Obama says Katrina offers opportunity for renewal

AFP 8/29/09

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AFP) – US President Barack Obama on Saturday marked the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans and other areas on the US Gulf Coast, saying tragedies offer a chance of renewal.

“So on this day, we commemorate a tragedy that befell our people,” Obama said in his weekly radio address. “But we also remember that with every tragedy comes the chance of renewal.”

More than a thousand people were killed … when Katrina, a monster hurricane, struck the US Gulf Coast near New Orleans on August 29, 2005, causing massive flooding and wind damage.

Over a million people were displaced. Whole neighborhoods of a great American city were left in ruins.

Obama said he planned to visit New Orleans later this year to assess the rebuilding of the city.

“To complete a complex recovery that addresses nearly every sector of society, we have prioritized coordination among different federal agencies, and with state and local governments,” he said.

The president pointed out that his administration had freed up hundreds of millions of dollars of federal assistance to move forward with stalled projects across the Gulf Coast — building and improving schools, investing in public health and safety, and repairing broken roads, bridges and homes.

“It is a quintessentially American notion – that adversity can give birth to hope, and that the lessons of the past hold the key to a better future,” Obama said. “And together, we can ensure that the legacy of a terrible storm is a country that is safer and more prepared for the challenges that may come.”

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