Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are touting a first-of-its-kind “Rapid Repairs” program as speeding aid to Superstorm Sandy victims in New York City. But ask a resident still awaiting help, and the response, more often than not, is: Repairs? What repairs?
“Nobody communicates anything to you,” said Joe Casale, who lives in Breezy Point with his wife and three sons, according to an NBC report. “I have to keep on calling up and busting people’s chops to find out what’s going on. It’s ridiculous. It’s not rapid for one. We started up on Nov. 15, and they’re just getting around to us now. They held us back a good month I would say.”
Thousands of homeowners are still stranded from the late-October hurricane that swept through two dozen states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. FEMA’s response was widely criticized, as stories of cleanup scandals emerged — that a FEMA official stole an agency generator for personal use, that non-unionized utility crews were being ordered to stand down, to name a couple. And political watchers, meanwhile, noted the differences in media pressures to provide federal assistance between Sandy and the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, during President Bush’s administration.
Thursday, FEMA was reporting its success with its newly created Rapid Repairs program and said agency workers had already provided free utility repairs and restored service to almost 12,000 homes in New York City, and repairs were scheduled for another 1,900 homes.
To the estimated 7,000 still stranded, the numbers meant little, however.
NBC quoted a 45-year-old electrician characterizing the program as “nonexistent,” as he described his wife’s daily — and futile — visits to the local FEMA Rapid Repairs’ office. His wife, meanwhile, added that she has physically chased contractor trucks through the neighborhood and blocked off streets in order to question FEMA workers on the status of planned repairs.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Cheryl Chumley is a continuous news writer for The Washington Times. Previously, she was part of the start-up team for The Washington Times’ digital aggregation product, Times247. She’s also a 2008-2009 Robert Novak journalism fellow with The Phillips Foundation. She can be reached at email@example.com.
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
The young drop coverage to avoid higher premiums
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
A mother of three and a passionate conservative, Shirley Husar changes the game.
Join the Communities and submit your column in response to one written, or on something totally new and unique. We want to hear from you
An advocate against sexual trafficking and for victims, Holly Smith speaks out.
Health care reform, organized medicine, physician practice management, and patient care--a real time look at the challenges facing doctors and patients in America today.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc