Reports mark 1-year anniversary of Katrina, show government failure

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - No less than a half-dozen reports on the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort are being released to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the storm -- and nearly all criticize the sluggish pace of the response.

The reports document a host of problems, from the still-unfinished levees to the plight of small businesses and the city's continuing racial divide. Many of the reports focus on the failure of federal dollars to reach their intended targets.

Oxfam America, a charitable organization, says in their report that although $17 billion has been approved by Congress to rebuild homes in Louisiana and Mississippi, not one house has been rebuilt with that money in either state.

A report from the Democratic members of the House Small Business Committee found that 80% of small businesses on the Gulf Coast have not yet received loans promised by the federal government.

The Small Business Administration has approved loans in excess of $10 billion, but only $2 billion has found its way to business owners. The report also cited massive delays at the federal agency, forcing some business owners to wait as long as 100 days for a decision on loan applications.

Amy Liu, author of the Brookings Institution report, pointed to streets that are still choked with debris as evidence of the failings of the recovery effort.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)