Our Views: The president is right, it will be a 'long and difficult' road for Harvey victims

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Because of our experience with these matters in Louisiana, we are not surprised at this prediction from President Donald

Because of our experience with these matters in Louisiana, we are not surprised at this prediction from President Donald Trump: Recovery in the Gulf Coast is going to be "a long and difficult road."

The president is right. This terrible event is not a short-term issue.

Trump's appointee as head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, reflected his years of experience in the field by saying that the short-term crisis of rescue and relief is only the beginning.

At the time of Hurricane Katrina, when FEMA was a blindsided and foolishly led organization, the agency was just closing its office in Northridge, California — where an earthquake occurred in 1994. That's giving long-term recovery a really extended stay.

Not surprisingly, the echoes of Katrina and its ensuing storms that impacted Texas as well as Louisiana — Rita, Gustav, Ike — came with long-term problems and long-term bureaucratic responses.

Long's aides told Congress that the $3 billion in the FEMA disaster fund would be enough for the fight to preserve life in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. We hope so, but we shall have to take the president's word for it that Congress stands ready to help further.

"You're going to have what you need and it's going to go fast," the president said.

As Trump will find out, in this first major disaster test of his presidency, the process can be a hindrance as well as a help. In Louisiana, still awaiting full funding of long-term recovery from disastrous 2016 floods in many parishes, the experiences of delay, bureaucratic hurdles and distractions in Congress are ingrained in our outlook.

Long knows the importance of long-term recovery, and the president in his first post-flood visit brought along the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That's vital because Dr. Ben Carson's office is where long-term recovery funds are typically appropriated through community development block grants.

As Louisiana learned just last fall, and into this year, floods might look alike; the appropriations bills might look just like the last ones Congress passed; the forms at FEMA and HUD might seem the same. But if the agencies in Washington decide that their stately process must be followed as if this was the first flood they'd ever seen, long-term recovery gets longer than it needs to be.

For the moment, as Long said Sunday, FEMA is now "vastly different" than in 2005 and that he has the power he needs to mobilize forces and coordinate staffing. He said the agency was already preparing to handle the aftermath in Texas for the next couple of years.

"This disaster's going to be a landmark event," Long said. "While we're focused on the response right now and helping Texas respond, we're already pushing forward recovery housing teams, we're already pushing forward forces to be on the ground to implement National Flood Insurance Program policies as well and doing the inspections that we need."

All good and well. But we remain convinced that there are two vital elements to long-term recovery: swift appropriation of money in Congress and a dedication to moving the money out to the states and localities at both FEMA and HUD.

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Article Our Views: The president is right, it will be a 'long and difficult' road for Harvey victims compiled by Original article here

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