April 15, 2006

Homeland Security criticizes FEMA over Katrina: report

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. government officials allowed
concerns about terrorism to overshadow the dangers posed by
natural disasters after the September 11 attacks, even though
such disasters occur more frequently and are not preventable,
The New York Times reported on Saturday citing a new Department
of Homeland Security report.

The report concluded that the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, roundly criticized for its slow and often ineffective
response to Hurricane Katrina last year, needed to improve.

"Much of the criticism is warranted," the Times quoted the
report as saying about FEMA's Katrina response.

The report by the department's inspector general, Richard
Skinner, offered 38 recommendations for improving FEMA's
effectiveness in areas ranging from housing for disaster
victims to communicating with local officials, the Times said.

It said the agency must do a better job training employees,
improve its computer systems and win more effective support
from the Department of Homeland Security, which recently
assumed responsibility for the embattled, once-independent

It added that Homeland Security's takeover of FEMA had not
been smooth, with full integration requiring "additional work
and a level of support not currently demonstrated," the report