FEMA Facing Financial Woes After Hurricanes and Wildfires
Since Labor Day, nearly 5 million Americans have registered for federal aid as a result of destructive hurricanes on the East Coast and devastating wildfires on the West Coast. Despite the financial challenges the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) is facing, FEMA Administrator Brock Long is optimistic in solving FEMA’s problems. In a statement he said, “I didn’t come up here to do the status quo, I’m ready to change the face of emergency management.”
From August through September, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria pummeled the Southeastern United States from Texas through Florida. Later that fall, numerous wildfires caused a record $10 billion in damage across the state of California. FEMA is not capable of providing long-term assistance with natural disaster after disaster requiring attention.
Cities like Rockport, TX are still struggling to recover. According to Rockport Mayor Charles Wax, the city does not have a single operating apartment complex, and only 360 of the 1,300 businesses have reopened. Throughout the state of Florida, residents experienced price gauging by post-hurricane cleanup crews. CNN reported the removal of a damaged refrigerator surged from $100 to $969 and the removal of broken boats skyrocketed from $3,200 to over $20,000, after Hurricane Irma. Across the island territory of Puerto Rico, over 50,000 families are still on a waiting list to have blue tarps put over damaged roof by a third-party organization called Operation Blue Tarp. This year’s California wildfires ravaged a combined area larger than the cities of New York and Boston.
FEMA Administrator Brock Long encourages Americans to be prepared for emergency situations. He said in a statement, “Americans are the true first responders. We've got to get back to the basics, and teach people tangible skills, not only how to do CPR and first aid but to shut off your house gas lines or water lines after a disaster.”
Sources: CNN, CNN