A new report from government investigators has outlined just how much
money and time has been wasted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in
its response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
USA Today reported
that investigators told a Senate committee on Monday, Feb. 12, that FEMA has
let almost 11,000 manufactured homes deteriorate on old runways and open fields
In addition, FEMA spent more than $878 million on 25,000 manufactured
homes that have been put in storage around the country because its own rules
prevent them from being placed in flood areas such as New Orleans.
Other charges leveled at FEMA in the latest report include spending
$416,000 per person to house a few hundred evacuees for a brief period in Alabama last fall and issuing relief checks and $2,000 debit cards to thousands of people
without verifying their identities or their claims.
Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff issued a reform
plan for FEMA and said he hopes to bring about some changes before June 1.
One key part of his plan is to create a disaster response force
consisting of highly trained individuals who would be responsible for
overseeing all aspects of the agency’s response operations.
Chertoff also announced plans to use satellites to track trucks
carrying relief supplies. He also plans to place FEMA employees at shelters so
that victims can apply for aid in person rather than by phone or the Internet
and to create a database of approved contractors to help speed up the cleanup