NEWS OF: 7/25/2006

Hurricane Katrina’s Black Eye

It’s hard to lose a billion dollars unless you’re FEMA. The fraud, abuse, blatant waste and stupidity that followed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina stand in stark, pithy contrast to the horrific suffering of victims left stranded on roof tops without food, water, medical supplies, and hope.

Said Senator Collins, “It is my hope that FEMA will be prepared to implement changes before the next disaster strikes. It is a false choice that FEMA must decide between quickly providing assistance to individuals and families in need and spending taxpayer dollars wisely.”

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NEWS OF: 7/19/2006

FEMA Word of the Day: Egregious

Once again we’re seeing egregious examples of wasteful and even fraudulent spending by the Department of Homeland Security,” said Sen. Collins, in the wake of an audit of Department of Homeland Security-issued credit cards:

- More than 100 laptop computers, 22 printers and two global-positioning devices worth a total of $170,000 are missing and presumed stolen from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

- A 63-inch Samsung plasma television that cost nearly $8,000 sat unused in its box six months after a FEMA staffer bought it.

- And a boat broker allegedly doubled the retail price of 20 flat-bottom boats, charging FEMA $208,000 for vessels in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The agency can locate only eight of the boats.

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NEWS OF: 2/7/2006

FEMA to Katrina Evacuees: Check Out Time is Noon

FEMA is planning to end its hotel and motel housing program for Hurricane Katrina evacuees as of tomorrow. Officials are confident this won’t trigger a wave of homeless storm survivors, but social services agencies aren’t so sure. Yolandis Turner, one of the evacuees, says evacuees were having difficulties in finding housing and jobs or any real support as they tried to pick up the pieces of their lives.

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NEWS OF: 12/8/2005

FEMA: Fumbling Excuse-ridden Mayhem Agency

House members criticized the Bush administration’s handling of temporary housing aid for Katrina victims. Democrats on the Housing and Community Opportunity subcommittee accused FEMA of insensitivity and lack of focus, and railed against HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson for not even showing up. See Seattle PI

NEWS OF: 11/17/2005

FEMA Passes the Buck to $150,000 Homeless

Despite that lengthy speech given by President Bush regarding the rebuilding of New Orleans, it seems FEMA’s out of money and as of December 1, about 150,000 lost souls will have to make other plans… Merry Christmas. See Star Tribune

NEWS OF: 11/3/2005

Why it’s important not to joke around in your disaster planning emails…

As former FEMA Director Michael Brown discovered after emails surfaced highlighting “banter and trivialities.” d’OH! See MSNBC

NEWS OF: 10/20/2005

Louisiana Drowns While Brown Chows Down

Chertoff blames FEMA, saying, “I think 80 percent or more of the problem goes to planning.” Marty Bahamonde, the first agency official to arrive in New Orleans in advance of the Aug. 29 storm, peppered Brown with panicky emails only to receive responses from Brown’s staff featuring commentary like, “Also, it is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner…”

And the House panel investigating the whole mess saved a little blame for Chertoff, asking why he worked from home two days before the Category 4 storm hit, why he made a previously scheduled trip to Atlanta on Aug. 30, and why President Bush stayed at his Texas ranch until Aug. 31. Chertoff’s answer? “I don’t think there was a sense of a lack of urgency.”

NEWS OF: 10/18/2005

Maine’s Disaster Planning: Two Dixie Cups and a Broken String

VIEW ALL: Federal Aid, FEMA

Maine State Police Chief Col. Poulin is describing the state’s 30-year-old radio communications system as a “highway with potholes and crumbling bridges” with major failures that’s falling apart. He was referring to the communications network upon which we all rely in the event of disaster, panic, global chaos, etc. The long answer is $50 million bucks and several years. The short answer is federal cutbacks. See the KJ

NEWS OF: 10/12/2005

FEMA Won’t Rebid Louisiana Purchase

VIEW ALL: Olympia Snowe, FEMA

Maine Senator Snowe gave FEMA a pat on the back for its good intentions to set-aside some of the gazillions of dollars of work in the Gulf Coast to smaller or disadvantaged businesses, and a kick in the pants for going back on it’s pledge to recompete the $1.5 billion already awarded to enormous companies, and, bundling future disaster work into big nationwide contracts.

In classic Bush administration fashion, FEMA is not only anticipating future disasters, but is pre-bungling and mismanaging the follow-up reconstruction funding in advance. See US Newswire.

NEWS OF: 10/6/2005

FEMA: No Bid, No Tell, No Pursue


In the weeks after Katrina, over 80% of at least $1.5 billion in FEMA contracts were handed out with little or no competition, or included language that could easily be abused. Now that the screaming has begun, FEMA has quickly backtracked and promised to examine those deals and, when necessary, re-bid the work. See CBS

NEWS OF: 9/19/2005

FEMA: Same Chaos Different Storm

For those wondering if the recent FEMA ineptitude is a new thing or an old thing:

FEMA City, a gathering of 500 trailers set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency last fall to house more than 1,500 people made homeless by Hurricane Charley has become “a socio-economic time bomb just waiting to blow up,” said Bob Hebert, director of recovery for Charlotte County, where most FEMA City residents used to live.

A South Florida Sun-Sentinel investigation has found that FEMA has poured over $330 million into communities not particularly devastated by storms over the past few years, giving it the reputation as an easy mark

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