卡崔娜災後5週年 重建持續中 | 環境資訊中心

卡崔娜災後5週年 重建持續中

2010年09月01日
摘譯自2010年8月28日ENS美國,紐奧良報導;段譽豪編譯;蔡麗伶審校

2010年8月25日,共同重建組織的工人正在油漆紐奧良的一間房子。圖片來源:共同重建組織。8月29日,是美國史上最具破壞力的卡崔娜颶風侵襲美國5週年的日子,美國總統歐巴馬與第一夫人蜜雪兒,以及內閣成員們都到了紐奧良。

這場颶風造成約1100億美元的損失,成為美國歷史上最昂貴的颶風。影響所及包含7個州與超過1500萬人。

白宮發表聲明指出,自從歐巴馬上任以來,歐巴馬政府減少了官僚作風,提供墨西哥灣沿岸居民重建所需的工具,包括發放了停滯多年的公共援助基金給路易斯安那與密西西比,總額高達24.2億美金。

2005年8月29日,三級颶風卡崔娜侵襲路易斯安那東南部。而最嚴重的生命損失在紐奧良,在潰堤後幾小時內,暴風雨抵達內陸。最後八成以上的城市面積與大片鄰近教區淹沒在洪水之中,時間長達數星期之久。

沿岸地區的財產損失最為嚴重,密西西比距海12英里內的濱海城鎮都泡在水裡。

白宮表示,歐巴馬總統在澤維爾大學(Xavier University)發表演說,是因為它的重建成果在紐奧良與墨西哥灣沿岸地區十分成功。

數呎深的洪水蓋滿了整個校園長達兩週。卡崔娜颶風使得澤維爾的教職員生分散在全國各地,讓大家認為這所大學復原機會渺茫。

然而,由於其教職員生與社區民眾的決心,澤維爾在五個月內就完成重建並重新開放校園。2006年1月,有近8成的學生重返校園,而現在的就學率與颶風侵襲之前已十分接近。

「發生在紐奧良的災難是美國史上最慘的一個,」校長弗朗西斯(Norman Francis)說,「我們能夠在這麼短的時間內回來,全靠我們教職員工的信心、決心與熱情,他們放下了自身的損失與困難,成就了這個奇蹟。」

不過雖然有很大的進展,紐奧良部分地區仍如一片廢墟。許多民眾仍然住在聯邦緊急事務管理局(Federal Emergency Management Agency)所提供的拖車內,包括了密西西比176個家庭以及路易斯安那的707個家庭。

「提壩、沼澤以及沙洲這些原本該保護路易斯安那海岸免受卡崔那襲擊的屏障,因為時間而逐漸被削弱,最後無法發揮應有的功能。造成這問題有很大的程度是因為幾十年來聯邦政府的管理不善與投資不足,」參議院災後重建小組主席,路易斯安那民主黨參議員蘭德魯(Mary Landrieu)說,「除此之外,聯邦政府對這史無前例的悲劇反應是遲緩又規劃不足,人員與經費也都短缺。」

路易斯安那州政府的美國史上最大購屋計畫正在逐步收尾,共發放了104億美金,用以支付127000位屋主以及數千名租屋者和小地主。「不過,」蘭德魯說,「這花了近兩年的時間,才使得路易斯安那受到的損失由聯邦基金獲得補償。」

「聯邦緊急事務管理局的公共援助方案是延遲復甦的原因之一,」蘭德魯說,「管理局的員工在風災過後拖延了聖伯納得教區(St. Bernard Parish)的污水處理設施建設長達數年,他們和貨運公司簽下了數百萬美金的合約,使用渡輪每週將廢水運出教區,使得當地區民被迫忍受缺乏基礎建設的生活,期間長達數年,而不是幾個月而已。」

聯邦緊急事務管理局局長菲尤蓋特(Craig Fugate)在聽證會中表示,該局在卡崔那颶風之後的所得到的成果是「立法工作、廣泛的行政工作以及管理局整體態度改變」的結果。

