"The Special Committee on Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans Universities of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) finds that there was 'nearly universal departure from (or in some cases complete abandonment of) personnel and other policies' by five New Orleans institutions―the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, the University of New Orleans, Southern University at New Orleans, Loyola University New Orleans, and Tulane University―as they contended with the disaster that befell the city and its universities.
"The report identifies several specific areas of widespread dereliction:
The number of faculty terminations 'exceeded the inescapable or minimal needs of the institution, sometimes substantially';
The notice and timing of personnel actions 'also failed to meet AAUP standards and created needless, even at times unconscionable, uncertainty';
Alternative placement of affected faculty 'universally fell below AAUP standards, but also fell short of the institutions' apparent capacity to mitigate the harshest effects of inevitable personnel reductions';
The opportunity for internal review of adverse judgments 'failed to meet most accepted standards of due process as well as the institutions' own established review procedures';
Faculty tenure (which all these institutions had previously recognized and by and large respected) 'received far less deference than AAUP policy and prior practice [on these campuses] would have required.'" —Press release
+Amy Liu, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program & Allison Plyer, Deputy Director, Greater New Orleans Nonprofit Knowledge Works, Brookings Institution and the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, The New Orleans Index at Five (August 2010)
"Five years following Hurricane Katrina—a tragedy compounded and made more complex by the Great Recession and the current Gulf oil spill—new evidence shows that greater New Orleans is emerging as a healthier, more resilient region. Yet, this year’s New Orleans Index at Five, which combines comprehensive trends analyses with seven scholar essays on key post-Katrina reforms, reveals that much work lies ahead if this metropolis is to emerge with a stronger economy, better opportunities for its residents, and a more sustainable future. The Gulf oil spill creates an opportunity for New Orleanians, and their government, philanthropic and private sector partners, to build on the progress made since Katrina." (August 4, 2010)
"What follows is the story of the first year and the gigantic struggle to save and rebuild New Orleans and the right of its residents—those living here and those we organized as part of the ACORN Katrina Survivors Association—to have a voice, and to insist in every way possible, whether through tears or screams, that New Orleans is their city. They must be heard, and they will return."—Introduction.
This special issue features articles on the economic loss impact of Hurricane Katrina. Contents include: Bradley T. Ewing, Jamie Brown Kruse & Daniel Sutter, An Overview of Hurricane Katrina and Economic Loss; William A. Carden, Sound and Fury: Rhetoric and Rebound after Katrina; Kivanc Kirgiz, Michelle Burtis & David A. Lunin, Petroleum-Refining Industry Business Interruption Losses due to Hurricane Katrina; Mark J. Kaiser, David E. Dismukes & Yunke Yu, The Value of Lost Production from the 2004-2005 Hurricane Seasons in the Gulf of Mexico; Mark A. Thompson, Hurricane Katrina and Economic Loss: An Alternative Measure of Economic Activity; Benjamin Kleidt, Dirk Schiereck & Christof Sigl-Grueb, Rationality at the Eve of Destruction: Insurance Stocks and Huge Catastrophic Events; Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, The Impact of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma on Business Establishments; Mark A. Yanochik & Risa Kumazawa, Interest Rate Manipulation, Environmental Damage, and Loss Valuation; Douglas M. Walker & John D. Jackson, Katrina and the Gulf States Casino Industry; and Apoorv Dabral & Bradley T. Ewing, Analysis of Wind-Induced Economic Losses Resulting from Roof Damage to a Metal Building.
+Bourne, Marko, Director, Office of Policy & Program Analysis, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Inspector General (OIG), Hurricaine Katrina Multitier Contracts (June 2008) (OIG 08-81) (PDF — 603K)
"We initiated this audit in response to Congressional concerns that, in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, multitier subcontracting (1) increased costs to the government, (2) limited opportunities for small and local businesses to participate in response and recovery efforts, and (3) resulted in layers of subcontractors being paid profit and overhead while adding little or no value to the work performed under the contract. Our objectives were to determine the validity of these concerns, as well as to determine the potential effect Section 692 of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 could have on future disaster contracting.
"It does not appear that multitier subcontracting, as an isolated factor, caused significant increases in costs to the government, nor did it reduce subcontracting opportunities for small and local businesses. The prime contractors subcontracted a significant amount of the value of their contracts to small and local businesses.
"Although FEMA relied on large national prime contractors, initially preventing small and local businesses from participating as prime contractors themselves, the national prime contractors generally did well hiring small and local subcontractors. However, because subcontractor invoices generally do not include specific information on lower tier subcontractors, we could not determine how many layers of subcontracting existed on contracts or whether any layers involved contractors charging profit without contributing substantially to the work being performed on the contract.
"Although Section 692 of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 would limit subcontracting to 65% of total contract costs, nothing in this legislation specifically restricts the number of tiers of subcontractors. Further, by limiting subcontracting, Section 692 could restrict funding available to small and local businesses while potentially impairing FEMA's ability to respond quickly to future catastrophic disasters. The Department of Defense has promulgated less restrictive rules to control multitiering that reduce the risks inherent in Section 692. Therefore, we recommend FEMA officials work with DHS officials, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and Congress to promulgate less restrictive rules over multitier contracting." —Executive Summary.
"Drawing on an analysis of New Orleans' recent development history, [this report] shows how the region's past development trends exacerbated the catastrophe, and suggests how the region might rise again on a better footing by undoing the mistakes of the past."—Executive Summary. Links from the URL above include the full 45-page report (PDF), the Executive Summary, and related resources.
Funded by an NSF grant, this project will "identify which communities were most affected [by Katrina and Rita], which will be rebuilt and how they will be different from before." The project will also "incorporate perspectives from environmental science and ecology."
"It is likely that in some heavily damaged parts of New Orleans redevelopment will be restricted, either temporarily, or even permanently. The possibility of such restrictions immediately gives rise to the following question: Will restrictions on development in New Orleans effect compensable regulatory takings under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? In this paper, we try to answer that question, or to at least provide a framework for answering it. We conclude, although cautiously, that it is more likely than not that temporary restrictions will not effect compensable takings because property owners still have economically valuable interests, while it is more likely than not that permanent restrictions will result in compensable takings because of owner expectations and a lack of reciprocity of advantage.
"We have three primary goals. First, we summarize the proposal for redevelopment which explicitly allows for the possibility of moratoria on redevelopment in certain neighborhoods. Second, we situate the current case law on this issue within the larger context of takings jurisprudence. Understanding the courts' trends on this issue, if any are discernible, will be indispensable in trying to get a sense of how courts would rule in litigation that might arise out of regulating redevelopment in New Orleans. Third, we give an analysis of how current holdings on takings issues might apply to the situation in New Orleans. Because of the complexity of takings jurisprudence, and because of the somewhat unusual nature of the situation in New Orleans, it is difficult to make a confident prediction about how such claims would come out."—Abstract.
"Two years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the city faces challenges as it tries to rebuild: not just those posed by mountains of rubble and the prospect of future hurricanes, but also a rebuilding effort hampered by inaction, mismanagement, and corruption.
"View the slideshow below for a by-the-numbers look at post-Katrina New Orleans. All images courtesy of the Associated Press."
"The Hurricane Digital Memory Bank uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the stories and digital record of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. George Mason University's Center for History and New Media and the University of New Orleans, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of American History and other partners, organized this project.
"The Hurricane Digital Memory Bank contributes to the ongoing effort by historians and archivists to preserve the record of these storms by collecting first-hand accounts, on-scene images, blog postings, and podcasts. We hope to foster some positive legacies by allowing the people affected by these storms to tell their stories in their own words, which as part of the historical record will remain accessible to a wide audience for generations to come.
"This project builds on prior work by George Mason University's Center for History and New Media, and other partners such as the Library of Congress and the Red Cross, to collect and preserve history online, especially through the ECHO project and the September 11 Digital Archive. It is part of a growing practice of using the Internet to preserve the past through "digital memory banks." —Website.
