Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned   [open pdf - 3MB]

Alternate Title: Townsend Report

From the Document: "Awakening to reports of Katrina's landfall on the Gulf Coast the morning of Monday, August 29, American citizens watched events unfold with an initial curiosity that soon turned to concern and sorrow. The awe that viewers held for the sheer ferocity of nature was soon matched with disappointment and frustration at the seeming inability of the 'government'- local, State, and Federal- to respond effectively to the crisis. Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent sustained flooding of New Orleans exposed significant flaws in Federal, State, and local preparedness for catastrophic events and our capacity to respond to them. Emergency plans at all levels of government, from small town plans to the 600-page National Response Plan- the Federal governments plan to coordinate all its departments and agencies and integrate them with State, local, and private sector partners"were put to the ultimate test, and came up short. Millions of Americans were reminded of the need to protect themselves and their families. Even as parts of New Orleans were still under water, President Bush spoke to the Nation from the city's historic Jackson Square. He stated unequivocally, that '[f]our years after the frightening experience of September the 11th, Americans have every right to expect a more effective response in a time of emergency. When the federal government fails to meet such an obligation, I, as President, am responsible for the problem, and for the solution.' In his address, the President ordered a comprehensive review of the Federal response to Hurricane Katrina so we as a Nation could make the necessary changes to be 'better prepared for any challenge of nature or act of evil men that could threaten our people.' The President's charge has resulted in the material and conclusions of this Report, 'The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned'. This report is the result of a review headed by Frances Townsend and is also commonly referred to as the 'Townsend Report'."

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