The 10th anniversary of Katrina, the hurricane that devastated the U.S. Gulf Coast and exposed the government response at all levels as hapless, sees a bill before Congress that requests an audit of the aftermath.
Revelations from the audit, archive pictures that include the harrowing scenes of trapped flooding victims and images of today's still-blighted neighborhoods can be counted on to tell the same story about the government's questionable reaction to the disaster.
The special anniversary events across the devastated region for the 10th anniversary and the memorials for Katrina's 1,833 fatalities will provide a postscript to what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) described as "the single most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. history."
S.70, the bill before the 2015-2016 Congress, directs the GAO to conduct a full audit of the financial aspects of the disaster. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report in Jun 2006 that concluded at least US $1 billion in disaster relief payments made by FEMA were improper and potentially fraudulent.
Along the way, the auditing process is likely to revisit questions addressed in a federal bipartisan investigation directly after Katrina. These asked why the evacuation was so slow, why government at all levels failed to react more effectively to a storm that was predicted with unprecedented timeliness and accuracy, and why supplies and equipment and support were so slow in arriving. It also asked why so much taxpayer money aimed at better preparing and protecting the Gulf Coast was left on the table, unspent or, in some cases, misspent; why the adequacy of preparation and response seemed to vary significantly from state to state, county to county, town to town; and why coordination and information sharing between local, state, and federal governments was so dismal.
Date written/update: 2015-02-02