"To provide technical assistance to governmental, industrial, academic, and professional-public organizations during the recovery and rebuilding of the societal infrastructure systems damaged in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, by serving as consultants and advisors to those charged with the restoration and rebuilding of these systems."—Mission Statement.
For fifteen months following Hurricane Katrina, The Center for Public Integrity highlighted the best coverage of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath and tracked government contracts awarded for cleanup and reconstruction. "The Katrina Watch project presents original reports by the Center for Public Integrity and an archive of links to information culled from media and government Web sites." -Center for Public Integrit, Katrina Watch
"The cost of the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity, Louisiana, Hurricane project has quadrupled since 1965 primarily because of inflation. Scheduled completion has been delayed 13 years. In addition, project objectives may not be attained if key elements are not completed as planned."—Cover.
"Labor demand remains high in devastated areas and evacuee relocation areas. In the New Orleans metro area, advertised vacancies are more than double the pre-Katrina level. Occupations in demand include: office and administrative support, business and financial operations, management, architecture and engineering."
"This testimony (1) places federal assistance provided to date in the context of damage estimates for the Gulf Coast, and (2)discusses key federal programs that provide building assistance to the Gulf Coast states. In doing so, GAO highlights aspects of rebuilding likely to place continued demands on federal resources."—Why GAO Did This Study
"As states and localities begin to develop plans for rebuilding, there are difficult policy decisions Congress will need to make about the federal government's contribution to the rebuilding effort and the role it might play over the long-term in an era of competing priorities. Based on our work, we raise a number of questions the Subcommittee may wish to consider in its oversight of Gulf Coast rebuilding. Such questions relate to the costs for rebuilding the Gulf Coast—including the federal government's share, the effectiveness of current funding delivery mechanisms, and the federal government's efforts to leverage the public investment in rebuilding."—What GAO Found.
"Hurricane Katrina not only devastated a large area of the nation's Gulf coast, it also raised fundamental questions about ways the nation can, and should, deal with the inevitable problems of economic risk and social responsibility. This volume gathers leading experts to examine lessons that Hurricane Katrina teaches us about better assessing, perceiving, and managing risks from future disasters.
"In the years ahead we will inevitably face more problems like those caused by Katrina, from fire, earthquake, or even a flu pandemic. America remains in the cross hairs of terrorists, while policy makers continue to grapple with important environmental and health risks. Each of these scenarios might, in itself, be relatively unlikely to occur. But it is statistically certain that we will confront such catastrophes, or perhaps one we have never imagined, and the nation and its citizenry must be prepared to act. That is the fundamental lesson of Katrina.
"The 20 contributors to this volume address questions of public and private roles in assessing, managing, and dealing with risk in American society and suggest strategies for moving ahead in rebuilding the Gulf coast."
"Just compensation is critical to post disaster recovery in the wake of a devastating flood, especially when prior shortcomings of the government might be partially to blame. Assessing the full extent of compensation given to private landowners may help for future disaster flood recovery and planning. Despite profound geographic, demographic, and legal differences between France, Louisiana, and California a comparison of their post-disaster compensation models proves useful to identify past, present, and future models of a similar problem of postflood redevelopment compensation outside of private insurance schemes.
"Inquiring into eminent domain concepts surrounding just compensation principles in France, Louisiana, and California provides a framework for addressing post-disaster homeowner compensation. France supplies a model that demonstrates strong flood disaster prevention and land use planning measures alongside a full recovery compensation scheme. In contrast, Louisiana and California do not have explicit disaster compensation frameworks. Existing Louisiana law offers an existing legal and moral framework that can be applied by the state entity currently deliberating on post-disaster compensation program. California, on the other hand, currently offers the most unforgiving compensation scheme, but also has the time to adopt tailored flood compensation and planning principles."—Abstract.
"This issue focuses on public health activities in Louisiana 1-2 months after Hurricane Katrina, during which time local authorities reopened portions of New Orleans and the pre-disaster population began to return. Reports in this issue describe a range of public health disaster-response activities, including morbidity surveillance, shelter-based surveillance, community health and needs assessment, environmental assessment, and infectious-disease case investigation. A second special issue, scheduled for March, will focus on the broader impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, including public health activities in Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, and Florida."
"MMWR is highlighting the public health response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita with two special issues. The first issue, published January 20, 2006, focused on public health activities in Louisiana. This second issue focuses on activities in other states directly or indirectly affected by the two hurricanes."
"As of mid-June 2006, FEMA alone has spent $19 billion on emergency relief to victims, of which Congressional auditors now claim at least $2 billion (nearly 11 percent) represents wasteful, unjustified, or fraudulent spending. But this is only part of the story. Most of the money spent has been on massively expensive and gravely flawed plans to shelter evacuees in mobile homes and travel trailers."
This timeline commences on March 1, 2002, and includes links to other relevant sites and dKosopedia entries. dKosopedia is a wiki resource, "written from a left/progressive/liberal/Democratic point of view while also attempting to fairly acknowledge the other side's take."—Main Page.
A site operated by the government of Indonesia and its Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) to support the rebuilding of Indonesia following the tsunami. Included are reports of the recovery efforts.
"Throughout this post-Katrina period, FEMA has remained dedicated to helping Louisiana families and communities recover. To date, in partnership with and in support of the state of Louisiana, we have provided more than $15.2 billion in assistance. We maintain our steadfast commitment to the resilient survivors of Louisiana as they continue along the path to full recovery.
"So, on the 5th anniversary of this unprecedented event, we can say that a lot has been accomplished, but we an also say that a lot remains to be done. FEMA is committed to being here for as long as it takes to fully recover, and we’re working to do so in a way that builds, sustains and improves south Louisiana’s capability to protect against future hazards."—Mike Karl, EMA Louisiana Recovery Office Interim Director, "Unprecedented Disaster, Unprecedented Recovery."
"Amid the often rancorous debate over federal spending for hurricane recovery and rebuilding, the Metropolitan Policy Program follows the money spent on Katrina, as well as the Rita storm. The fact sheet also includes a timeline of federal allocations."
"In the two years since Hurricane Katrina, the federal government has provided more than $114 billion in aid. But walk the streets of the Gulf Coast, and you might wonder where all that money has gone."
"This report provides the first full picture of who lived in New Orleans and its region after the hurricanes of 2005, and what types of residents moved in, stayed, or remained displaced one year after the storm. This analysis is critical for moving beyond speculation to informed assessments about how best to serve both existing and displaced households in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita."—Press Release
"The workshop was held to address a number of goals. Among the primary reasons for this meeting was not only to convey compassion for the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, but also to ensure their safety and well-being as they reinhabit their homes, noted Goldman. Second, the workshop began a scientific dialogue to understand the impacts of Hurricane Katrina on people's health. Third, it discussed how the public health community can use the dialogue in preparation for future events. The workshop did not consist of lessons learned during the response, but rather was an examination of the science needed to inform the ongoing response to disasters of this magnitude, asserted [Lynn Goldman of the Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health]."—Summary.
The legal publisher BNA makes its Web Watch available for free. This posting includes links to federal government hearings and panels, as well as NGO publications. Despite the title of the posting, many of the resources cover issues beyond contract fraud.
The legal publisher BNA makes its Web Watch available for free. This posting includes links to federal government agencies and legislation, GAO reports, and a House committee report.
+Green, Stuart P., Looting, Law, and Lawlessness(provided by: SSRN) (Tulane Law Review, Vol. 81, Hurricane Katrina Symposium Issue, 2007) (PDF — 381K)
"As recent incidents in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and other disasters have illustrated, the moral content of looting spans a wide continuum: At one end are predatory and exploitative acts that seem deserving of even greater punishment than ordinary acts of burglary and larceny. At the other end are cases of necessity, involving otherwise law-abiding citizens who, as a result of forces beyond their control, find themselves hungry and exposed to the elements. In between these two poles lies a wide range of conduct that often involves impoverished and alienated citizens living on the edges of society, encouraged to engage in lawlessness by powerful group dynamics and the apparent suspension of civil order.
