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Federal Emergency Muckup Agency
Katrina is fading away in the minds of most of us, but many of those affected aren't seeing much relief. Here's a lady named Maria Russell who's been blogging about it on MSNBC:


That's a picture of her ruined house, before and after. And here's FEMA's response:

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State of Mississippi have reviewed your request for disaster assistance. Listed below is our decision regarding your request. This initial determination will not preclude you from receiving future assistance.

Determination: IID- Ineligible – Insufficient Damage

Total Grant Amount: $0.00."

Ineligible because of insufficient damage? Insufficient damage? Let me get this right: Our house was completely wiped out and we have insufficient damage?

Well, one thing is for sure: This hurricane has provided an infinite amount of log fodder. And this particular subject has both incensed and inspired me.

The attitude of always giving others the benefit of the doubt was instilled in me at a very young age, and so I forced myself to continue reading the information that followed:

“Please refer to “HELP AFTER A DISASTER,” the FEMA Applicant’s Guide, which was mailed to you after you applied for assistance. The section entitled “If You Are/Are Not Eligible for Help” (pages 6-9) explains the reasons which support our decision.”

So I did. I learned that “there was not enough damage to your home or property for you to qualify for this program.”


This is incomprehensible! It is inconceivable that our loss was viewed that way. We needed more information.

Dave telephoned FEMA Friday morning and was told that our inspector, who had been sent to investigate our claim, had made an error and that we would have to initiate the entire process all over again. The rep on the other end of the line seemed indifferent to our situation. Suffice it to say that the level of our frustration has definitely surpassed being more than just a minor inconvenience. It has been more than three months since Katrina; is there really this much ineptness at the government level?

Indefatigable, Dave searched for the phone number of our inspector and called him. He said that, no, he had filled out the paperwork correctly, but that for some reason the intake computer was inadvertently processing everyone’s form incorrectly. Is this incredible, or what? Obviously, this is not an isolated incident. How many people are being, for lack of a better word, screwed?

If we had an exorbitant income or had submitted an incomplete application or had been inconsistent in our record-keeping, we might chalk this experience up to being something that tests our integrity. But what we are asking for is not inappropriate.

We hope that someone can give us some insight as to why we are incapable of collecting disaster assistance. We have no home, and yet we instinctively feel obligated to pay the mortgage each month. We are honest people with the incentive to play by the rules. Is there anyone out there who can justify the incompetence? Obviously I was inclined to have some fun while writing this, but the question remains.

Posted by aalkon at December 6, 2005 8:58 AM

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Hey - you shouldn't be surprised that the computers don't work. After all, you've insisted that they be removed from the electoral process...

They had to go somewhere!

Posted by: Radwaste at December 6, 2005 4:22 PM

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