President Bush has again promised that the government will learn from mistakes made during Hurricane Katrina. This was made in his weekly radio address to the nation as he mentioned how the disaster exposed deep-seated poverty and a lack of readiness to deal with the crisis. Moreover, he said disaster response would improve and committed $110bn to rebuilding New Orleans and other affected areas.
The president made such remarks because next week Tuesday is the first year anniversary of the disaster where more than 1,000 people were killed when the hurricane struck the Gulf Coast of the US almost a year ago. But his words are close to being considered more than just hallow, but callous as well. Fewer than 200,000 of the original half-million inhabitants have returned to their ruined homes.
Katrina revealed that federal, state and local governments were unprepared to respond to such an extraordinary disaster. How will it respond to a biological attack from our enemies? Katrina also exposed a deep-seated poverty that has cut people off from the opportunities of their country. Where are the educational monies, small business loans, basic social services that will help our citizens living in the Gulf Coast obtain such opportunities?
As a year will mark the tragedy all the government and our president has to say is more words. The president said that this work would require the sustained commitment of our government, the generosity and compassion of the American people, and the talent and vision of people determined to restore their homes, neighborhoods and cities. For the people living in the Gulf Coast such rhetoric has long ago turned hallow. They want action!