State and Local officials say they learned from Katrina and are ready for Rita
| 09.21.2005 | 12:05:22 | Views: 2339 | ID:
September 21 '05: State and local officials have said they have learned much about responding to large disasters like Hurricane Katrina, Knight Ridder news services reported Wednesday. Officials also told the news service that "they're better prepared than they were when Katrina hit three weeks ago."
Even as the cleanup from Katrina continues, military and federal officials working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency have said troops and personnel are already deployed in the Gulf Coast region for oncoming Hurricane Rita which is expected to hit Texas later this weekend.Valerie Smith, a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman told Knight Ridder that under the National Response Plan, the secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, would be in charge of the primary response from the federal government. In preparation for Rita, Texas Governor Rick Perry told CNN that 5,000 National Guard troops and 1,000 Department of Public Safety troopers were being moved into the Galveston area to respond after the storm hits. Officials are worried about Hurricane Rita because it has now become a category-4 hurricane. Also, Knight Ridder reported that state and local authorities, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, have instituted changes to their initial emergency response. Officials in Texas, anticipating the large storm to reach Texas by the weekend have: increased the number of elderly, poor and sick people in the targeted areas; provided a larger number of buses to help evacuate people; increasing the communications ability of responders by using satellite phone systems; installing and setting up a military communications system which is estimated to cost $4.5 million; and securing the already-damaged levee system in New Orleans.
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