partners (DHS and FEMA) and the American Red Cross developed a Clinical Interview and Shelter Assessment Tool to meet the unique care requirements of persons with disabilities.
    • HHS developed an interagency playbook, a plan for the public health and medical response to disasters, specifically for the 2006 hurricane season. The plan, to be updated annually, includes the approach to the operation, action steps, triggers and essential elements of information.
    • HHS developed pre-scripted FEMA mission assignments for HHS to support personnel and equipment deployments, and individual assistance to replace prescription drugs and limited durable medical equipment for evacuees.
    • HHS is working to create deployable, interoperable first responder electronic health records with the intention of pilot testing the system at the federal medical stations.
    • In Louisiana, HHS has maintained a full-time presence on the Louisiana evacuation planning team. The Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness surveyed nursing homes and hospitals in the 12 coastal parishes of Louisiana for evacuation and shelter in place preparedness. The office has also participated in multiple evacuation exercises and worked with GSA and FEMA on an ambulance, air ambulance and Para-Transit bus contract.
    • HHS’ Office on Disability provided time-sensitive actions addressing immediate issues and needs of over 1,000 individuals.  HHS co-sponsored with DHS the Working Conference on Emergency Management and Individuals with Disabilities and Elderly, which targeted state emergency management planners and increased awareness of the need to include persons with disabilities in State emergency preparedness plans.  It is currently working on a Community Planning Toolkit for State Emergency Managers that will provide information on understanding and including persons with disabilities into State emergency preparedness plans.
  • NOAA upgraded its hurricane model to improve its tracking and intensity guidance for hurricane forecasts in 2006. 
    • NOAA is strengthening its Gulf weather forecasting capabilities, including adding 8 new Caribbean observation buoys and expansion of its satellite communication system network to include 25 coastal Weather Forecast Offices.  
  • The Corps is continuing its efforts to increase hurricane and flood protection systems and reduce as much risk as possible.  If another Katrina hit today, we would expect interior drainage flooding due to rainfall and overtopping in some areas, and possible levees breaches due to overtopping.  However, there would be no storm surge damage related to the outfall canals as occurred during Katrina. By 2010, using current best engineering practices and the lessons learned from Katrina, the Corps will reduce flood and storm damage risk.  Levees and floodwalls will be higher and stronger and better protected by armoring in key areas. 
  • DOE has strengthened its hurricane response system through increased coordination between Federal, state, and local leaders in a number of ways, including training additional employees for emergency response; updating and enhancing the hurricane modeling system for DOE’s Visualization Room; working with states to improve their energy assurance plans; and implementing a “helpline” for the 2006 hurricane season which will allow state and local leaders and representatives from the energy industry to improve communications with DOE during emergencies.
  • DHS’ Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is working with Federal security directors and airport operators at 50 airports threatened by hurricanes by developing and refining emergency operating plans and identifying and maximizing resources to be utilized during natural disasters. 
    • TSA’s Natural Disaster Preparedness Plan focuses on ensuring enhanced response, recovery, and restoration of TSA operations.  The plan includes a hurricane emergency support annex and a separate annex that addresses the New Orleans evacuation-specific hurricane emergency support plan. 
    • TSA’s plan is for new rapid deployment teams to provide an augmented security force for the preparation, response and recovery at affected airports; 9 Transportation Security Advance Teams (126 members); and 24 Transportation Security Forward Teams (600 members). 
    • TSA has a new national tracking system for the location of TSA personnel and resources to help maintain a high degree of readiness, logistical support including enhanced regional pre-staging of equipment and supplies, such as generators, light sets, meals ready to eat, water, and trailers at five designated pre-staging areas in the Southeast region of the United States.
    • TSA’s law enforcement evacuation support includes airport law enforcement augmentation; law enforcement support on board military and civilian aircraft; and law enforcement assistance to Federal, state, and local agencies in other modes of transportation that may be used for evacuation, as needed.  In addition, law enforcement rapid response capability includes real-time connectivity with the hundreds of Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) transiting airports at any given time.  This capability allows the FAMs to be redirected for any threat or hazard.
    • TSA’s Visible Intermodal Protection and Response (VIPR) Teams stand ready to enhance information management among Federal, state and local partners and the private sector, and to protect the traveling public, deter criminal and terrorist activity, provide surveillance, and report and/or respond to suspicious activity.  VIPR teams are configured to specific transportation environments using various assets and resources, such as Air Marshals, Transportation Security Officers (including those trained to detect behavioral patterns), Surface Transportation Security Inspectors, Aviation Security Inspectors, canine explosives detection teams, and screening technology, such as portable explosives trace detectors and bomb appraisal officers.  VIPR operations take place at airports, commercial bus stations, mass transit and rail stations, and ports and ferries.
    • TSA recently established the Network Hub to serve as a real-time response center for field communications. 
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) led a public-private sector team of experts to assess damage to major buildings, infrastructure, and residential structures – and recommend improvements. The 23 recommendations cite ways to improve building and construction practice with an immediate impact on the rebuilding of structures damaged or destroyed by the hurricanes as well as ways to improve standards and codes.  A variety of the recommendations already have been acted upon by federal agencies, and NIST has briefed organizations in the Gulf Coast Region.

