With the painful lessons of Hurricane Katrina still in mind, President Bush today opened an inspection tour of Midwest flooding that has forced tens of thousands to flee their homes across six states. First stops were Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, which has endured its worst flooding ever. The president is accompanied by two Democratic lawmakers from Iowa, Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Dave Loebsack.
FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison, also on the trip, praised the "great coordination" among federal, state, and local leaders. "What we learned from Katrina is that FEMA can't do it all by itself," Paulison said, adding that FEMA was working with other partners—the Army Corps of Engineers and even Wal-Mart —to distribute water, meals, and plastic sheeting. FEMA is also putting sandbags and other supplies in states or towns where flooding hasn't hit yet, just to be ready. "Another lesson learned from Katrina," he noted.