Nothing new here as you can see from the title of this recent GAO report… “Hurricane Katrina and Rita Disaster Relief:Continued Findings of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse.”
The report found FEMA“continued to lose tens of millions of dollars through potentially improper and/or fraudulent payments.” The focus was on housing and rental assistance payments to individuals such as duplicate payments or payment to non qualified individuals like foreign students. What was interesting in regard to the latter were case studies in the GAO report describing how foreign students had told FEMA, often repeatedly, of their status…
According to this student, in this and subsequent conversations with FEMA employees (one of whom was a supervisor at a relief center he visited), he was repeatedly told that he qualified for assistance despite his international student status.</blockquote
Given this is not really new ground (I’m waiting for reports on fraud, waste and abuse in the big contracts) let’s look at the significance of recent remarks from FEMA Director R. David Paulison regarding FEMA. For that let’s turn to Da Po’ Boy who by the way has done tremendous work following the money in regard to Katrina. (See here and here and here)
Da Po’ Boy has an exquisite post on FEMA starting with remarks by Paulison letting us know that FEMA’s just so misunderstood, then moving on to the significance for you and I and finally example after example of FEMA’s failings. Here is part where Da Po’ Boy explains the significance for us…
You see, FEMA is the little guy. They just didn’t do a good job letting you know about how little they were. They’re like a high school… a high school that can be allocated millions of dollars by Congress and can “rely on” the Department of Defense to accomplish its mission. Didn’t your high school have those kinds of resources? (Okay, okay, maybe my alma mater did.)
Paulison gave the above speech to the National Press Club last week. He was talking about the “New FEMA.” It seems he wanted to make us aware that FEMA’s mission isn’t to actually do anything. They just “help America” do things. That way, because FEMA doesn’t actually do anything, they aren’t responsible when things aren’t done right. So who, according to Paulison, is responsible?
Any American who fails to prepare for potential disasters not only places the lives of their loved ones in jeopardy, he or she also may put the lives of first responders at risk and contribute to a more difficult response. The extent to which any one of us is victimized by disaster is determined, at least in part, by how well—or how poorly—we personally prepare ourselves and our loved ones for disaster.
Only you can prevent a failed response to a natural disaster. So be prepared.
Be prepared, because you never know when…
Then come the examples.Do go read the rest because it collects in one place an indictment of failure…an ongoing one at that.—–