At the core of our national character is the belief that government should serve the common good and ensure the protection, prosperity and opportunity of all people. The federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina was profoundly disturbing and broke faith with that belief.
Americans and their government extended their hearts and wallets after the disaster, yet we are still in need of a serious national discussion to ensure that a calamity of this magnitude is better handled in the future and that the arduous recovery process is sustained going forward. Building on the principle of the common good, the Center for American Progress offers the following national actions to help ensure better preparedness and recovery capacity for natural disasters or attacks:
- Implement an effective emergency public health response system
- Invest more in disaster and climate change preparedness and planning
- Streamline federal and state relief benefits and break the logjam on federal funds
- Redouble our commitment to building and protecting critical infrastructure
- Create a rapid response housing voucher program to better shelter people during and after emergencies
- Ensure federal assistance in returning displaced children to school and finding teachers for devastated school districts
- Finance preparedness efforts through offsets in other areas, particularly from counterproductive spending and unfair tax policies
- Create an independent Federal Disaster Graft Protection Commission to ensure that taxpayer funds are not abused in any major disaster.