how the government provides aid after a disaster.

It does appear that some lessons were learned post-Katrina and a new piece of pending Congressional legislation identifies them and would like to institutionalize them.  Some excerpts from the article:

Two Gulf Coast senators say the federal government’s system for helping communities recover from disasters is rife with failures and missed opportunities and badly needs cost-saving reforms. Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi introduced a bill recently that would change how the government provides some aid to state and local governments, victims and nonprofit groups after a disaster.

The legislation would amend current law to better track how disaster aid is used, streamline regulations and eliminate incentives to use expensive contractors over local government workers. It also aims to improve contract oversight and the application process for disaster aid.

It also would create a new “catastrophic” category for the most severe disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, and would also press local governments to set up pre-disasterplans and adopt and enforce statewide building codes.