BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office (LATRO), the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) and the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) will jointly assume Hurricane Gustav and Ike recovery operations.
The LATRO, LRA and GOHSEP have been engaged partners in overseeing hurricanes Katrina and Rita disaster recovery operations for nearly over 2 ? years. Shifting Hurricane Gustav and Ike recovery operations to the LATRO, LRA and GOHSEP will ensure a continued commitment to Louisiana, local governments and nonprofits. Additionally, the transition will limit rotating personnel or training of new employees on past, current and futures issues.
"Consistency is important in executing successful programs," said Jim Stark, acting associate deputy administrator for FEMA's Gulf Coast Recovery Office. "Through our strong partnership with the state, we will together utilize lessons learned from hurricanes Katrina and Rita recovery so that our experienced staff will quickly advance Gustav and Ike recovery operations."
FEMA, LRA and GOHSEP have already started meeting with affected parishes to assess their needs and determine how to help streamline their recovery from Gustav and Ike. Using existing authority and through programs created in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, these agencies can assist many parishes who were affected by both the storms of 2005 and hurricanes Gustav and Ike, including offering planning and technical assistance.
"To streamline recovery from Gustav and Ike, we will build on our existing foundation of partnerships forged in the past three years of recovering from hurricanes Katrina and Rita," LRA Executive Director Paul Rainwater said. "So far, we have had great success in speeding funds to parishes to help them rebuild, focusing on first response agencies and clearing logjams delaying mitigation funds. We will recover from Gustav and Ike with this same spirit of determination and cooperation."
Gustav and Ike recovery operations will impact all three of FEMA's main mission areas of Public Assistance, Individual Assistance and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
During his first day in office, Governor Bobby Jindal issued an Executive Order directing the LRA to be responsible for the state's actions with regard to FEMA's Public Assistance program for hurricanes Katrina and Hurricane Rita. The LRA is working in conjunction with GOHSEP and its federal partners to identify ways to streamline the Public Assistance process and improve efficiency, which resulted in the state-administered "Express Pay System," which cut the length of time applicants, usually local governments, wait for reimbursements from two months to around one week. ?
Created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the coordinating and planning body leading the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history. The central point for hurricane recovery in Louisiana, the LRA partners with state and federal agencies to oversee more than $20 billion worth of programs, speed the pace of rebuilding, remove hurdles and red tape and ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before. For more information about the LRA and its 17-member board, visit lra.louisiana.gov.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.