"This article begins by examining the various meanings - both literal and metaphorical - of looting. It then considers the factors that make bad looting so bad, and good looting less so. With respect to the latter, it considers the possibility that: (1) the disruption in normal social order might leave defendants in a state of nature, outside the jurisdictional reach of the court; (2) the defendant's criminal acts were necessary to avoid some greater harm from occurring; and (3) the otherwise law-abiding offender, suffering from a combination of fright, fatigue, hunger, exposure, and disorientation, should be at least partially excused on the grounds that his acts were out of character.
"The article concludes by considering some of the practical implications of the foregoing analysis, including the suggestion by various commentators that the proper response to looters is to shoot them on sight. It argues that such a policy would be profoundly misguided, both because the criminal law should not tolerate the disproportionate use of deadly force in response to what is essentially a property crime, and because of the obvious difficulties of distinguishing between bad and good looting, particularly under the kinds of emergency conditions in which such acts are committed."—Abstract.
"The most important thing to remember about the drowning of New Orleans is that it wasn't a natural disaster. It was a man-made disaster, created by lousy engineering, misplaced priorities and pork-barrel politics. Katrina was not the Category 5 killer the Big Easy had always feared; it was a Category 3 storm that missed New Orleans, where it was at worst a weak 2. The city's defenses should have withstood its surges, and if they had we never would have seen the squalor in the Superdome, the desperation on the rooftops, the shocking tableau of the Mardi Gras city underwater for weeks. We never would have heard the comment 'Heckuva job, Brownie.' The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was the scapegoat, but the real culprit was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which bungled the levees that formed the city's man-made defenses and ravaged the wetlands that once formed its natural defenses. Americans were outraged by the government's response, but they still haven't come to grips with the government's responsibility for the catastrophe."
"In the immediate aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami, the affected countries and their respective governments and civil society organisations had an opportunity to draw upon, and should have used existing humanitarian and human rights instruments to ensure that the dignity of those that survived is upheld. ... "The intention of this compilation is to draw attention to some of the numerous existing international human rights instruments, including guidelines adopted by UN agencies that should form the basis for ongoing post-tsunami rehabilitation work. The standards provided for in these instruments could be used to ensure that a human-rights-based approach is upheld and not compromised in the multiple agendas of competing relief agencies. These standards must also be used to spread learning and education amongst all actors involved in the post-tsunami efforts such that everyone works for the same purpose: the speedy attainment of human rights for all who are affected."—Foreword, Miloon Kothari.
"This house-to-house survey of people living in the New Orleans area examines the ongoing struggles of residents seeking to recover from the Hurricane Katrina disaster, including a detailed look at differences in views and experiences by race. Designed and analyzed by researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation, the survey provides a portrait of the enormous needs of the population in order to inform recovery efforts and policy development on the Gulf Coast and in Washington.
"The survey of people living in Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes documents the devastating impact that Hurricane Katrina and the failure to respond quickly and effectively to it has had on the economic well-being, physical and mental health, and personal lives of the people of the New Orleans area. The survey also found a sharp divide in the way that African Americans and whites in the New Orleans area experienced the storm and perceive the recovery efforts, especially in hard-hit Orleans Parish. Future Kaiser surveys are planned in 18 months and 36 months to monitor progress and changes."
See also a related survey brief based on the data from this 2006 survey, The Future of New Orleans: Young Adults in the Greater New Orleans Area.
This article begins with a critical account of what occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This critique serves as the backdrop for a discussion of whether there are international laws or norms that give poor, black Katrina victims the right to return to and resettle in New Orleans. In framing this discussion, this article first briefly explores some of the housing deprivations suffered by Katrina survivors that have led to widespread displacement and dispossession. The article then discusses two of the chief barriers to the return of poor blacks to New Orleans: the broad perception of a race-crime nexus and the general effect of the imposition of outsider status on poor, black people by dominant groups. Finally, the article explores the international law concept of the right of return and its expression as a domestic, internal norm via standards addressing internally displaced persons, and considers how such a domestic right of return might be applicable to the Katrina victims."
"IBHS puts forth key fndings and recommendations for reducing future property losses in all hurricane-exposed areas. The three key fndings and recommendations are based on both post-Ike IBHS feld research on the Bolivar Peninsula and a thorough review of building code requirements – and laid out in much more detail in the full research report.
A Texas-specifc hurricane retroft guide based on the research fndings following Hurricane Ike can be found in this report. Geographically specifc hurricane retroft solutions for property owners and residents in other states along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts are in development and will be published by IBHS in 2010." — Executive Summary
Dr. Robert Hartwig, president and chief economist for the Insurance Information Institute, testified at a hearing before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Wednesday, February 28, 2007. The hearing focused on insurance issues affecting residents of the Gulf Coast as a result of damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Links to testimony transcript available in PDF and Word Formats.
A partnership with the Library of Congress and the California Digital Library consisting of a "comprehensive list of websites documenting the historic devastation and massive relief effort due to Hurricane Katrina,"—About this Web Archive. The materials were collected during September and October 2005.
"This symposium provides a forum for scholars to begin conceptualizing a new field of legal scholarship devoted to catastrophic risks. It is hard to think of anything equally important that has received so little sustained attention from lawyers and law professors. Hurricane Katrina involved over a thousand deaths and $100 billion in losses. There is no reason to consider Katrina the 'worst case scenario.' Yet, scholars have not yet systematically addressed the legal and policy issues posed by major disasters. Ultimately, the goal should be assembling the best portfolio of social policies, institutions, and legal rules to deal with catastrophic risks—a portfolio that includes prevention measures, mitigation incentives, emergency response strategies, liability rules, insurance, and reconstruction planning. In this symposium, papers by legal scholars and policy analysts will address these as well as other issues relating to this critically important subject."—Dan Farber, Editor, Introduction. Access to this bepress journal requires a subscription.
"The allegation that Southwest Charter Lines Inc. intentionally over-billed FEMA is not substantiated. We concluded that the alleged over-billing was unintentional. However, during this review, there were issues of concern regarding internal controls and billing errors for items such as overtime and delivery charges, which were not allowed under the contract."
"As a policy maker, you may be responsible for establishing the policy framework for the entire reconstruction process or for setting reconstruction policy in only one sector. The handbook is emphatic about the importance of establishing a policy to guide reconstruction. Effective reconstruction is set in motion only after the policy maker has evaluated his or her alternatives, conferred with stakeholders, and established the framework and the rules for reconstruction.
"As international experience—and the examples in the handbook—clearly demonstrate, reconstruction policy improves both the efficiency and the effectiveness of the reconstruction process. In addition to providing advice on the content of such a policy, the handbook describes mechanisms for managing communications with stakeholders about the policy, for improving the consistency of the policy, and for monitoring the policy’s implementation and outcomes. The handbook does not tell you exactly what to do, but it should greatly improve the likelihood that the reconstruction policy that is established leads to good outcomes."—A Note to the Policy Maker: Background.
Access to this publication requires a license with World Bank's e-Library. The file is a 26.4MB PDF.