「其中一個改變的例子是,」他說,「設立了兩個公共援助評議小組,用來加速決定受延宕的公共救援項目,並且讓我們有機會更接近申請人,以解決長久以來的爭端。」由國土安全部部長納波利塔諾(Janet Napolitano)於2009年設立的小組,「可以幫助停滯不前的計畫向前邁進,」菲尤蓋特說。

蘭德魯參議員的哥哥,紐奧良市市長蘭德魯(Mitch Landrieu),在聽證會上說,「經過這痛苦的5年,我們與聯邦緊急事務管理局的工作關係已有所改善。」

「就在27日,」他說,「管理局證實,該市將一次獲得18億美元來重建毀於颶風中的學校。我們終於能夠讓我們的孩子離開臨時建築物。這項協議將資助我們下一階段的學校總體設施計劃,將使學校成為的鄰里重建的中心。」

非營利團體是紐奧良重建的關鍵

在沙爾梅特(Chalmette)的聽證會中,紐奧良鄰里房屋服務公司(Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans, Inc.)的執行長安德森(Lauren Anderson)說,「當堤防潰堤時,我們失去的不只是我們的房子,我們失去了我們的社區。我們的生活被撕裂。所有的社區都很重要,紐奧良有豐富的文化傳統,潛在的損失更顯得重要。」

「我們這5年來所經歷的,是居民重建家園的決心,他們都有決心要重建他們的社區,」安德森說。房屋服務公司接觸了受破壞以及閒置房屋的屋主,幫助他們重建,或者將之出售給有意重建的人。

這個禮拜,「共同重建(Rebuilding Together)」組織將一同慶祝海灣海岸以及紐奧良共50個新的家庭的重建完成,共同重建組織承諾,將在海灣地區重建1000戶家庭。

安德森說,「在卡崔娜颶風過後,我心中一直有個想法,也就是中國人所說的『禍福相依』,卡崔娜讓我們每個人與政府機構,都有很多學習與成長的機會。」

不過蘭德魯市長指出一個仍威脅著紐奧良的問題-對將來可能的颶風,必須更迫切地採取更好的保護措施。

「我們需要第五級的防洪措施,我們也必須重建海岸,」市長說。「路易斯安那南部的沿海溼地,不僅提供緩衝地帶,也提供州內25%的能源供應。這些溼地提供了我們沿海地區對災害最重要的屏障。卡崔娜已經明白告訴我們,紐奧良是個沿海城市。密西西比三角洲是地球上消失最快的陸地。我們必須竭盡所能的恢復我們的溼地,並且停止進一步的破壞。」

Measuring Progress Five Years After Hurricane Katrina
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, August 28, 2010 (ENS)

On the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most destructive storms in U.S. history, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and members of the Cabinet will travel Sunday to New Orleans.

The hurricane wrought some $110 billion in damages, making it the costliest hurricane in U.S. history. Seven states and more than 15 million people were affected.

Since taking office, the Obama administration has cut bureaucratic red tape to provide residents of the Gulf coast with the tools that they need to recover, including obligating nearly $2.42 billion in Public Assistance funds for Louisiana and Mississippi that had been stalled for years, the White House said in a statement.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit southeast Louisiana as a Category 3 storm. The most severe loss of life occurred in New Orleans, which flooded as the levee system failed hours after the storm had moved inland. Eventually 80 percent of the city and large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks.

The worst property damage occurred in coastal areas, as Mississippi beachfront towns were flooded with waters reaching inland 12 miles from the beach.

President Obama is speaking at Xavier University because its successful recovery is a good example of the efforts throughout New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the White House said.

Floodwaters covered the entire campus with several feet of water for two weeks. Katrina scattered Xavier students, staff and faculty across the nation, and its aftermath cast the survival of the university into serious doubt.

