It’s just incredible we’re still finding out craplike this happened:
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) — FEMA gave away about $85 million in household goods meant for Hurricane Katrina victims, a CNN investigation has found.
The material, from basic kitchen goods to sleeping necessities, sat
in warehouses for two years before the Federal Emergency Management
Agency’s giveaway to federal and state agencies this year.
McIntyre, FEMA’s acting press secretary, said that FEMA was spending
more than $1 million a year to store the material and that another
agency wanted the warehouses torn down, so “we needed to vacate them.”
said some of the items were donations from companies after Katrina, but
most were purchased in the field as “starter kits” for people living in
trailers provided by the agency. And even though the stocks were
offered to state agencies after FEMA decided to get rid of them, one of
the states that passed was Louisiana.
Martha Kegel, the head of a New Orleans nonprofit agency that helps
find homes for those still displaced by the storm, said she was shocked
to learn about the existence of the goods and the government giveaway.
Kegel said FEMA was told in regular meetings that Unity was
desperate for household supplies and that the group has been forced to
beg for donations. But she said FEMA never told Unity and other
community groups that it had tens of millions of dollars worth of
brand-new items meant for storm victims.
She said she learned of it from CNN, which found that those items never made it to people such as Debra Reed.
“An honest person like me didn’t get nothing,” said Reed, 54, who
recently moved from a tent beneath a New Orleans bridge to a home with
the help of Kegel’s group. “I’m gonna turn, ’cause I’m gonna cry. I
didn’t get nothing. I fought to get my money, but they wouldn’t give it
to me. So I ended up going under the bridge.”
FEMA confirmed that it had kept the merchandise in storage for the past
two years and then gave it away to cities, schools, fire departments
and nonprofit agencies such as food banks. In all, General Services
Administration records show, FEMA gave away 121 truckloads of material.
Pallets at the Fort Worth warehouse were piled high with boxes of
buckets, boots, cleansers, mops and brooms. There were stacks of tents,
lanterns and camp stoves for people still displaced, as well as
clothing, bedding, plates and utensils.
Meanwhile, Kegel said,
Unity’s clients can take only “one fork, one spoon, one knife; they can
only take one plate. We don’t have enough to go around.”
But FEMA said the items were no longer needed in the stricken region. So it declared them “federal surplus” and gave them away.
These items also were offered to all states — yet Louisiana, where
most of the people displaced by the storm live, passed on taking any of
John Medica, director of the Louisiana Federal Property
Assistance Agency in Baton Rouge, said he was unaware that Katrina
victims still had a need for the household supplies.
“We didn’t have anybody out there who told us they wanted it,” Medica said.
Instead, 16 other states took the free items.
Kegel said she could not understand how Medica could not be aware of the need in the New Orleans area.
I know given everything I shouldn’t be surprised but Damn