During Hurricane Katrina, FEMA failed spectacularly. They housed Katrina survivors in formaldehyde poisoned trailers and failed to distribute assistance in a timely manner. Many have hoped that the organization has surely learned its lessons by now.
So far the answer appears to be nope. According to Congressman Garret Graves, FEMA’s response to Louisiana flooding has been terrible so far. Very few trailers have made it to Louisiana and the flood insurance program has paid very few claims.
Newly released numbers show a clear sign of shockingly slow federal response. FEMA’s holding site in North Baton Rouge is storing 198 modular housing units, which started rolling in nearly 3 weeks ago. As of Wednesday, 893 applicants have been approved for the homes, but only 12 are being used.
“They’re apparently spendin gup to $20 thousand per trailer just to ship it down from North Carolina,” Graves said. “There are trailer dealers here in Louisiana, travel trailers and other trailers. There are more efficient ways to do this.”
Graves also suggested any money wasted now would only hurt the Baton Rouge area in the future, saying “the cost of inaction is not free.”
Graves, along with the Louisiana Delegation, is pressuring for policy that would put long-term federal funding in place to stop the worst flooding disaster in our nation’s history from getting even worse.
“If congress does not step in,” Graves said, “if the White House does not step in, you are going to see mas foreclosure and bankruptcies, mortgages backed by the federal government, Fannie May, Freddie Mack, FHA, VA, and others. This is going to be a federal liability one way or another.”
Graves added mass bankrupcies would trickle down to falling property values. He says that could mean trouble for some of Baton Rouge’s biggest assets, like education and law enforcement.
Spending $20,000 to move trailers from North Carolina is absurd. This state has plenty of dry RV dealers who would be more than happy to sell FEMA those trailers. Many of them would even work up a bulk discount for them as well.
Congressman Graves also went to Facebook to blast FEMA’s response some more after the WBRZ story came out.
The private sector has already proven that it can handle disaster relief, especially in this flood. Perhaps we should be figuring out ways to get it more involved and abolish FEMA.