Alabama Gov. Bob Riley praised the hurricane recovery efforts that have put shrimp boats back on water, rebuilt homes and removed debris in Bayou La Batre, but much work is still ahead, he said during a tour Wednesday.
Riley toured the area with local, state and federal officials to see the state’s hurricane recovery efforts a year after Hurricane Katrina struck.
“We’ve come so far. If you looked at this place a year ago, and you come back today, you realize the debris is gone,” Riley said. “Boats are back in water. Houses are being rebuilt, but there’s still a lot that needs to be done.”
Bayou La Batre, known for its shrimping, had 23 boats washed ashore last year by Hurricane Katrina. Four are still on land.
Jodey Arrington, a federal coordinator for Homeland Security’s Gulf Coast Rebuilding, also warned a full recovery will take time.
However, he said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is working to quickly help people needing assistance, Mobile station WPMI-TV reported on its Web site.
“We feel a sense of urgency just like everyone else to make sure the resources go where the needs are,” Arrington said. “There is a process. It is at times, very frustrating.”
The event coincided with a state judge’s ruling that upheld two new state laws that give insurance policyholders more time to sue their insurers or file claims with them for damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The tour stopped at Grand Bay Middle School where Riley and others saw repairs made to the school, which suffered major damage from Katrina. Riley also rode a bulldozer as it launched the “Lady Punkin” shrimp boat back into the water.
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