The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has come a long way since Hurricane Katrina in its response to disasters but the country has a long way to go to improve preparedness, Lt. Gen. Russel Honore told a gathering of homeland security stakeholders in Washington, D.C., last week at the 2009 Homeland Security S&T Stakeholders Conference. Honore was the commander of the Joint Task Force Katrina responsible for coordinating military relief efforts for areas across the Gulf Coast impacted by Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people. In contrast, Hurricane Ike killed fewer than 30 people, Honore said. That’s largely because people were warned and evacuated ahead of time.
“I believe for every dollar you spend on preparedness you save $9 in response,” Honore said.