HURRICANE Katrina's direct hit on New Orleans in 2005 brought disaster in many ways: almost 1,800 lives lost, $108 billion in property damage and for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a lingering reputation for failure.
In fact, it might have meant the end for the agency, which can trace its roots back more than 200 years. There's been talk that FEMA might be a worthy target for elimination or privatization in the name of federal budget-cutting.
Hold on. FEMA, the dope of Katrina, might be turning into the hero of Superstorm Sandy.
In terms of lives affected, Sandy is bigger than Katrina. Millions of people live in the path of the superstorm. FEMA's success in its mission of coordinating federal relief efforts, assisting state and local emergency response teams and, as the name says, emergency management, was essential.
From all accounts so far, including praise from state and local officials across the disaster zone, the agency has met the challenge admirably.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram