Obama names new chief for federal emergency affair agency
U.S. President Barack Obama named on Wednesday a new chief for the federal emergency affair agency, which has been widely criticized for the 2005 Katrina Hurricane.
According to the White House, Craig Fugate, who was in charge of emergency affairs in Florida, has been named as the new director to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a key component of the Homeland Security Department.
A statement released by the White House praised Fugate, a Republican, for his performance in dealing with the numerous hurricanes that hit the state in the past decade, Xinhua reported.
"From his experience as a first responder to his strong leadership as Florida's Emergency Manager, Craig has what it takes to help us improve our preparedness, response and recovery efforts, " Obama said in the statement.
"I'm confident that Craig is the right person for the job and will ensure that the failures of the past are never repeated," he added, referring to the former Bush administration's response to Katrina.
Janet Napolitano, head of the Homeland Security Department, welcomed the nomination, saying Fugate "is one of the most respected emergency managers in the nation, and the work he's accomplished in Florida serves as a model for other states to follow."
While waiting for the confirmation by the Senate, Fugate would join Napolitano in a trip on Thursday to the Gulf Coast that is still struggling to recover from the Katrina impact.
The Bush administration and the then FEMA were criticized for their slow and inefficient response to Katrina, which swept the Gulf Coast region, especially New Orleans, leaving tens of thousands homeless and causing losses of billions of U.S. dollars.
According to U.S. media reports, currently there are still thousands of Katrina and other storm victims living in temporary housing.
Since the presidential campaign, Obama has vowed not to repeat such "failures" in handling emergent disasters.