Over this past decade, FEMA has assisted 1,173 U.S. disasters with more than $40.5 billion in public assistance grants. Two disasters - hurricanes Katrina and Rita - are responsible for nearly 27 percent, or $10.8 billion, of this funding…and this is only for damages in Louisiana.
Given the magnitude of destruction and the unprecedented recovery work that has resulted, effective communications between all stakeholders remains a key factor in Louisiana’s successful recovery. FEMA’s partner-ship with federal, state and local officials, as well as communication with other external parties, continues to help move this state’s rebuilding efforts forward in a transparent and expedited manner.
Just this past December, FEMA and the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness opened a joint Disaster Recovery Facility in Baton Rouge. This office was created to further enable “side-by-side” efforts with the goal of Louisiana’s full recovery in mind.
With each milestone, FEMA recognizes the importance of continued education for staff and partners. As a result, FEMA has retained a training office in Louisiana so that all parties - federal, state and local - have the necessary tools to be involved in the agency’s Public Assistance Program.
To promote additional collaboration, FEMA recently created shared databases with GOHSEP, as well as an interactive public assistance Web site, both of which significantly enhance coordination and information sharing to expedite Louisiana’s recovery process.
In support of such efforts, FEMA’s External Affairs Department works daily to communicate FEMA’s mission and programs through outreach efforts and the creation and sharing of a variety of informational products. By doing so, FEMA EA staffers have established valuable, joint relationships with many external partners - including government officials, media and international delegations interested in learning about Louisiana’s unparalleled recovery. Within 2011 alone, FEMA hosted foreign delegates from Africa, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands and Pakistan.
As Louisiana’s recovery continues to progress, FEMA’s own communication efforts will do the same by building upon best practices and instituting new measures necessary to best serve Louisiana.
Katrina and Rita Recovery
Between August 2010 and June 2011, FEMA LRO officials and local recovery partners celebrated approximately 30 recovery projects, taking part in events from groundbreakings to grand openings