Evaluating the Rebuilding Effort Post Hurricane Katrina
“With the efforts to rebuild already happening at a snail’s pace, now is hardly the time for the just rebuilding of the Gulf Coast to be on the back burner of national priorities for America.
Lives are at stake and so is the soul of our nation.”
–“Report Card, The Triumph and Struggles in the Just Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast”
The National Council of Churches USA recently released “Report Card: The Triumphs and Struggles in the Just Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast.” The report grades local, state, and federal services agencies’ functioning after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and grades the current efficacy of such programs. At a time when President Bush notably failed to mention the recovery effort in his State of the Union address, and news coverage is turning away from the disaster and toward the 2008 presidential election, NCC’s report is a valuable reminder of the injustice and turmoil that contextualizes the recovery effort.
“Report Card” is equally valuable for its recommendations that those who live in affected regions be able to participate in the rebuilding plan and that congregations facilitate this dialogue by investing time and effort in community organizations that enable all voices to be heard. For example, the cost of living in New Orleans and other affected areas is rising, but little has been done to plan for affordable housing and well-paying jobs for those who have already moved back. “Report Card” draws attention to these issues of growth and establishes the premise that residents who live in New Orleans deserve the right to self-sufficiency, quality education, and access to basic health services.
Ultimately, by highlighting major failings of the recovery effort thus far, “Report Card” asks rhetorical questions that act as a platform for action. Where is more funding needed? Where have our public policies failed? How can I help make sure such tragedies do not happen again? I encourage everyone to read NCC’s “Report Card” and continue to keep in mind these issues of injustice.