The Federal Emergency Management Agency office charged with helping New Orleans devise a blueprint to rebuild destroyed houses, schools and neighborhoods after Hurricane Katrina is being closed and nearly all its workers reassigned.
Housing remains in very short supply, only a handful of public schools have reopened and many neighborhoods resemble ghost towns, but FEMA says it’s closing the long-term recovery office because local officials have failed to begin planning the recovery adequately.
City officials are angered by the move, saying New Orleans is again being abandoned by the federal government.
“We can’t plan on a paper napkin,” said New Orleans Deputy Mayor Greg Meffert.
The city thought they had an understanding with FEMA that the agency would help in funding of planning but now FEMA says that was a misundersanding as they say FEMA doesn’t fund planning.
It’s enought to make your head explode. FEMA itself was a major hold up to planning. New Orleans waited and waited and waited for FEMA flood maps that would guide rebuilding as it’s damn hard to do serious detailed planning without those maps.
So much for the administration’s commitment to rebuilding New Orleans. They can split hairs all they want about funding planning as a pretext for moving out but I think the bottom line is they are pulling FEMA out to regroup and get ready for the coming hurricane season. They don’t want to be humiliated again this hurricane season by another Katrina hitting in say Florida.