"Four propositions drawn from 60 years of natural hazard and reconstruction research provide a comparative and historical perspective on the reconstruction of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Decisions taken over its 288-year history that have made New Orleans so vulnerable to Katrina reflect a long-term pattern of societal response to hazard events--reducing consequences to relatively frequent events, and increasing vulnerability to very large and rare events. Thus Katrina's consequences for New Orleans were truly catastrophic--accounting for most of the estimated 1,570 deaths of Louisiana residents and $40-50 billion in monetary losses. A comparative sequence and timing of recovery provides a calendar of historical experience against which to gauge progress in reconstruction. Using this calendar, the emergency postdisaster period appears to be longer in duration than that of any other studied disaster. The restoration period, the time taken to restore urban services for the smaller population, is in keeping with or ahead of historical experience. The effort to reconstruct the physical environment and urban infrastructure is likely to take 8-11 years. Conflicting policy goals for reconstruction of rapid recovery, safety, betterment, and equity are already evident. Actions taken demonstrate the rush to rebuild the familiar in contrast to planning efforts that emphasize betterment. Because disasters tend to accelerate existing economic, social, and political trends, the large losses in housing, population, and employment after Katrina are likely to persist and, at best, only partly recover. However, the possibility of breaking free of this gloomy trajectory is feasible and has some historical precedent." —Abstract.
"In August, September and October of 2005, the Monthly Surveys of Consumers fielded by the
University of Michigan included questions about the happiness of a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. The date of each interview is known. Looking at the data week by week, reported happiness dipped significantly in the first week of September, after the seriousness of the damage done by Katrina became clear.... These results illustrate the potential of high-frequency happiness data to yield information about preferences over regional, national and international conditions by indicating the magnitude of the good or bad news conveyed by events."—Abstract.
"This preliminary report on the institutional donor response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita is based on information provided by foundation, corporate, and other institutional donors via press releases, Web postings, and other public announcements."—Sources of Data.
"The 13th Amendment ban on involuntary servitude has new relevance as the U.S. grapples with national emergencies such as catastrophic hurricanes, flu pandemics, and terrorism. This Article considers work refusal and coerced work performance in life-threatening employment contexts. Overwhelmed by fear, hundreds of police officers and health care workers abandoned their jobs during Hurricane Katrina. Postal clerks worked against their will without masks in facilities with anthrax. A report by Congress worries that avian flu will cause sick and frightened medical personnel to stay away from work, thus jeopardizing a coherent response to a crisis.
"How far can the U.S. go in forcing reluctant civilians to perform essential jobs during a national emergency? I explore solutions to this question by hypothesizing a large release of radiation - whether by terror attack, or catastrophic accident, or major earthquake - in a vital Pacific port. These ports have a history of work stoppages that disrupt the nation's economy. I examine federal government responses if dock workers refused assignments until conditions were safe: (1) The President could declare a national emergency labor dispute under the Taft-Hartley Act, and seek an 80-day back-to-work injunction. (2) Congress could re-enact Section 8 of the War Labor Disputes Act, making it unlawful for dock workers to discontinue production for 30 days and subjecting violators to coercive damages. (3) The president could issue strong executive orders, backed by imprisonment, that regulate employment in ports.
"At the heart of my analysis, I ask: Would any of these responses violate the Thirteenth Amendment ban on involuntary servitude? Congress and the judiciary have broadened this law, and its enforcement counterpart in 18 U.S.C. ? 1584, beyond the abolition of African slave-holding. The Supreme Court in Kozminski defined involuntary servitude as forcing a person to work by physical or legal coercion.
"But the Supreme Court created 13th Amendment exceptions for transportation work. Robertson upholds a law that bars merchant seamen from quitting work, and imprisons deserters. Butler permits states to conscript citizens to work on highways, on pain of imprisonment. Dock work is similar because ports integrate ships and trucks in a transportation hub. Courts now apply these precedents to new compulsory activities, such as mandatory public service for graduation. Moreover, Kozminski reaffirmed Robertson and Butler as precedents.
"Thus, the Constitution would be unlikely to shield dock workers from involuntary labor. This has troubling implications for employees who have recently worked in national emergencies, and may do so again. Employees who work to alleviate avian flu or other catastrophic health threats are also at risk for compulsory labor that exposes them to extraordinary hazards.
"I conclude with a legislative proposal to strengthen individual rights. As my research shows, courts that are presented with national emergency disputes rarely side with the individual who stands in the way of the public's welfare. Without a more balanced labor policy to address emerging crises, the nation may realize belatedly that when we allow fundamental freedoms to be sacrificed in the name of real or perceived emergency, we invariably come to regret it." —Abstract.
"Section 502 of the Labor-Management Relations Act (LMRA) allows employees to stop working if they face 'abnormally dangerous conditions,' and a rule under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act creates an employee right to refuse work because of 'apprehension of death or injury.' Using a hypothetical scenario, I show that neither law would assist emergency workers who lack protective gear while responding to a terror attack.
"I propose an NLRB rule to strengthen Section 502, a 1947 law that is dormant but appropriate for these abnormal workplace dangers. Although part of my proposal draws on the experiences of 9/11, it is mainly founded on fundamental changes in job duties and government employment regulations that recognize a permanent threat to domestic security. The growing list of affected occupations includes dockworkers and doctors, subway and airport workers, power plant and postal employees, and more. However, my proposal excludes police, firefighters, and most paramedics. They perform immediate lifesaving services, and in any event, are excluded from the NLRB's jurisdiction because they are public employees.
"My proposal draws from the fruitless experience of appellate court decisions on Section 502. This caselaw is conflicted because courts disagree as to whether an employee must present proof in fact of an extreme risk, or be motivated by good faith belief. My proposal is also based on the intent of the drafters of Section 502. The two sponsors of this law were Republican senators who strongly opposed union interests. However, when proposing this law in the midst of enacting strike controls, they said 'it would be very unfair and very unjust to employees in any industry to penalize them, if, because of abnormal or unusually dangerous conditions, they should refrain from working.'
"Using evidence from recent GAO reports and other studies, I show that new types of emergency workers are poorly trained and equipped. For the few who train for a cataclysmic attack, their simulations are unrealistic. These employees— who, in their routine jobs do little or no life-threatening work— are not trained for their own fear and panic. Thus, there is too little attention to the possibility that these essential workers will refuse orders when their lives are endangered.
"By breathing life into Section 502, the NLRB would join the large circle of federal and state agencies that are currently immersed in this emergency planning. The purpose of my Article is not to spare a few careers that might otherwise be lost in a poor response to an attack. If these newly designated or de facto emergency workers are not extended a work refusal right, their employers will continue to be lax in improving protective equipment, communication systems, bio-terror inoculations, and work procedures. In the final analysis, proper training and protection of these new emergency workers is essential to deter, prevent, respond to, and mitigate an attack." —Abstract.
"Two years after Hurricane Katrina, the greater New Orleans Area has recovered most of its population and economic base. Yet, progress in the last year has slowed and real challenges remain in the most hard-hit parishes, Orleans and St. Bernard."—Introduction.
"This paper will review the federal, state, and local response to date as it relates to the important goal of creating a better New Orleans. This paper does not attempt to review every decision made on every aspect of the recovery, but instead tries to highlight areas of priority.
"The paper will begin with a quick overview of the federal, state, and local roles to date on post-Katrina recovery.
"It will then evaluate how well the overall recovery response has performed in meeting the three goals of a creating a more inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous New Orleans. In each of these goals, the paper reviews pre-Katrina conditions in New Orleans and puts forth a vision for the future. It then highlights those areas of meaningful progress at the federal, state, and local levels in support of those goals and closes with an action plan to further the recovery progress."—Introduction.
"Although Hurricane Katrina altered our national dialogue about many issues, few scholars have addressed whether the storm changed thinking about fundamental property relationships. This article fills that void in two ways. First, it creates a theoretical framework for understanding property law in the context of events producing radically changed circumstances. It does this by defining these events, exploring the mismatch between property law's traditional focus on stability and environments of radical change, creating a taxonomy of property relationships tailored for this exploration, describing typical problems confronted after an event of radical change, and finally developing a set of normative criteria to evaluate the resiliency of property regimes.
"The second part of the article focuses on two common property relationships - between landlord and tenant and mortgagor and mortgagee - and examines how their default rules, voluntary private ordering, and market practices have fared under the pressure of Hurricane Katrina. This part also analyzes how another kind of property relationship - between a city (New Orleans) and its citizens - has weathered the radical change created by Katrina and how a series of federally funded and state administered programs have fared in restoring housing - a crucial common resource and public good - in the post-Katrina environment.
