FEMA

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They're FEMA's Elite Rescuers, Yet Some Do Little Rescuing

Bureaucracy, too much gear, and other inefficiencies are marring response efforts

(Newser) - They're called the "national Swiss Army knife of emergency response," teams of highly trained first responders sent by FEMA across the US when disaster strikes. But when hurricanes pummeled Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico last summer, many of the thousands deployed via the agency's National Urban... More »

One-Person Firm Got $156M FEMA Deal. It Didn't End Well

Contractor was supposed to provide 30M meals to Puerto Rico, managed just 50K

(Newser) - Another government contract to provide relief to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is coming under scrutiny. The reasons, as spelled out in the New York Times , are pretty clear: FEMA awarded a one-woman company out of Atlanta—a firm that had zero experience in large-scale disasters—a $156 million contract... More »

San Juan Mayor on FEMA Cutoff: 'There Is Need Still'

Members of Congress implore agency not to halt aid to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

(Newser) - FEMA's plans to halt hurricane relief supplies to Puerto Rico effective Jan. 31 drew criticism Tuesday from members of Congress and the mayor of the island's largest city. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said many people in the US territory need the water and food they've... More »

Cops: FEMA Contractor Killed Hurricane Victim

Gerjuan Jackson assessed William Reiss' damage, learned of his guns

(Newser) - He was a victim of Hurricane Irma, and then allegedly a victim of something much worse. Police say William Reiss, 68, was murdered on Jan. 3 by the FEMA contractor who compiled the damage estimate of his Polk County, Fla., home in September. The New York Daily News describes Reiss... More »

FEMA Wants to Airlift Displaced Puerto Ricans to NY, Florida

But logistics are still an issue for temporary relocation, and most don't want to leave

(Newser) - Florida and New York could soon see an influx of temporary new residents, reports CNN , as FEMA works with those two states to let Puerto Rican hurricane survivors relocate to the US mainland. At the top of the list would be the 3,000 or so people stuck in shelters... More »

Trump Talks Pulling FEMA Amid Struggle to Help Puerto Rico

Chuck Schumer says FEMA's work is 'not even close to done'

(Newser) - President Trump is warning that hurricane relief for Puerto Rico has an end date even as federal officials acknowledge a massive food shortage on the island three weeks after Hurricane Maria. "We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult... More »

FEMA Makes Unfortunate Mistake With Phone Number

Tweets out to be phone sex line instead of roof relief

(Newser) - The Army Corps of Engineers has a helpful program in place called Operation Blue Roof in which Florida residents hit by Hurricane Irma can get sturdy tarps to protect their belongings until their roofs get fixed. Those interested can go to the website or call 1-888-ROOF-BLU. They should not, however,... More »

FEMA Sold Disaster-Response Trailers Before Harvey Hit

The government got rid of mobile homes just when it needed them most

(Newser) - The federal government auctioned off disaster-response trailers at fire-sale prices just before Harvey devastated southeast Texas, reducing an already diminished supply of mobile homes ahead of what could become the nation's largest-ever housing mission. More than 100 2017-model Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers were sold over the two days... More »

Amid Florida Exodus, FEMA Busts Some Myths

Misinformation is flying about everything from pets to home inspections

(Newser) - Given that Florida is in the midst of a massive evacuation ahead of Hurricane Irma, it's not surprising that false rumors and misinformation are flying. FEMA has heard so many it is clearing up several, including:
  • Pets: Yes, emergency shelters must accept pets and service animals of evacuees. No,
... More »

In Wake of Irma, FEMA May Turn to the Waffle House Index

'If a Waffle House is closed because there's a disaster, it's bad'

(Newser) - Want to know how a community is weathering a disaster? Look no further than Waffle House. The Southern diner chain is at the heart of an informal government test—the Waffle House Index—to find out how municipalities are dealing with hurricanes, tornadoes, and more. "The Waffle House test... More »

Trump Makes His Initial Harvey Relief Request

He's seeking an initial $7.9B down payment

(Newser) - President Trump has sent lawmakers an initial request for a $7.9 billion down payment toward Harvey relief and recovery efforts. The request, expected to be swiftly approved by Congress, would add $7.4 billion to rapidly dwindling Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster aid coffers and $450 million to finance... More »

NASA, FEMA Simulated Asteroid Strike on Los Angeles

In their scenario, city had 4-year warning

(Newser) - A 330-foot asteroid on a collision course with downtown Los Angeles. Four years to try to stop it—or carry out mass evacuations ahead of certain devastation. That's not the plot of an unoriginal new movie, but the scenario behind a recent NASA-FEMA exercise, the New York Times reports.... More »

Scope of Louisiana's '1,000-Year Rain' Is Massive

Risk not over yet as search for bodies continues

(Newser) - The words "unprecedented" and "catastrophic" keep being used to describe Louisiana's flooding, and the danger isn't over yet. Though floodwaters are receding in some areas, residents in the southern part of the state face danger as water moves downstream toward the Gulf, reports NBC News . Some... More »

'Brownie': Katrina Was Not My Fault

Former FEMA chief defends his hurricane work

(Newser) - “And Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job." Former FEMA chief Michael Brown writes in Politico that he is still haunted by those words uttered by George W. Bush during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In the lengthy essay, Brown seeks to set the record straight as he... More »

FEMA Wants Homeowners to Repay $5.8M in Sandy Aid

Overpayments likely a result of bureaucratic mistakes, not fraud

(Newser) - After Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast nearly two years ago, the federal government quickly sent out $1.4 billion in emergency disaster aid to the hurricane's victims. Now, thousands of people might have to pay back their share. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is scrutinizing about 4,500... More »

As Storm Barrels Toward Gulf Coast, FEMA Recalls Furloughed Workers

Tropical Storm Karen is year's first cyclone

(Newser) - Tropical Storm Karen is barreling toward the US , and that means a return to work for some FEMA employees. The furloughed workers have been called back with the cyclone due to hit the coast between Louisiana and Florida. Thanks to the shutdown, however, some weather satellite images "may not... More »

FEMA's Flood Maps Are Way Out of Date

ProPublica: Digital maps often based on data collected decades ago

(Newser) - FEMA is constantly putting out new flood maps for different parts of the country, which seems like a good thing. Except for this: A ProPublica investigation finds that the maps are often based on outdated information, resulting in huge headaches for homeowners whose insurance premiums are based on them. Countless... More »

Obama to US: Donate to Oklahoma

As he offers moral, monetary support

(Newser) - President Barack Obama visited tornado-devastated Moore, Oklahoma, today, consoling people staggered by the loss of life and property and promising that the government will be behind them "every step of the way." He offered moral and monetary support in the wake of the monstrous EF5 tornado that killed... More »

Oklahoma's Fallin: I Need to Cut Red Tape

Plus, GOP did not like Obama's counterterror speech

(Newser) - With President Obama headed for her tornado-ravaged state, Okla. Gov. Mary Fallin told CNN's State of the Union today that while, "so far, we have had a great response" from the feds, she's also worried about the grinding wheels of bureaucracy in the days ahead. "What... More »

Obama Signs Sandy Relief Bill

$9.7B headed to pay flood insurance claims

(Newser) - It's back to work for President Obama, who returned to Washington from vacation today to sign into law a bill that would throw $9.7 billion at flood insurance claims related to Superstorm Sandy, as well as increase FEMA's borrowing authority. FEMA had said it was running out... More »

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