News Release

Katrina: Where’s the Accountability?


Michael Chertoff, the head of the Department of Homeland Security, is reportedly among the candidates to replace Alberto Gonzales.

Kromm is the executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies and co-author of the new report “Blueprint for Gulf Renewal: The Katrina Crisis and a Community Agenda for Action.” He said today: “To think that Michael Chertoff, whose agency oversaw FEMA during one of its most catastrophic failures — the response to Hurricane Katrina — is being considered as attorney general boggles the imagination. Although Chertoff didn’t take the fall for the Katrina fiasco, it was on his watch that over 1,800 perished in New Orleans in large part because FEMA had no evacuation plan; that billions of dollars were wasted because FEMA had no contracting accountability; and that thousands were denied aid because FEMA didn’t deliver. Chertoff should have been forced into retirement long ago — not considered a top prospect for one of the most powerful federal positions in the country.”

Kromm added: “Of the $116 billion the White House claims it has spent, only 30 percent is aimed at fixing up schools and other long-term recovery needs, and less than half of that has been spent. … Over 60,000 are still living in FEMA trailers; houses and hospitals are still shuttered; and the levees of New Orleans aren’t scheduled to be rebuilt until 2011.”
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Clements is the president of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, which is overseeing Gulf Coast Relief Fund, a volunteer program. He said today: “The second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina sadly reaffirms the total failure of government agencies at all levels to respond to the needs of the hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents as they try to rebuild their homes and their lives.”
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For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy at (202) 347-0020.