"The article concludes by suggesting that longer term, more indefinite property relationships characterized by private ordering, risk spreading, setting aside exogenous resources and mutual accommodation - commercial lease and mortgage relationships to be specific - show more resiliency than shorter term and more finite relationships where default rules make exit easy for some parties (residential landlords) but re-entry difficult for others (residential tenants). The article also demonstrates how government housing recovery programs can be assessed using the normative criteria developed in Part I and what policy makers can learn from traditional private property regimes facing events of radical change." —Abstract.
"This report provides an overview of NEPA requirements relevant to the hurricanes response and recovery efforts, its application to emergency and non-emergency actions related to the disaster, NEPA's role in two past flood and
hurricane control projects that have been discussed in the press, and legislative proposals that relate to the NEPA process. It will be updated as developments warrant."—Summary.
"On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the US Gulf Coast, resulting in the evacuation of >1.5 million people, including nearly 6000 physicians. This article examines the relocation patterns of physicians following the storm, determines the impact that the disaster had on their lives and practices, and identifies lessons learned."—Abstract | Introduction.
"The article is a critique of the U.S. government's response to regional recovery following Hurricane Katrina, coupled with an argument that policies based on international standards would better serve the hurricane-stricken area. The author contends that part of the problem is that the legal framework for disaster relief, the federal Stafford Act, is insufficient for shaping recovery for catastrophic humanitarian crises that overwhelm state and local governments. Because the Act calls only for discretionary, intermittent federal efforts, and shields such efforts with broad legal immunity, it is a prescription for the sluggish and ineffective governmental action that has hamstrung the Gulf region's recovery.
"The author maintains that what is needed is a comprehensive recovery program akin to the post World War II Marshall Plan. International standards for humanitarian responses to disaster, specifically the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, serve as a policy framework for such a program. The Principles allow for recognition that a crisis on the scale of Katrina calls for a more robust, centralized, federally-led response that addresses the scope of the problem and the interdependency of its many facets.
"The article has five parts. First is an analysis of the situation in the region, focusing on the New Orleans area. Here the author identifies three categories of problems - the problem of return and rebuilding, focusing on private property and civic infrastructure; the problem of security, focusing on flood protection, levees, and wetlands; and the problem of government, focusing on inefficiency, incompetence and inadequate resource allocation.
"The article's second part analyzes the problem in the law. The Stafford Act is reviewed and judicial criticisms discussed. Part three of the article reviews the specific provisions of the Guiding Principles that apply to the Gulf Coast. The author considers the legal status of the Principles, concluding that while certain of the principles may be evolving into customary international law, they are not legally binding but rather intended as a general policy framework.
"In the fourth part of the article, the author recommends the following sixteen point "Marshall Plan for the Gulf" based on the Principles:
1. The federal government will assume primary responsibility for an integrated recovery effort.
2. All persons displaced or injured by the disaster have recovery rights.
3. Displaced persons willing to return have a right to return and their displacement will end as soon as possible.
4. Living conditions will be established that are materially sufficient to allow persons to return and remain.
5. The government will assist persons whose homes are recoverable to repair and rebuild, and must ensure access to decent and affordable housing.
6. Comprehensive, reliable flood protection measures will be taken, including strengthened levees and coastal wetlands.
7. Ineffective bureaucracies will be replaced by streamlined, efficient, effective and easily understood administrative processes for relief and recovery.
8. The military will be deployed for debris removal and rebuilding.
9. Personal property and possessions will be protected and disaster victims will be reasonably compensated for losses.
10. Gulf Coast residents will have access to health care.
11. The government will reopen schools and take other measures to ensure education for all children in stricken communities.
12. The government will take steps to increase economic opportunities in stricken areas, such as partnerships, incentives and assistance for businesses which reopen or locate in the region.
13. The right of evacuees to participate in politics and civic life must be ensured.
14. Storm victims will be included in recovery planning.
15. Anti-discrimination measures will be enforced to ensure that the disaster and recovery do not have a discriminatory effect.
16. The special needs of at risk groups will be met.
"In the fifth part of the article, the author posits that U.S. adoption of the Principles as the basis for international disaster recovery efforts forms a moral and political basis for their domestic application in the Gulf. This is demonstrated by formal U.S. policy promoting the Principles as well as actual U.S. implementation of the Principles in Iraq and in response to the 2004 tsunamis." —Abstract.
"Affordable housing recovery in three coastal counties in Mississippi heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina lags behind the pace of the rest of the housing market in the region, according to a RAND Corporation study released today." Press Release
"This report begins by introducing the concept of a continuum of housing needs following a disaster. Displaced families' needs range from emergency shelter to temporary and permanent housing. While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has primary responsibility for coordinating disaster relief efforts and providing certain services to help communities recover, other federal agencies, including HUD, also play an important role."—Summary.
"This Handbook provides an overview of some of the legal issues that you may face as a result of Hurricane Katrina's landfall on the Gulf Coast in August 2005 and the flooding and other damage that occurred."—Introduction. The PDF Handbook, to which this page links, is 1.55MB.
"Two years after Hurricane Katrina much has become clear. We know that the devastation in New Orleans and surrounding areas was less a natural than a man-made disaster. Katrina's surge into New Orleans was the direct result of poorly constructed levees, an ill-conceived navigation channel, and the destruction of millions of acres of coastal wetlands. Furthermore, the storm's intensity itself was fueled by unusually warm waters in the tropical Atlantic due, in part, to global warming pollution.
"How have Congress and the Administration responded to these lessons of Katrina and addressed the chief causes of its tragic aftermath? A report card is due on the federal government's response to global warming, reforming the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and restoring the wetlands along the Gulf Coast that act as a natural buffer to storms."
"The Natural Hazards Review stands on the realization that natural disaster losses result from interactions between the physical world, the constructed environment, and the character of the societies and people who occupy them. The journal is dedicated to bringing together the physical, social, and behavioral sciences; engineering; and the regulatory and policy environments to provide a forum for cutting edge, holistic, and cross-disciplinary approaches to natural hazards loss and cost reduction.... Social and behavioral sciences topics addressed include a range of issues related to hazard mitigation and human response as well as significant issues related to the built environment such as land use, building standards, and the role of financial markets and insurance."—Aim and Scope.
A collection of five-year anniversary accounts by various organizations, including the Institute for Southern Studies, Unity of Greater New Orleasn, the American Red Cross, the Institute for Business & Home Safety (on the inadequacy of municipal building codes), and others.
"This book is based on a report prepared between May and July 2003 by a multi-disciplinary team of experts from inside and outside of the OECD. It examines the economic and social impacts of past large-scale disasters, and draws a number of key lessons for the future. Its focus is on better prevention of disasters, and on restoring trust and securing recovery in their aftermath."—Abstract.
"Hurricane Katrina, the largest disaster in the history of the United States, caused widespread property destruction throughout the Gulf Coast, but particularly in the city of New Orleans. Although the storm created an environment which facilitated increased mortgage defaults in the area, the Article analyzes data from the Orleans Parish Recorder of Mortgages Office and from the Orleans Parish Civil District Court and concludes that foreclosure filing rates in the year after Katrina in fact decreased significantly from the rates for the corresponding period in the year prior to the storm. This result is contrary to what would normally be expected in a usual mortgage lending market, where an increase in the rate of mortgage default would lead to an increase in the rate of foreclosure.
