WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says FEMA is ready to deal with a new natural disaster, even if Hurricane Ernesto hits Florida.
Director David Paulison told NBC News' "Meet the Press" Sunday, "We are ready for a hurricane, regardless of where it's going to hit, whether it's the Gulf (Coast) region or the Atlantic or the west coast of Florida where (Ernesto) seems to be heading right now."
FEMA was criticized harshly for its slow response to Hurricane Katrina last year.
Paulison said the most important FEMA change since Katrina has come in communications.
"I mean communications by information sharing," Paulison said. "Setting up a joint field office, setting up a unified command system where, no matter where information comes in ... we all share that same information. I see that as the No. 1 failure in ... what happened in Katrina ... a major breakdown in communications between the local community and the state, between the state and the federal government, and quite frankly, inside the federal government itself."
He said the agency has been working hard to fix the problem, "and I'm ... convinced we have done that."
Earlier in the program, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said his city is "ready from an evacuation standpoint" following the chaos of the Katrina evacuation.
Nagin said he regretted calling Ground Zero in New York "a hole in the ground," but said the federal Katrina response would have been different if the storm had hit Orange County, Calif., or Miami.