FEMA Expected to Run Out of Money by Friday as Superstorm Irma Approaches Florida

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.

“Without raising the debt limit, I am not comfortable that we will get money to Texas this month to rebuild,” Mnuchin told Fox News.

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.

“People cannot depend solely on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to, you know, be responsible for a majority,” he said, CBS reported Sunday. He said Texas is already serving as a good model for non-federal preparedness.

Regardless, as Hurricane Irma — deemed one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes ever to hit the Atlantic — strikes Puerto Rico and other islands as it approaches Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, FEMA’s prospects are not looking good. According to Elizabeth Zimmerman, who served as FEMA’s associate administrator for the office of response and recovery until January, “If it’s down to $1 billion or less, then I would say there’s a great concern.”

The crisis at the federal level should be unsurprising but can nevertheless serve as motivation for communities to come together absent government action. As the Red Cross also draws criticism for their handling of funds, those seeking to help might want to consider contributing to smaller, local organizations and directly volunteering in relief efforts.

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11 Comments on "FEMA Expected to Run Out of Money by Friday as Superstorm Irma Approaches Florida"

  1. The federal govt does things to make you dependent on them and many times when you need them the most they are not there or delayed in helping with disasters. This is one example we should stop being so dependent on govt and do more for ourselves, unfortunately, many can not afford to buy supplies/material so they can prepare for such disasters.
    Question, why does the government beginning at the federal level not create more jobs? People with jobs can do better to prepare for disasters. The timing of running out of funds is not so strange to understand if one believes the government is not really for the people but rather for themselves. Government is a business.

  2. Disturbo the Clown | September 7, 2017 at 3:55 am | Reply

    Andrew = FEMA Failure
    Wilma = Partial FEMA Failure.
    Frances= Partial FEMA Failure.
    Jeanne= Partial FEMA Failure.
    Katrina = FEMA Failure.
    Sandy = FEMA Failure.
    Harvey=Partial FEMA Failure.
    Irma; can’t wait to see the outcome of this,..
    IF they run out of money, who will guard the ANTIFA Terrorist Groups when they are rounded-up and placed in the FEMA Camps?
    After all, had the US Voting Public stood by and allowed Hellary and the Globalist Ilk of Spirit Cookers to take over with their vote-frauded Pizza Plans, it is WE who would be visiting the HOLOMODOR Death Camps, and never coming out!
    YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN DISAPPEARED AND ARKANCIDED!!!!!! Probably by guillotine!

  3. FEMA will never run out of money, the federal reserve will tell the government printing office just to print more.

  4. Replace FEMA, CIA, FBI, NSA with the girl scouts, solve 90% of USSA ‘s problems.

  5. Maybe the MIC could deliver pallets of money? Or the Billionaires could pony up??

  6. This smells like something planned.

    • Planned? The UK navy ‘have’ delivered emergency rations to people living on the British Virgin Islands, how long have they known this was coming? It takes about 5/6 days to get to this area, never mind have the ‘provisions’ on board!

  7. Don’t fret, we can always print some more money.

    • Money isn’t printed, it’s ‘manufactured’ on computer with 1’s and 0’s, the digital fiddle that everyone misses. If they printed money it would ‘devalue’ that currency!

      • my answer to “Master Of the Obvious” Rollo10

        Yes, everybody but you seems to know that, “Printing money” though is still a figure of speech, to be take figuratively not literally.

  8. A government budget may run out of money but not their CAFR.

    Protecting corporate profit enriches government at each level; hidden in their CAFR
    [Comprehensive Financial Accounting Report], a 2nd set of accounting
    books apart from the budget. The Holy Grail of accounting. The CAFR Swindle – The Biggest Game In Town https://youtu.be/1pRPBKJQnyU

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