"The Article evaluates in detail the legal and market responses to mortgage default after the storm that contributed to the reduction in foreclosure actions in Orleans Parish in the year after Katrina. Secondary mortgage market initiatives provided the principal means for mortgage relief, because Louisiana debtors received little in the way of formal legal relief. Even though secondary market responses were successful in protecting mortgage debtors after Katrina, their limitations in scope make them inadequate to address the years of financial distress that might likely follow any disaster of the magnitude of Katrina. Thus, while the Katrina experience demonstrates that secondary market interventions can effectively reduce debtor distress after a major disaster, such interventions should not been seen as a substitute for more traditional legal responses to address mortgage debtor distress after disasters or other economic crises." —Abstract.
+Peek, Lori (Editor), Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design, Special Issue: Children and Disasters Children, Youth and Environments Journal, v. 18, no.1 (2008)
This special issue includes a collection of 20 papers from around the world, 4 book reviews, a media review and and an annotated compilation of resources focusing on children and youth before, during and after disasters occur.
"The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana and the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government today released a report on federal funding in response to the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Spending Federal Disaster Aid is an analysis of two major types of aid being used for reconstruction and economic recovery. This analysis of FEMA Public Assistance (PA) grants and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) demonstrates many of the intergovernmental challenges and problems federal, state, and local officials face as they navigate through the stops and starts of the two-year-old recovery effort toward long-term stability for the region."—Press release (September 17, 2007)
"The report, "Building a Better New Orleans: Hope Needs Help," highlights the tremendous strides made by some of the city's most vulnerable people and showcases the folks who helped make that progress possible. But the report also calls on the federal government, the private sector, and the public to do more to get New Orleans the help it needs to create a truly vibrant and equitable city."—-Press Release
"The purpose of this compendium is to summarize the ongoing and planned activities of the Inspectors General community in their oversight of response and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Katrina. The compendium includes the activities of those OIGs whose Departments were part of the initial response phase or have received significant mission assignments from FEMA."—Introduction and Background.
"The federal I[nspector] G[eneral] community was a natural fit for oversight and stewardship of the largest disaster recovery funding effort in U.S. history. With the many cross-cutting bureaucracies involved, the federal IGs offered the capacity needed for consistent reporting and the preventive interaction to execute the billions in recovery dollars."&mdashExecutive Summary. This report describes IG oversight activities, including agency audits, investigations, and inspections, during the wake of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
"Traditional law and economics has no place for price controls. Yet public support for anti-gouging legislation has led to the enactment of a variety of legal regimes to control price hikes following natural and man-made disasters such as hurricanes and terrorist attacks. This Essay provides an economic justification for such laws. First, the Essay surveys the existing models of anti-gouging legislation. Then, the Essay describes the traditional economic critique of price caps, a critique applied to laws that attempt to control post-disaster prices. Finally, the Essay argues that anti-gouging laws enhance economic efficiency by ensuring a functioning consumer market after the collapse of electronic payment systems on which the American economy now depends. The externalities of consumption in post-disaster environments mean that the costs of consumers forgoing needed products are not adequately captured by a reliance on market mechanisms. This analysis suggests that current anti-gouging laws should be restructured to include a more discrete focus on areas actually affected by physical damage from natural or man-made disasters." —Abstract.
"Hurricane Katrina was more devastating than Betsy. The death toll is sure to be many times as high and the physical damage far more extensive and enduring. And yet to see the city of New Orleans a week after the flood, to see the ruin, was to be shocked much as [President] Johnson was forty years ago."
"Since Hurricane Katrina, resignations from the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) have increased, and the department went more than a year without recruiting enough candidates to justify a police academy training course. This study presents practical recommendations for change that could help the NOPD improve recruiting and retention. Issues addressed include the lack of affordable post-Katrina housing, the fact that the families of many police officers no longer live in the New Orleans area, the destroyed departmental infrastructure, and a budget that does not provide enough resources to meet basic needs. The study focuses on compensation, including housing; the promotion process and the career management system; recruiting; the mix of officers and civilians; and ways to improve the morale of the NOPD. The recommendations, which are specifically tailored to the unique circumstances of the NOPD, include (1) using civilian employees, where appropriate, for jobs currently being performed by uniformed officers; (2) developing a proactive recruiting program; (3) offering some of the city's housing stock in-kind to police officers or selling the property and using the proceeds to improve compensation; (4) increasing the frequency of promotion examinations; (5) eliminating the backlog of promotions to higher levels in the department; (6) restructuring compensation to attract recruits and retain serving officers; (7) establishing a first-responders charter school; and (8) rebuilding the police infrastructure to improve morale."—Document Information.
"In this second summary report examining the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, GulfGov Reports researchers studied the local governments in these communities to see how they are helping or hindering the rebuilding process and to see where these areas stand in their recoveries. In addition, the study looked at how local economies in these communities are faring, the situation with housing and labor, and the state of the states. The first GulfGov Report, which was released on Aug. 22, 2006, found that the communities under study could be separated into three distinct categories: areas that are struggling, areas that are rebounding, and areas that are growing."-Executive Summary.
"In this special interim report, GulfGov Reports looks at the impact of the hurricanes on 15 communities. The school districts are parish and county wide in Louisiana and Mississippi. (In Louisiana, counties are called parishes.) In Mississippi, the school districts examined are all city districts. Specifically, the study examines systems in Calcasieu, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany parishes in Louisiana; Bay St. Louis/Waveland, Biloxi, Gulfport, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Laurel, and Pascagoula in Mississippi; and Mobile County in Alabama."-Overview Analysis.
"The awareness of federal, state and local governments of the potential for levees in New Orleans to fail and decimate poor neighborhoods of the city was widely reported following the hurricane Katrina disaster. Demographics in the areas likely to incur the most severe damage were known to be neighborhoods of predominately poor, black residents. In addition to understanding the likely geographical impact of the impending disaster, the federal government was aware of the extensive social science and legal challenges detailing the likelihood of minority citizens to experience the worst consequences and slowest recovery from natural disasters. Studies dating back to the 1950s and numerous reports of the Red Cross support this conclusion. FEMA itself was sued in federal court for its inadequate response to marginalized communities during hurricane Andrew in 1992. While the federal government may not be held legally responsible for its discretionary policies within the disaster relief context, the horror of hurricane Katrina surely calls for a long overdue re-thinking of the federal approach to assisting marginalized communities in disaster recovery. Social science, the practical problems raised within legal challenges, as well as successful strategies from other disasters and even within the Katrina tragedy offer numerous opportunities for such reform."—Abstract.
"Required information on small business subcontracting was not consistently available in official procurement data systems for the four agencies we reviewed. For example, the systems had no information on whether DHS or GSA required small business subcontracting plans for 70 percent or more of their contracting funds. In addition, the four agencies often did not provide or document reasons for their determinations that plans were not required, even though federal rules require such documentation when prime contracts meet criteria for having these plans. Incomplete information about subcontracting limited GAO's ability to determine the extent to which agencies complied with contracting rules and gave small businesses maximum opportunities to win subcontracts."—What GAO Found.
"Five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, a majority of Americans (57%) say that the nation is no better prepared for hurricanes and other natural disasters than it was in 2005. However, the public does see progress in rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf region: 69% say there has been a lot or some progress made rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf, up from 56% in 2006. The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Aug. 19-22 among 1,003 adults, finds that midway through the 2010 hurricane season, there is broad skepticism about the nation’s preparedness to deal with hurricanes and other natural disasters. Majorities of most political and demographic groups—including 57% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans—say the nation is not better prepared for such disasters than it was when Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast."
A four year update of country reports, accounts of the relief and rebuilding effort, the effects on children, and news, focused on the earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004. Includes video reports.
"There are nine volumes in the final report, designed to provide a detailed documentation of the technical analyses conducted and their associated findings. They are organized around major technical tasks that together provided an in-depth, system-wide assessment of the behavior of the
hurricane protection system and lessons learned that have been incorporated into the immediate repairs and are integrated into the continuing efforts to improve the system and assessing approaches for higher levels of protection. The volumes and their individual focus areas are as follows:
Volume I: Executive Summary and Overview ? Summary of findings and lessons learned. Overview of performance evaluation activities and reports.
