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Coast Guard: Observations on the Preparation, Response, and Recovery Missions Related to Hurricane Katrina

GAO-06-903 Published: Jul 31, 2006. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 2006.
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Hurricane Katrina was one of the largest natural disasters in our nation's history. Significant federal, state, and local resources were mobilized to respond to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, including those of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard played a key role in the planning, response, and recovery efforts for Hurricane Katrina in three mission areas: search and rescue, marine pollution response, and management of maritime commerce. This report discusses the activities undertaken by the Coast Guard, as well as the challenges and lessons learned as a result of the agency's efforts. More specifically, it focuses on (1) the factors that prepared the Coast Guard to perform these three mission areas in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; (2) the Coast Guard's response to Hurricane Katrina, the challenges it faced in performing its missions, and its efforts to mitigate these challenges; and (3) the implications and lessons learned, as identified by the Coast Guard, regarding the effect of Hurricane Katrina surge operations on its people, assets, financial resources, and operations. To determine the Coast Guard's preparation factors, the challenges and lessons learned we interviewed officials responsible for preparing, and responding to disasters, and reviewed the Coast Guard's disaster guidance and plans. GAO is not making any recommendations in this report.

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Agency missionsCoast Guard personnelDisaster planningEmergency preparednessHurricane KatrinaLessons learnedNatural disastersDisaster search and rescueU.S. Coast GuardCoastline