By Carey Wedler
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has suffered from a shoddy reputation for quite some time, particularly after its failed response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As the Gulf coast recovers from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, FEMA faces further failure as its funds near depletion.
Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the agency is nearly broke and is expected to run out of money on Friday, according to a Senate aide. According to the outlet:
As of 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, which pays for the agency’s disaster response and recovery activity, had just $1.01 billion on hand. And of that, just $541 million was ‘immediately available’ for response and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Harvey, according to a spokeswoman for FEMA who asked not to be identified by name.
The $1.01 billion in the fund Tuesday morning is less than half of the $2.14 billion that was there at 9 a.m. last Thursday morning — a spend rate of $9.3 million every hour, or about $155,000 a minute.
The Trump administration has already asked Congress for nearly $8 billion in additional funds, though Reuters noted that request may be delayed unless Congress raises the debt limit, as Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin has asked it to do.
Even the $8 billion sum is only a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated damage Harvey incurred. Texas Governor Greg Abbott expects recovery and rebuilding will cost between $150 to $180 billion.
Unsurprisingly, Brock Long, head of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, told CBS News that state and local governments need to step up their efforts.
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