More on FEMA’s wrecked modular homes

On Sunday Ipostedabout an inspector general’s report that found FEMA “left modular homes intended for Hurricane Katrina evacuees exposed to the elements while being stored in Arkansas, rendering up to $4 million worth of units uninhabitable.”

The report had been delivered on Oct. 18 but of course wasn’t released to the public until the day after the election.

One thing which Ifound in the report is that FEMA logistics officials were hoping to send the questionable batch of units to Guam and also use in the US which the IG report clearly stated should not be done. The report recommended that FEMA should “inventory and determine the extent of damage to all modular home units currently in stock” and “formally write-off all modular home units that are beyond economical repair.” While FEMA officials concurred with those recommendations they said they could not determine total loss until they construct and inspect the homes.

It seems to be questionable and costly that all the homes would need to be constructed to determine this. Though the following CNN report on the damaged units which aired last night did not address this aspect of the report you can see Rick Sanchez found the damaged units quite easily. I suppose you could argue what is “total loss” or perhaps FEMA has given up on the idea but why do I suspect not…

3 thoughts on “More on FEMA’s wrecked modular homes

  1. Hi Scout,
    Did I mis-hear the video or did they say that the un-damaged modulars would be used in Baton Rouge. Now I’m no geography wiz, but where is the beach in Baton Rouge?
    About your posts on the highly questionable Levee reconstruction, I was thinking of you and wondering if the below may be a useable point of comparison for NOLA.
    Here in Missouri we had the Taum Sauk Reservoir (you can google news for the details). The wikipedia article is pretty good although it is internally contradictory on the reason for the failure (the power company wanted to say that it was built by the best practices and that the problem is that it was overtopped. However, later investigations revealed that it had a layer of rocks that were totally unsuitable for building a berm. For comparison, the pictures you posted of NOLA *ahem* “?levees?” don’t show inappropriate materials – they show no materials at all
    Fortunately is was only a measly billion gallons (versus the volume of Lake Ponchatrain aka the Atlantic Ocean). But the catastrophic blow-out of Taum Sauk did a horrific amount of damage.

  2. That’s very interesting MapleStreet.
    It was a private company that owned this correct?

  3. The Taum Sauk is really quite interesting. It is built / owned / operated by the Ameren UE which is the power company (Their web page for how they are getting things back to normal at
    What they did was look at energy that is wasted at night when no one is buying it. So they built a reservoir at the top of a mountain (note that Taum Sauk montain is actually a nearby mountain and not where the reservoir is) At night they would pump water up to the reservoir and then when demand is high, they would use the reservoir to generate hydroelectricity.
    Well, water flows downhill. The reservoir is high enough that when it broke, the flood of water had a terrible amount of energy.
    As I mentioned, the early story was that the reservoir flowed over the top because of a busted gauge (still not good, but not as bad as what was later found out – namely that while the original construction used the layers it was supposed to, there is good evidence that the materials used in those layers was inappropriate – and that the failure was caused by water which came through the dam (Think little Dutch boy – although the leaks wouldn’t be more diffuse so you couldn’t plug with a finger). As the leak comes through, it weakens the surrounding dam and recruits bigger and bigger failure. So unless you’re keeping a very close watch on the dam, it appears almost as a sudden, without warning, catastrophic failure.
    So I compare this to NOLA where they’re apparently not even going to put in the proper layers and leave the levee with deep furrows. Not even a good idea if we assume that it never rains on the coast.

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