If FEMA was hoping its reaction to Sandy would be good for its Katrina-battered reputation, this story out of the Wall Street Journal is a likely blow for the agency. The Journal reports on FEMA's pre-Sandy announcement that it had 400 industrial-size generators at the ready, each able to help power large and vital buildings, like hospitals. But with millions still powerless, "only a fraction of that equipment" has been deployed. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate yesterday said that four generators were installed overnight—that's 1% of its stock, days after the storm hit.
Fugate expected that number to climb to about 70 by yesterday's end, placed in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. But the Journal said his numbers didn't align with those provided by state officials. New York, for instance, said it had seven generators from FEMA up and running, six of which are providing power to the Long Island Railroad. Another 54 generators are to arrive today. But the slow progress isn't necessarily FEMA's fault. The Journal explains that there are a variety of generators, each type suited for specific needs. FEMA tells the states about the types available, and the states must then assess which generators it can use; that process takes time.