Volume II: Geodetic Vertical and Water Level Datums ? Update of geodetic and water level references for the region and determining accurate elevations for all critical structures.
Volume III: The Hurricane Protection System ? Documentation of the character of the hurricane protection system, including the design assumptions and criteria, as built and maintained condition.
Volume IV: The Storm ? Determining the surge and wave environments created by
Katrina and the time history and nature of the forces experienced by protection structures
during the storm.
Volume V: The Performance ? Levees and Floodwalls ? Understanding the behavior of individual damaged structures and development of criteria for evaluation of undamaged sections. Providing input to repairs and ongoing design and planning efforts.
Volume VI: The Performance ? Interior Drainage and Pumping ? Understanding the performance of the interior drainage and pumping systems with regard to extent and duration of flooding. Examination of scenarios to understand system-wide performance.
Volume VII: The Consequences ? Determination of the economic, human safety and health, environmental, and social and cultural losses due to Katrina. Examination of
scenarios to understand implications of losses and possible recovery paths on future risk.
Volume VIII: Risk and Reliability ? Determination of the inherent risk for all parts of the system prior to and following Katrina. Provision of capability for risk-based decision support for continuing improvement and development of hurricane protection.
Volume IX: Supporting Appendices ? Documentation of information resources and
management, program management, and communications."
"The devastating hurricanes of 2005 had a two-fold impact on DOI. First, DOI was called upon to assist in the federal relief efforts under the National Response Plan (NRP). Second, DOI's bureaus were greatly affected by the disasters. DOI sustained significant damage to 12 parks and preserves, 86 refuges, 68 water monitoring gauges, and the Mineral Management Service's (MMS) Gulf of Mexico Regional Office. As of September 30, 2006, DOI spent approximately $104 million on hurricane relief and recovery. This included approximately $61 million for NRP activities and $43 million to respond to and address internal damage.
"We are pleased to report that overall, the bureaus effectively managed their 2005 hurricane-related expenditures. Given the magnitude of the damage sustained to the Gulf Coast and DOI facilities, the issues we identified through our expenditure testing were relatively insignificant, and the bureaus performed well."—Earl E. Devaney, Inspector General.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting requested a review on the administration of the ice delivery process between International American Products, Worldwide Services and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Specifically, we limited our review to only the administration of the ice delivery process during the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort. The report also addresses other matters identified during our review of the administration of the 2003 ice delivery contract. We issued DoD Inspector General Report No. 2006-116, 'Ice Delivery Contracts Between International American Products, Worldwide Services and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,' on September 26, 2006. That report addressed Congressman Bennie Thompson's concerns on the award of the ice delivery contracts between International American Products, Worldwide Services and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This report addresses the administration of the 2003 ice delivery contract related to the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort....
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Charleston District did not effectively administer the 2003 ice delivery contract for the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort. The Corps Charleston District did not provide adequate training and guidance for invoice processing over the National Ice/Water Mission. They made inaccurate or inadequately supported payments on 142 of the 342 invoices received in the amount of about $262,000."—Executive Summary.
"Results. USACE reporting of obligations related to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts was not always timely and efficient. Specifically, USACE did not make timely updates to the Corps of Engineers Financial Management System or perform timely closeouts of mission assignments. USACE also did not reconcile mission assignments and corresponding amendments with FEMA and did not track all funding from Congress. As a result, USACE increased the risk of not accurately reporting obligations and expenditures. (See the Finding section of the report for the detailed recommendations.)"—Executive Summary.
"The Government purchase card program was designed to save the Government money by avoiding costly paperwork and to expedite the process of making purchases. In response to Hurricane Katrina, Public Law 109-62 authorized agencies to streamline certain purchasing requirements for procurement of supplies or services to support rescue and relief operations. This report (1) determines whether Government purchase card purchases related to Hurricane Katrina complied with requirements for the use of the card and (2) identifies lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina purchases to assist in the administration of the Government purchase card program during future emergency situations.
"We found that 15 percent of purchases did not comply with purchase card requirements. Additionally, cardholders had questions and concerns regarding some purchases and over half of cardholders expressed the need for additional written guidance regarding emergency purchasing procedures. Lastly, we found that Hurricane Katrina purchase data contained inaccuracies.
"We recommend that the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management provide additional written guidance on emergency purchasing procedures. We also recommend that ASAM require training on emergency purchasing procedures. Finally, we recommend that ASAM develop a tracking system for monitoring Government purchase card purchases during emergency situations. In its comments to the draft report, ASAM concurred with our recommendations and stated that it has set a course of action to strengthen the Department of Health and Human Services' purchase card program."
"Starting in fiscal year 2005, and continuing through early 2007, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials used funds received from the sale of used travel trailers and mobile homes to partially finance the operations of a dozen Emergency Housing Unit (EHU) sites in seven states. However, more than $13.5 million of the sales proceeds were expended for ineligible purchases. This occurred because FEMA program officials failed to ensure that the EHU expenditures met General Services Administration (GSA) regulations on the use of sales proceeds.
"Proceeds from the sale of government property are restricted-use funds that can be used for the purchase of a select group of replacement type items within a specified time. GSA regulations specify conditions that must be met in order to participate in the program, and if not met, an agency must return proceeds to the United States Treasury.FEMA officials used approximately one half of the sales proceeds, or about $13.5 million, on ineligible expenditures including (1) contracts to support and equip storage sites, (2) replenishment of purchase card accounts, and (3) travel expenses. These purchases generally represented operating expenses of the EHU sites, but were ineligible expenditures under GSA regulations. Because of the unbudgeted nature of these funds and the need for better oversight and control, unnecessary and uneconomical purchases were made.
"FEMA requested this review in early 2007 and FEMA's Disaster Finance Center initiated its own detailed review concurrently. The Disaster Finance Center review, completed in June 2007, concluded that most of the sales proceeds were used for ineligible purposes or not used within prescribed timeframes. The Disaster Finance Center recommended that appropriate fund account adjustments be made and that improperly used funds be returned to the U.S. Treasury. We concur with the Disaster Finance Center recommendations and make additional recommendations to prevent misuse in the future."—Executive Summary
"The Department of Justice is committed to working in partnership with state and local law enforcement and communities to combat violent crime. As part of this effort, the Department has allocated additional resources to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina."
"[T]he contract's statement of work could have been improved to ensure that it did not contain unnecessary and ambiguous requirements that limited competition. Full and open competition is required by Federal Acquisition Regulations and EPA's Contracts Management Manual. Specifically, EPA:
Overstated the need for land
Sought unneeded kitchen space, refrigerators, and microwaves
Did not consider multi-story office space
Unnecessarily required a 6-foot fence
Did not clearly indicate whether private rooms per person were needed"
"Hurricane Katrina caused several breaches in the floodwalls along three drainage canals in New Orleans, contributing to catastrophic flooding. To restore the pre-Katrina level of hurricane-related flood protection, the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) decided to acquire several large-capacity pumping systems. During the process of acquiring, testing, and installing the pumping systems, issues with the pump contract and operation of the pumping systems came to light, including several identified in a Corps Independent Team Report (ITR). GAO was asked to evaluate the Corps' efforts to (1) develop contract specifications and award the contract, (2) address pumping system performance issues, (3) document contract modifications, and (4) reconcile contract payments."—Purpose.
"Schedule concerns drove the Corps' decisions in developing specifications for the pumping systems, but the rush to award the contract resulted in deficiencies in key contract provisions. The Corps was committed to having as much pumping capacity as possible in place at the drainage canals by June 1, 2006—the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. Due to the compressed schedule and the limited space available for installation, and based on the limited market research conducted by the Corps' consultants, the Corps decided to use 60-inch hydraulic pumping systems rather than alternatives that would have involved longer delivery schedules or required more space. The Corps' consultants drafted contract specifications that closely matched those of one supplier, which, combined with the 60-inch pumping system requirement, resulted in that supplier being in the strongest position to compete for the contract. Further, the contract itself was not written as precisely as it should have been. Specifically, the original factory test requirements were ambiguous, there were limited provisions for on-site testing, and there were no criteria for acceptance of the pumping systems by the government."—Results in brief.
