FEMA Contract Registration, announces that the first installment, $5.4 billion, of the $51 billion aid package signed by President Obama for Hurricane Sandy, has been released. FEMA manages two significant assistance programs: the individual assistance program and the public assistance program, respectively. The reconstruction and disaster mitigation projects—mostly road, bridge and public building repairs—are in limbo because FEMA’s disaster relief fund is almost out of money. Following the late August storm that walloped 12 states, FEMA took emergency measures by suspending payments for older projects in order to provide immediate hurricane relief along the East Coast.
Ed O'Keefe at The Washington Post writes about the projects FEMA has pulled funding from in order to try to ration its assistance. United We ServeThe President is calling on all Americans to participate in our nation's recovery and renewal by serving in our communities. Example: September 11, Disaster Preparation, military families, veterans, serve rural, etc. Assuming your town, county, state, or FEMA has a rapid action plan that will immediately be put into practice and include all the water, food, and medication you need when disaster strikes, could end up costing you your life. FEMA vouchers to purchase food and forms to complete to recover the cost of food lost were promised. If such a bold statement sound like whack prepper melodrama, you have never lived through a short-term disaster.
They eventually arrived, but only the residents on public assistance were permitted to utilize the aid – a fact that the FEMA staffers did not share with local officials.

A FEMA camp, not the rights-infringing keep you behind barbed wire pointing inwards type that we discussed in the first article in the series, but the makeshift camps which appear after hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and power outages, should not be counted upon to be the salvation of a town in dire need. The radios the departments use would have run down after the first day of the disaster if my husband did not have a sizeable generator and permission to use the only functioning gas pump in the county to keep it full to charge the devices. Had the disaster lasted longer than a week or the neighbor-helping-neighbor concept not been a way of life here, civil unrest surely could have erupted. Get involved in your community and work with or form groups to help deal with the disaster response in your area. FEMA staffers caused line of cars, which stretched from miles in both directions, to move excruciatingly slow. Research FEMA emergency response procedures and go to public meetings to discuss what you have learned with your elected officials. The federal disaster relief policy involved one pack of supplies per vehicle and said supplies are only given to one family and their name is marked off a list. Introduce yourself to your neighbors, talk to them about disaster preparedness and work together to plan a response for the neighborhood.
FEMA needs contractors, engineers, environmental and disaster recovery type of companies now. Though individuals eligible for federal disaster aid and state and city government recouping emergency response costs are still receiving funds, projects dating back as far as Hurricane Katrina are once again waiting for money.
Americans in disaster areas are just going to have to suck it up and go without for a while longer.

Had the outage lasted longer and the lack of sufficient help from FEMA continued, we would have had to begun the heart-wrenching process of prioritizing resources. The FEMA response to the power outage in the Midwest that fateful summer is not a story unique to my county or the communities in multiple states impacted at that time.
The time to get to know your neighbors is now, and not the day after a disaster when you are hungry, thirsty, or in the midst of a heat stroke or hypothermia. Refrigerated food was gone from the shelves in just a few hours and not in three days like FEMA warns can happen during a disaster. FEMA did not bring enough supplies, which were just water and ice, not medications or food, to serve even one village in the county. The disaster trials and tribulations at the shelters led to planning for cooling stations, more water bottle stockpiles, and one-time use ice packs. The firefighters, police officers, elected officials, and community members who quickly volunteered to help with distribution started breaking the FEMA rules, they knew the people by face, marked them off the list immediately and allowed the melting bags of ice to be sent back with family, holler, neighborhood, or community representatives. FEMA promised other trucks would be arriving later that day an the following day with more water and ice and non-perishable food.

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