FEMA Struggles to Find Funds in Spite of Devastation


Through the twists and turns of the most recent natural disasters in America, many struggling, homeless, and hungry U.S. citizens have looked to FEMA as their crutch. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, also known as FEMA, is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security. FEMA’s ultimate role is to coordinate disaster relief. FEMA has four areas that they focus on during disaster relief, those areas are preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.

On Friday August 25, 2017 FEMA responded to Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 hurricane with winds up to 130 miles per hour. Harvey swept across Southeast Texas and Louisiana. It dropped near 40-52 inches of rainfall, which broke the all-time continental U.S tropical cyclone rain records. With that much rainfall in the area at one time, the result was an unbearable amount of flash flooding. This made it difficult for residents in the area to get out of their homes and get to safety in a quick manner.

FEMA responded to Hurricane Harvey almost instantly. More than 21,000 federal staff were deployed in order to support the relief efforts. In Texas, more than 33,800 depended on the 240 different Red Cross partner shelters. For some people stranded, the only hope was the local, state, and federal rescue teams. Due to Harvey’s destruction many people did not have shelter, food, or supplies in order to live. FEMA supplied people without food 1,900,000 meals, 1,960,000 liters of fresh drinking water, and 4,700 blankets as well as 1,400 cots to sleep on. From Thursday August 29th to Tuesday September 5th FEMA’s disaster relief fund went from 2.14 billion to 1.01 billion dollars. With the estimated recovery cost for Harvey being 180 billion dollars, FEMA saw a shortage in relief money. Even more disaster struck when category 5 hurricane Irma was predicted to hit the United States.

With Hurricane Irma being a category 5 hurricane headed straight for Florida, FEMA was scheduled to run out of money by Friday September 8th, which is just two days before Irma was expected to hit Florida. Due to the disaster relief package Congress had in plan for Hurricane Harvey, the account does not have the additional cost that FEMA will most likely need for Hurricane Irma. In order to provide the disaster proper relief to victims of Harvey and Irma, FEMA will need to be supplied more money. On Wednesday, September 7th, the White House passed a 7.85 billion dollar aid bill for Harvey victims. Even with the White House passing the aid bill, legislators in Florida still didn’t think it would be enough money to cover the destruction and overall devastation of Irma. Due to Irma’s power, the White House requested another 6.7 billion dollars in Harvey funding. Congress must pass the spending bill by the end of September in order to keep the government open. Assuming that amount could increase after Irma strikes FEMA will have to make some critical decisions.

As Irma dies down in Florida, FEMA is prepared to take action and provide relief to the residents and survivors in the area. With the mass devastation from Harvey and Irma, FEMA braces to make their supplies last. Even with the circumstances, FEMA will continue to provide wherever they are needed.

For many students at LCHS, Hurricane harvey and Irma don’t have much of an effect on their lives. However, Karly Duggan (11) has friends living in Florida; Irma has an impact on her too.

After talking with her friend Karly says he doesn’t know all the damage his city, but a lot of people are freaking out. Her friend believes God is still in control so why stress what you can’t control.

Students and teachers at LCHS can help people like Karly’s friend by donating to the relief funds of hurricane Harvey or hurricane Irma.