"This report examines (1) the processes FEMA followed for soliciting and evaluating AHHP project proposals, and for selecting projects for funding and determining the funding amounts;(2) how FEMA's processes compare with those of other agencies that carry out similar similar types of competitive grant programs; and (3) how the group of projects FEMA selected for AHHP funding, as well as other funding options, addresses the goal of identifying alternative forms of disaster housing." p.1
"While the federal government provides significant financial assistance after major disasters, state and local governments play the lead role in disaster recovery. As affected jurisdictions recover from the recent hurricanes and floods, experiences from past disasters can provide insights into potential good practices. Drawing on experiences from six major disasters that occurred from 1989 to 2005, GAO identified the following selected insights:
Create a clear, implementable, and timely recovery plan.
Build state and local capacity for recovery.
Implement strategies for businesses recovery.
Adopt a comprehensive approach toward combating fraud, waste, and abuse." — GAO Highlights
"Since its inception in 1995, the EMAC network has grown significantly in size, volume, and the type of resources it provides. EMAC's membership has increased from a handful of states in 1995 to 52 states and territories today, and EMAC members have used the compact to obtain support for several types of disasters including hurricanes, floods, and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The volume and variety of resources states have requested under EMAC have also grown significantly. For example, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, New York requested 26 support staff under EMAC to assist in emergency management operations; whereas, in response to the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, approximately 66,000 personnel—about 46,500 National Guard and 19,500 civilian responders— were deployed under EMAC from a wide variety of specialties, most of whom went to areas directly impacted by the storms.
"While the EMAC network has developed a basic administrative capacity,opportunities exist for it to further build on and sustain these efforts. The EMAC network has adopted several good management practices, such as using after-action reports to learn from experiences and developing a 5-year strategic plan. However, the EMAC network can enhance its administrative capacity by improving how it plans, measures, and reports on its performance. FEMA provided $2 million to help build this capacity in 2003, but the agreement has recently expired. FEMA and EMAC leadership are in the process of finalizing a new 3-year cooperative agreement. Such an agreement would enhance the EMAC network's ability to support its collaborative efforts." —What the GAO found.
"Reconstruction in the Gulf Coast creates a significant opportunity for incorporating energy efficiency improvements that could produce long-term energy costs savings in residential and commercial buildings. The sheer magnitude of the reconstruction effort and Louisiana's and Mississippi's recent adoption of more energy-efficient building codes makes this an opportune time for incorporating energy efficiency improvements in the rebuilding efforts. In partnership with a DOE national laboratory, GAO analyzed energy cost savings opportunities and estimated that adopting these newer building codes could reduce residential energy costs in these two states by at least $20 to $28 million per year, depending on the extent of the rebuilding efforts in these states. Furthermore, the analysis also showed that annual energy expenditures for commercial buildings—hospitals, schools, offices, and retail buildings—built to newer energy standards could be about 7 to 34 percent lower than buildings built to older standards. There also are opportunities for consumers to make additional energy efficiency improvements to both building types by replacing old, damaged equipment."—What GAO Found.
"In February 2006, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) appropriated $2 billion for certain health care costs related to Hurricane Katrina through Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was charged with allocating the $2 billion in funding to states directly affected by the hurricane or that hosted evacuees.
"GAO performed this work under the Comptroller General's statutory authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative. In this report, GAO examined: (1) how CMS allocated the DRA funds to states, (2) the extent to which states have used DRA funds, and (3) whether selected states—Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas—anticipate the need for additional funds after DRA funds are expended."—Why GAO Did this Study.
"FEMA's ineffective oversight resulted in an estimated $30 million in wasteful and improper or potentially fraudulent payments to the MD ["maintain and deactivate"] contractors from June 2006 through January 2007 and likely led to millions more in unnecessary spending beyond this period. For example, FEMA wasted as much as $16 million because it did not issue task orders to the contractors with the lowest prices. In addition, GAO estimates that FEMA paid the contractors almost $16 million because it approved improper or potentially fraudulent invoices. This amount includes about $15 million spent on maintenance inspections even though there was no evidence that inspections occurred and about $600,000 for emergency repairs on housing units that do not exist in FEMA's inventory.
"Furthermore, FEMA's placement of trailers at group sites is leading to excessive costs. As shown below, FEMA will spend on average about $30,000 on each 280 square foot trailer at a private site through March 2009, the date when FEMA plans to end temporary housing occupancy. In contrast, expenses for just one trailer at the Port of Bienville Park case study site could escalate to about $229,000---the same as the cost of a five bedroom, 2,000 square foot home in Jackson, Mississippi." —What GAO Found.
"Hurricanes Katrina and Rita wreaked havoc on small businesses in the Gulf Coast, and much federal assistance has been provided to help these businesses. GAO was asked to describe (1) the amount of assistance provided to Gulf Coast small businesses through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) disaster and Gulf Opportunity (GO) loans, state-administered business assistance programs funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program; (2) the extent to which Gulf Coast small businesses received federal contract funds; and (3) the current state of and improvements in the region’s economy. GAO analyzed data on SBA and EDA loans and states’ use of supplemental CDBG appropriations, data on prime and subcontracts awarded for hurricane recovery activities, and economic indicators both before and after the hurricanes."—Why GAO Did This Study.
"Under the Bush Administration, the 'shadow government' of private companies working under federal contract has exploded in size. Between 2000 and 2005, procurement spending increased by over $175 billion dollars, making federal contracts the fastest growing component of federal discretionary spending.
"This growth in federal procurement has enriched private contractors. But it has also come at a steep cost for federal taxpayers. Overcharging has been frequent, and billions of dollars of taxpayer money have been squandered."—Executive Summary.
A section devoted to "Wasteful Katrina Contracts" begins on p.58.
"The National Library of Medicine has released a new resource focused on the health effects from wildfires. The California Wildfires web page includes information on the health effects from fires and exposure to smoke; links to air quality resources, environmental clean-up following fires, and animals in disasters.
"In addition, resources for emergency responders and information in Spanish are alsoincluded. Searches of NLM databases, such as MedlinePlus, PubMed,TOXLINE, Tox Town, and Haz-Map (occupational health) are provided for additional health information. It also provides the locations of facilities reporting to the EPA Toxics Release Inventory and Superfund sites in and around San Diego (TOXMAP).
"This web page is designed to help emergency responders, health care providers, public health workers, and the general public find authoritative and timely information about key health concerns from wildfires. Links to other federal government web sites, including USA.gov, FEMA, and the Department of Health and Human Services are included."
An online congressional information services company accumulation of congressional findings, reports, legislative activities, and related documents, many of which are included in this Disasters and the Law guide See also the option to View all Katrina Documents link.
"Many of the New Orleans levee and floodwall failures in the wake of Hurricane Katrina occurred at weak-link junctions where different levee or wall sections joined together, according to a preliminary report [PDF—12.5M] released today (Wednesday, Nov. 2) by independent investigators from the University of California, Berkeley, and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)."
"In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Congress passed new exceptions to U.S. procurement rules. The most important new exception, passed at the recommendation of the Bush administration, raised the limit for micro-purchases - essentially unregulated purchases - from $2,500 to $250,000. In practice, this will mean that Katrina relief purchases may be made, up to $250,000 per order, without any effective transparency or competition, and without honoring the many socioeconomic requirements that are an important part of the U.S. procurement system. This comment reviews that emergency legislation, and suggests that the new law, by abandoning basic principles of sound procurement, raises real risks in the post-Katrina relief effort, including risks of corruption and risks of gross failures in best value procurement." —Abstract.