WAPT, 5/16/8

The Mississippi Gulf Coast was devastated by Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005. Now, two years and nine months later, state officials said that it will take just as long to dispense the billions of dollars in Katrina aid promised by the federal government.

“To a certain extent we’re breaking new ground, but over the last few months we’ve hired additional people at MDA and kind of reorganized some of the administration programs,” said Lee Youngblood, who is with the disaster recovery division of MDA.

The reorganization comes as the state is still in the process of distributing $5.48 billion in recovery aid from the federal government. Administrative costs will take up $200 million. Approximately $3.5 billion has been assigned or spent so far.

That leaves about $1.7 billion to still be spent on storm recovery, almost three years after Katrina.