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For immediate release
September 9, 2005
Contact:
Andi Sporkin, NPR:
asporkin@npr.org | 202.513.2320

NPR NEWS EXPLORES HOW HURRICANE KATRINA PLANNING TRAGICALLY WENT AWRY IN SPECIAL REPORT AIRING ON TODAY'S ALL THINGS CONSIDERED

Daniel Zwerdling and Laura Sullivan Report for September 9 Edition; Extensive Piece Includes Interviews with Local, Regional, National Public Officials

Washington, D.C. -- A special report airing on NPR's All Things Considered for Friday, September 9 will show the extent of advance knowledge and viable emergency plans in place by officials for New Orleans and nearby parishes, and how that planning irrevocably broke down in the wake of the storm to create the situation now facing Louisiana.

Daniel Zwerdling and Laura Sullivan are reporters on the 20-minute NPR News piece, and Neal Carruth is producer. To locate local stations/times for All Things Considered, visit www.NPR.org The investigation will also be available for audio streaming online at approximately 7:30PM (ET) at www.NPR.org.

Through extensive interviews, Zwerdling and Sullivan report that by the Friday morning preceding the hurricane, public officials in the New Orleans area knew that they might be facing a catastrophic storm. In turn, they had plans prepared for providing food, water, shelter and security to evacuees; for assuring communications between all branches of government, and to enlist the on-site help of National Guard units from around the nation.

As NPR News details, however, these plans fell far short of what was necessary - a combination of incomplete preparation, bureaucratic bungling and indecision.

Public officials and experts involved directly with the disaster offer dramatic, detailed insight. Those speaking with NPR News include the head of the National Guard for Louisiana, the Louisiana State University scientist who provided the models for the storm's impact and a FEMA contractor who was sent to the wrong location to deliver water and ice due to FEMA prohibitions, inaccurate information and no on-site coordination upon arrival in New Orleans.

For more information, transcripts and interviews with Daniel Zwerdling or Laura Sullivan, contact Andi Sporkin at asporkin@npr.org or 202-513-2320.

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 26 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 780 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, npr.org offers hourly newscasts, special features and eight years of archived audio and information.