NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Nearly 10 years after Hurricane Katrina, disaster experts say there are plenty of lessons to learn from the storm.
"One of them is, of course, trying to find ways to make the grant funding much more flexible, using an agreed-upon estimate and then using the funding more as a block grant rather than trying to build back exactly what we had before," said Mike Womack, FEMA's Louisiana Recovery executive director. "That's one of the big differences from a recovery standpoint that we're looking at. The focus of the agencies is changed on these grants from just building back to what we had before to trying to build back more resilient. You know, if we're going to build back a facility, maybe not build it back at whatever base flood elevation is, but build it back a foot or two above that so it's less likely to flood next time."
Womack spoke about the years of progress since Hurricane Katrina at FEMA's National Advisory Council Meeting, a two-day affair being held at Jackson Barracks. The National Advisory Council was created after Katrina as a way to ensure coordination in preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation for national disasters.
The council does not change federal policy, but does advise FEMA's administrator, Craig Fugate, who is in town for the meeting.
Members also will discuss federal flood insurance rates that will go up next month, new building standards to mitigate flood risk, and hurricane preparedness.