Did Bush Keep Katrina Promises?

ByABC News
August 27, 2006, 5:26 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2006 — -- Eighteen days after hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, President Bush stood before the nation from Jackson Square in New Orleans and promised, "We will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives."

A year later, tens of thousands of people are still waiting for help.

President Bush pledged federal assistance in three key areas -- emergency response, rebuilding communities and strengthening New Orleans' levees.

In the first area, after a slow start, he largely delivered. The federal government moved most evacuees out of shelters within six weeks, helped restore oil refineries and the port of New Orleans within months, and cleared more than a million cubic yards of debris scattered across the Gulf States.

It's in rebuilding that many critics say the president's promises have fallen short.

"We want evacuees to come home," Bush told the nation in his speech from Jackson Square on Sept. 15, 2005.

Of the more than 1.8 million people forced to flee the area, only slightly more than half have returned.

Up to 10,000 people are waiting for promised trailers from FEMA: 116,000 trailers have been delivered, but local officials report in many instances they don't have water, or electricity or even keys to the doors.

And just last week, the government finally began to distribute grant money for home rebuilding. Funding had been bogged down in the federal bureaucracy for nearly a year.