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FEMA Director Pushing for Quick Recovery From Isaac

By Rhonda Miller | Published 04 Sep 2012 09:36pm | comments
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, left, meets with officials at a new hurricane shelter in Hancock County. At center is President of the Hancock County Board of Supervisors Lisa Cowand, right, MEMA Director Robert Latham.

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is reviewing Mississippi areas impacted by Hurricane Isaac to see what worked well and what needs improvement. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports local leaders have some suggestions.

FEMA  Administrator Craig Fugate told leaders in Hancock County yesterday buildings and homes brought up to hurricane-resistant standards fared well during Isaac. Fugate said the goal now is to solve new problems showing up.

"We have mitigation specialists that work with the state, and we look for those opportunities where we see damages. Is there a way to minimize or prevent that damage next time, and what would we do differently?"

In Pearl River County and Picayune many homes suffered severe damage from a record rainfall of 22 inches in three days during Isaac. State Senator Angela Hill represents the area and is urging federal and state leaders to deal with the problem.

"I’ve been told by some who are a little bit older and wiser than me that before we had the modern highways on 43 and out on Long Bridge or Beech Street,  that we didn’t have such substantial flooding in these residential areas. I think that we need to get some larger culverts placed in on the sides of these highways over the bridges, so that some of this water can get to the Pearl River and go ahead and get out of our area."

Fugate said he was briefed on the issue and FEMA has specialists to work with the state.

"This is not unusual with mitigation, when we see problems like that putting in bigger box culverts. You need to come back and do system design, so you don’t just do one thing and make it worse for somebody else."

In Hancock County, President of the Board of Supervisors Lisa Cowand said a  program is moving forward that uses federal dollars to buy out homes in flood-prone areas.

"In Pearlington, specifically, and a couple of areas down that way, Ansley and Clermont Harbor, there  is a buyout program existing that started since Katrina. There was $10 million allotted to Hancock County  to make this happen, just a preliminary program to get it done."

Cowand said the county has a list of houses that meet the criteria and will work with residents to move them out of harm’s way and  hopefully, onto higher ground within Hancock County.

Images

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, left, meets with officials at a new hurricane shelter in Hancock County. At center is President of the Hancock County Board of Supervisors Lisa Cowand, right, MEMA Director Robert Latham.


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