Disaster Assistance Denied

“Her home still wrecked months after a freak storm, an Iowa woman’s FEMA ordeal presages the turmoil ahead as climate disasters worsen.”

[Be sure to read the comments from some folks who have practical experience.]

5 thoughts on “Disaster Assistance Denied

  1. The article was interesting, way heavy on human interest but light on investigative journalism. If the internal problems are as bad as Mr. Quinn describes I hope there is some substantive investigation and corrective action.

  2. Under the Stafford Act Congress authorizes the IA program. Upon a Presidential Disaster declaration IA is only included in 8% to 38% of those declarations. Congress sets the maximum assistance grants and they are not intended to restore individuals to predisaster conditions. President Clinton and James Lee Witt began dismantling the 1988 Stafford Act in 1993. That degradation continues. FEMA, the OIG and GAO whine about costs while ignoring that the federal government bought or fought for high risk lands and encouraged development and occupancy. With 40 years in federal elected office President Biden has been a side slipper on emergency management. His now confirmed FEMA Administrator has very limited experience with IA or Public Assistance (PA). Neither the President, the DHS Secretary nor the FEMA Administrator have vacated the published (12/14/20) disaster declaration criteria change. If adopted it is explicit that the federal government will declare fewer major disasters; even less IA, less PA, less mitigation and less BRIC. This dumps the costs and problems to the states and local governments. The latest annual EMPG report again documents that FEMA participates in less than 2% of major disasters and emergencies. As the law allows FEMA does participate in the most costly disaster events. Fewer declarations, therefore, delay response and recovery. There will be no mitigation to address climate change. Side slipping is bad enough going backwards, providing the taxpayers with no return on investment, will be much worse.

      • I indicated limited experience. No declarations at all for Aurora County when she was there. PA experience at NYC solely under category B. Katrina work for FEMA not common for a local and uniquely funded. 27 years military (firefighter, emergency manager) plus 6 years @ FEMA taking direction/orders does not a local emergency manager make. No Administrator will deliver on her confirmation priorities under the proposed declaration criteria change. Published, comment period closed 4/12/21. Only takes the Administrator’s signature to be effective with devastating results. Not a way to start nor a legacy to pursue.

        If the Biden Administration writ large and Congress don’t vacate the proposal she won’t have much to work with.

        The IA story will take Executive and Congressional action to change. I have not heard or seen anything that gives me hope of change.

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