NEW ORLEANS-The Long Term Disaster Recovery Working Group held the first of five planned stakeholder forums today in New Orleans. The Working Group, co-chaired by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and comprised of the Secretaries and Administrators of approximately 20 departments and agencies, will provide President Obama with recommendations on how to improve long-term disaster recovery with a particular focus on catastrophic disasters.
"We have made great progress rebuilding the Gulf Coast since January-cutting through red tape, expediting public assistance and reinvigorating relationships with state and local governments and the private sector," said Secretary Napolitano. "I look forward to working with Secretary Donovan and our partners across the federal government to build on this progress and find new ways to strengthen our disaster recovery programs."
"It is vital to our success that disaster recovery professionals and stakeholders provide their input as we move forward to improve disaster recovery efforts across the country," said Secretary Donovan. "No communities have more to share on disaster recovery than the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast so it is fitting that our first Stakeholder Forum engages leaders from these communities. These forums aim to give everyone involved in disaster recovery a voice in shaping how we respond, and then rebuild and revitalize communities in the wake of disaster."
The forums are one of the many avenues the Working Group has made available to allow stakeholders to provide direct input and ideas for disaster recovery; articulate objectives for recovery assistance going forward; identify examples of best practices; raise challenges and obstacles to success; and share thoughts, experiences and lessons learned.
Today’s inaugural forum comes on the heels of last week’s launch of DisasterRecoveryWorkingGroup.gov-a new interagency website that allows federal disaster recovery officials to solicit public comments from state, local and tribal partners, the private sector and the public.
Held at the University of New Orleans, the forum was hosted by DHS, HUD and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and included stakeholders invited by the host agencies as well as the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA), and the City of New Orleans.
Participants discussed disaster recovery management issues and opportunities by working through 16 specific questions-posed to stakeholders at today’s Working Group meeting and available at DisasterRecoveryWorkingGroup.gov.
This high-level, strategic initiative will make suggestions for future improvement and help inform and develop a National Disaster Recovery Framework that will provide operational guidance for recovery organizations.
Other stakeholder meetings will be held:
- Nov. 10 – New York City
- Nov. 17 – Los Angeles
- Nov. 19 – Salt Lake City
- Nov. 23 – Memphis
The forums reflect the goal shared by Secretary Napolitano and Secretary Donovan of ensuring a more resilient nation where individuals, communities and the economy can adapt to changing conditions as well as withstand and rapidly recover from disasters. Engaging with recovery stakeholders will improve coordination to enhance our ability to work together and effectively deliver recovery assistance.