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FEMA Continues With Katrina Recovery in Mississippi as New Disasters Strike the Gulf Coast
From: FEMA   Filed 9/22/08  GCN

BILOXI, Miss. Despite hurricanes Gustav and Ike making landfall along the gulf coast in recent weeks, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Mississippi Transitional Recovery Office (MS TRO) remains focused on its mission of helping Mississippi recover from Hurricane Katrina.

“We just want to assure everyone that we are continuing to work every day in helping rebuild the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Alec Watson, acting director of the MS TRO. “We still have a job to do here and will not leave until it is finished.”

FEMA works alongside its rebuilding partners at MEMA in the Mississippi recovery effort.

“Moving forward in our recovery is one of the most important parts of the rebuilding process,” said MEMA Director Mike Womack. “Although storms like Gustav and Ike slowed things down, we are pleased that these storms did not destroy the tremendous progress we have already achieved.”

Two and a half weeks after the third anniversary of Katrina, many signs of progress can be seen throughout Mississippi. New community shelters and schools are being constructed from Jackson County to Pearl River County. South Hancock Elementary is set to open in the coming months and will be one of the first public schools to be re-built after suffering total devastation. The new St. Martin High School will include a 52,000 square-foot shelter.

These schools are being rebuilt using federal Public Assistance funds. Money to build the shelters is provided through the Hazard Mitigation Grants Program (HMGP). MEMA administers Public Assistance funds as well as the HMGP.

Numerous other rebuilding projects are nearing completion on the Coast. In Biloxi, the Small Craft Harbor is on the verge of completion. The Biloxi Community Center, which was used by the Mississippi National Guard and other first responders after the storm, needed substantial repairs. That work has been completed and the facility has re-opened in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We thank the citizens of Mississippi for their resolve, determination and patience as the mission of

a full recovery moves forward,” said Watson. “Our job has been made much easier over the last

three years because of the willingness of Mississippians to take a proactive approach in rebuilding

their communities.”

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