The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 15, 2005

Fact Sheet: President Bush Addresses the Nation on Recovery From Katrina

Today, President Bush Addressed The Nation And The Victims Of Hurricane Katrina On Relief Efforts And The Path To Recovery For The Gulf Coast. The American people share in the sorrow of the residents of the Gulf Coast as we search for loved ones and grieve for the dead. We have seen our fellow citizens left stunned and uprooted and witnessed the kind of desperation no citizen of this great and generous Nation should ever have to know. We have also seen courage and kindness to make Americans proud. The Coast Guard, first responders, religious congregations, and families have all lent a hand to their neighbors in need. The trials we have seen on the Gulf Coast remind us that we are stronger than we know and that we are all tied together in this Nation. At these times, it can be hard to imagine a bright future for the Gulf Coast, but that future will come.

The President Outlined Three Major Commitments For Recovery Along The Gulf Coast

We Must Meet The Immediate Needs Of Those Who Have Had To Leave All Behind. The Department of Homeland Security is registering evacuee households in shelters, churches, and private homes near and far from the Gulf Coast. The President has signed an order providing immediate assistance to people from the disaster area. As of today, more than 500,000 evacuee families have received emergency help to pay for food, clothing, and other essentials. Many families were separated during the evacuation and should call 1-877-568-3317 for help to reunite and assistance with travel expenses.

We Must Help The Citizens Of The Gulf Coast Rebuild Their Lives And Their Communities. Miles along the Gulf Coast have been swept clean by wind and water. Many thousands of homes in Mississippi are damaged or destroyed. Over a quarter million houses in New Orleans and surrounding parishes are no longer fit to live in. Hundreds of thousands of people from across this region will need to find longer-term housing.

Communities Will Be Rebuilt Even Better And Stronger Than Before. The Gulf Coast has some of the most beautiful and historic places in our country, as well as some deep and persistent poverty, rooted in racial discrimination and opportunity denied. Now is the time to rise above this legacy of inequality. As the Gulf Coast rebuilds, evacuees should come home to the place they love with a chance at a better life.

The President Has Called On All Americans To Help Those In Need As A Result Of Katrina. At this stage in the recovery, the most effective way people can help those displaced by the hurricane is by making a financial contribution to humanitarian organizations and state relief funds. The President has encouraged Americans to donate to the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, other good charities, and religious congregations in the region. Former Presidents Bush and Clinton have led a private fundraising effort that has already received pledges of more than $100 million to aid the Gulf Coast's recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Donations can be made online at

The President Has Ordered The Department Of Homeland Security To Conduct An Immediate Review Of Preparedness In Every Major American City. Our cities must have clear and up-to-date plans for responding to natural disasters, disease outbreaks, or terrorist attack. We must have plans to evacuate large numbers of people in an emergency and to provide food, water, and security as needed. In a time of terror threats and weapons of mass destruction, the danger is greater than a fault line or flood plain. Emergency planning is a national security priority.

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