Obama: On Katrina anniversary, need for vigilance

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama says the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina illustrates the need for the federal government to respond as best it possibly can to natural disasters.

He says his administration’s improved emergency readiness was evident over the weekend in reaction to Hurricane Irene.

Katrina struck six years ago Monday and became a symbol for government failure. Obama, in a statement, says his administration has improved emergency response to be “more resilient after disaster strikes.”

He said Americans should continue efforts to make sure that New Orleans and the Gulf Coast recover.

Obama maintained a high profile in advance of Hurricane Irene, warning residents along the Eastern Seaboard to be vigilant.

He said emergency responders will address the needs of communities hit by Irene “as quickly and effectively” as possible.