My recent explorations of FEMA and how they respond in the aftermath of a hurricane (read part 1 and part 2) have led me to take a more active role in investigating the problem. For no particular reason I had assumed that the major issues were limited to Louisiana and Mississippi. That assumption was made because these two states were the primary focus of my explorations.

An article in todays Galveston County Daily News shows that FEMA issues are much more widespread than I had first thought. The story is almost a mirror image of what I have uncovered in my investigations.

County officials are critical of federal disaster authorities for what one county commissioner said was “a shameful” approach to providing assistance to residents of Federal Emergency Management Agency mobile homes.

But it gets better….

Even as FEMA extended the deadline for the end of its mobile home program, the agency still is pressing residents like Gary Browning, of San Leon, to find a new place to live. The agency too announced it would begin charging some of the mobile home residents rent after March.

Once again it is clear that there is a large problem with the FEMA approach. But I will reiterate what I have said before, not all of the blame can be put at FEMA’s doorstep, much of that blame lays with the subcontractors that FEMA uses.

Mobile Homes do seem to be a particular and reoccurring issue when looking at FEMA. While I can not claim that my study is scientific by any means, I have yet to meet anyone that was given anything but a brand new mobile home or travel trailer to live in. This begs the question of what happens to the used ones? Maybe the most important question of all is who gets the money? I doubt that FEMA wants anything to do with these battle wearied abodes, once again it is the subcontractors that win.

FEMA needs a major overhaul. I base that statement not just on a single event, but on the data I have compiled from Katrina, Ike, and Gustav.

For a really brutal introduction to FEMA I recommend Keifer Bonvillain’s interesting book The Broken Road To Disaster Recovery. It is not an easy read, so many people have suffered being ‘saved’ that you have to really wonder about FEMA.

I hate to see disasters in any part of the world, the news right now is centered on what is happening in Haiti, a huge earthquake has decimated this already poor country. I think that it is great that the US has committed $100 million in aid, I think it is wonderful that many non profits are committed to assistance. It is a small thing, but it caught my attention. CNN have people on the ground, the mission is one of reporting. One of those people is also a brain surgeon, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Early today he traded his microphone for a scalpel. A 12 year old girl had shrapnel in her brain. I admire Dr. Gupta for stepping up to the plate. But I also wonder how much more could have been achieved if the US had spent that $100 million wisely at home?

It is unfair to pick on CNN, they are merely doing their job, but I still have the nagging question, if we can do so much elsewhere, what is stopping us in our own country?

Simon Barrett

Be Sociable, Share!