People Everywhere Have Made an Unprecedented Commitment to the Gulf Coast in Both Time and Money

The nation’s armies of compassion have contributed more resources to the Gulf Coast -- over $3.5 billion in cash and in-kind donation -- than at any other time in our nation’s history. Five charities account for more than 85% of the money raised:  the Red Cross ($2.1 billion); the Salvation Army ($365 million); Catholic Charities USA ($146 million); the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund ($129 million) and Habitat for Humanity ($122 million). 

  • The Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund’s $129 million is being divided and dispersed as follows: $30 million for higher education institutions; $40 million to State recovery funds; $20 million for religious organizations and houses of worship; and $40 million for additional projects focused on health, housing, community and infrastructure needs.  The Fund is on track to meet its deadline of awarding all the funds by October 31, 2006.
  • The American Red Cross utilized more than 244,000 relief workers for its hurricane response efforts, helped more than 1.4 million families (more than 4 million people) with direct emergency assistance, served more than 68 million meals and snacks, provided more than 3.8 million overnight stays in more than 1,400 shelters, distributed more than 540,000 comfort kits and clean up kits and made almost 597,000 health services contacts and more than 826,000 mental health services contacts.
  • Catholic Charities USA received more than $146 million in donations from the U.S. and elsewhere that have helped make a difference in the lives of over 1 million hurricane victims by providing them with food, housing, basic necessities, mental health counseling, and the wherewithal and means to start anew. To date, Catholic Charities USA has allocated 95% of its hurricane fund to support Catholic Charities’ emergency assistance and its long-term recovery work of rebuilding lives and communities over the next 5 to 10 years.
  • The Salvation Army responded to the immediate needs of Katrina survivors by providing shelter, food, water, ice, cleaning supplies, baby supplies, and hygiene products as well as spiritual and emotional care. It mobilized 178 canteen units and set up 11 field kitchens to serve more than 5.7 million hot meals, and 8.3 million sandwiches, snacks & drinks. The Salvation Army has since shifted to recovery and rebuilding the hardest hit areas by operating volunteer villages to feed and house relief workers, establishing a community capacity fund to pay for outstanding needs in gulf coast communities such as school supplies, setting up community assistance centers which serve as the social service hub for survivors, providing homeownership grants in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, and offering employment education services. Throughout the country, the Salvation Army’s existing corps have accepted survivors to help them relocate and transition their lives. And, its SATERN network of two-way radio operators has helped locate 25,508 survivors. All told, the Salvation Army has helped 1.7 million people in at least 30 states. As part of that effort, its officers, employees and volunteers have contributed more than 900,000 hours of service.
  • Habitat for Humanity has used its donations and pledges to begin construction or to complete nearly 400 homes, and it has placed more than 14,000 volunteers. By the summer of 2007, Habitat for Humanity plans to have built 1000 homes in the region.

In addition to these private efforts, the Federal Government’s national service arms have contributed to relief and rebuilding as follows:

  • The Peace Corps sent 272 volunteers to assist FEMA, primarily as applicant assistants.  The Volunteers assisted with web-based applications; routed incoming applications to appropriate services; provided information and referrals to applicants affected by the disaster; and assisted in case processing and program eligibility decisions.  Volunteers trained others to work as Applicant Service Specialists in Disaster Recovery Centers and some Volunteers worked in community relations and organized overall volunteer activities.  If the pace slowed at FEMA centers, Volunteers worked with the Red Cross or animal shelters.
  • The Corporation for National and Community Service has supported more than 33,600 national service members who have contributed more than 1.5 million hours and leveraged an additional 78,000 volunteers to help with hurricane relief and recovery efforts in the stricken Gulf States and across the country. 
    • Through the Corporation’s three primary programs, Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, volunteers have established and operated shelters, assisted with emergency communications, coordinated the warehousing and distribution of donated goods, cleared debris, eradicated mold and other hazardous conditions, repaired roofs, restored housing and public facilities, coordinated volunteer activities, raised funds and other donations, and provided meals and social services to evacuees. 
    • The Corporation approved more than $60 million in AmeriCorps augmentations and new program awards to help Gulf communities recover and rebuild from the storms.  These awards will continue to support more than 6,000 AmeriCorps members in the impacted Gulf States through national partners such as Habitat for Humanity, Hands On Network, Boys and Girls Clubs, and National Association of Student and Conservation Corps. 
    • Since the first days after Katrina made landfall, more than 4,500 AmeriCorps members have been involved in hurricane relief efforts supported in part by $6 million in FEMA Mission Assignments. 
    • The Corporation’s Challenge Grant competition approved $4 million for six multi-state projects to bring an additional 72,000 volunteers to the Gulf through new collaborations with the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, the Points of Light Foundation and other national organizations.
    • More than 20,000 Learn and Serve America student volunteers have assisted on relief projects in the Gulf and have raised funds, and collected and distributed donations.
    • More than 140 AmeriCorps*VISTA members are serving in the Gulf, helping to rebuild the capacity of non-profit organizations.
    • An additional $3 million has been awarded or repurposed to support expanded Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America programs in the Gulf States; partnering with organizations such as United Negro College Fund, MS Dept of Education, and Tulane University.

This page was last reviewed/modified on October 16, 2008.