Commentary: Has government learned disaster preparedness lessons from Katrina?

Hurricane Katrina will haunt Americans for decades to come. From the inevitability of its approach, to the 1,800 people who couldn't escape storm surges of up to 25 feet and were killed, to the destruction of much of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Five years later, the questions have to be: What have we learned? And are we prepared for a repeat?

The answers seem to be that we've learned quite a bit but, sadly, we'd be at best only a little better prepared.

The government agencies that respond in times of crisis must communicate better. Even when the proper pieces were in motion five years ago, they weren't working together, such as the trained hurricane responders forced to cool their heels waiting outside New Orleans for National Guard troops. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, lambasted for bungling the response back then, says it is better equipped today.

Still, there is no way to know what the next disaster will be. The possibilities include another massive hurricane, earthquake, terror attack or cyber attack.

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