Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Republicans, Democrats decry still-ravaged New Orleans, propose steps to spur recovery

Republicans, Democrats decry still-ravaged New Orleans, propose steps to spur recovery

Republican and Democratic presidential candidates on Monday bemoaned the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina as they called for ways to spur the recovery of New Orleans two years after the devastating storm.
Democrat John Edwards proposed increasing federal funds for 500 new police officers, promised to provide full scholarships for nurses who commit to working in the city and called for the creation of "Brownie's Law" to ensure that federal political appointees are qualified for their jobs.
The latter was a reference to former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown, who was widely criticized for his agency's response to the disaster. President George W. Bush publicly told the director, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," even as evacuees remained trapped in the Louisiana Superdome and bloated bodies were scattered in the streets.
"Our government's response to Hurricane Katrina has been a national shame," said Edwards, who announced his candidacy last year in the hurricane-ravaged area of the city. "We are not the country of the Superdome in New Orleans after Katrina. We can prove it by fulfilling our moral responsibility to get New Orleans back on its feet."
Details of Edwards' plan were contained in remarks prepared for delivery at the Hope & Recovery Summit at the University of New Orleans, an event marking Katrina's two-year anniversary. Edwards and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton planned to address the group Monday night along with Republican Duncan Hunter. Republican candidate Mike Huckabee spoke Monday morning.
Huckabee said the federal government's response to Katrina was marked by a lack of leadership and planning. He said that guilt after the storm meant money was directed to the region but not necessarily in the ideal way.
Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, decried the bureaucracy that has stalled the recovery of New Orleans. He said the government needed to put "people first, paperwork next in a disaster the size of Katrina."
New Orleans' recovery from the storm has been hampered by red tape as officials try to ensure that billions of federal dollars being sent to the area are spent properly. But critics have complained that the accountability procedures are keeping money from getting to individuals and neighborhoods that need it most.
The city's population continues to grow _ now estimated at about 270,000 out of pre-Katrina level of 455,000.
But Huckabee said about half the 75,000 Louisiana residents who fled to Arkansas are still there, and he thinks they will stay there because of job opportunities, stability and the need to get away from the storm's trauma.
New Orleans was ordered abandoned after levees broke and flooded 80 percent of the city. More than 1,400 deaths were blamed on Katrina in Louisiana.
Speaking to the policy makers, academics, scientists and community members at Monday's symposium, Huckabee said many of those remaining in Arkansas have a sense of abandonment. "You can never, ever undo that in a human soul," he said.
___
Associated Press Writer Becky Bohrer contributed to this story.


Updated : 2021-05-06 07:19 GMT+08:00