Yet, due to the determination of the students, faculty, staff, and the community, Xavier cleaned up, rebuilt and reopened after just five months. Nearly 80 percent of its students returned to campus in January 2006. Today, enrollment is very close to what it was before the hurricane.

"What happened to New Orleans represents the greatest disaster this country has ever had," said University President Norman Francis. "That we were able to come back in such a short period of time is a credit to the faith, commitment, and passion of our staff and faculty, who put aside their personal losses and problems to make this miracle happen."

But while enormous progress has been made, some of New Orleans is still in ruins. Still living in trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, are 176 displaced households in Mississippi and 707 households in Louisiana.

"The levees, marshes, and barrier islands that should have protected Louisiana's coast from Hurricane Katrina had been weakened over time, and were ultimately insufficient in large measure due to decades of underinvestment and gross mismanagement by the federal government," the senator said. "In addition, the federal response to this unprecedented tragedy was slow, planning was insufficient, and personnel and funding came up short."

The state of Louisiana is winding down the largest housing program in U.S. history, having disbursed $10.4 billion to 127,000 homeowners and thousands more to renters and small landlords. "However," said Landrieu, "it took nearly two years to secure federal funding for Louisiana that was proportionate to its share of the overall damage."

"FEMA's Public Assistance Program had been a source of significant delay in the recovery," Landrieu said. "FEMA staff delayed the rebuilding of St. Bernard Parish's wastewater facility for years after the storm, opting instead to pay contract trucking companies millions of dollars to ferry sewage out of the parish on a weekly basis while people were forced to endure not months, but years without this most basic of services," she said.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told the hearing the progress made by the agency since Katrina is the result of "legislative enactments, broad administrative action and an overall change of attitude within FEMA."

"An example of this shift," he said, "is the establishment of two Public Assistance review panels, which help expedite decisions on pending Public Assistance projects, and give us the opportunity to work closely with applicants to review long-standing disputes."

Created by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in 2009, the panels "can help stalled projects move forward," Fugate said.

Senator Landrieu's brother, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, told the hearing, "After five painful years, our working relationship with FEMA has improved.

"Just yesterday," he said, "the agency confirmed that the city will receive a $1.8 billion lump-sum settlement to rebuild the schools destroyed by Katrina. We will finally be able to get our children out of temporary buildings. This settlement will fund the next phase of our school facilities master plan, which will make schools the centers of neighborhood renewal."

Nonprofit groups have been key to the rebuilding and recovery of New Orleans.

At the hearing in Chalmette, Lauren Anderson, Chief Executive Officer Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans, Inc., said, "We did not just lose buildings when the levees broke, we lost communities. The fabric of life was torn apart. While all communities are important, New Orleans because it is the embodiment of a rich cultural tradition; the potential loss was all the more significant."

"What we have experienced in the intervening five years is that as determined as residents were to rebuild their homes; they were equally determined to rebuild their communities," Anderson said. They reached out to owners of vacant and destroyed properties, helping them to rebuild or to sell to someone who would rebuild.

This week, the group Rebuilding Together will celebrate the spirit of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans as another 50 homes are rehabilitated, and Rebuilding Together comes closer to the pledge of 1,000 homes completed in the Gulf.

Anderson said, "One of the thoughts that sustained me in the aftermath of Katrina was a Chinese saying that within every crisis is an opportunity and Katrina has presented each of us with many opportunities to learn and to grow as individuals and as a body politic."

But Mayor Landrieu put his finger on one problem that still plagues New Orleans - the urgent need for better protection from future hurricanes.

"We must have category 5 flood protection, and we must rebuild our coast," the mayor said. "South Louisiana's coastal wetlands not only provide a staging and processing platform for 25 percent of our domestic energy supply. They provide the most important barrier to catastrophic storms that our coastal communities have. And as Katrina has surely taught us, New Orleans is now a coastal city. The Mississippi River delta is the fastest-disappearing land mass on Earth. We must do all we can to stop the damage and restore our wetlands."

全文及圖片詳見:ENS報導