FEMA’s emergency funds are almost drained
Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma stretch agency’s budget.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will have exhausted its total relief funds by Friday.
In a joint statement released yesterday, US Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson revealed the US government’s national disaster response funds would be depleted before Hurricane Irma reaches the mainland this weekend.
“As of right now, FEMA is scheduled to run out of money by Friday, September 8, just two days before Hurricane Irma is expected to hit Florida,” the pair said in their collective statement.
“Unfortunately, the current disaster relief package Congress is considering for Hurricane Harvey doesn’t account for the additional costs FEMA will likely incur as a result of Hurricane Irma.”
The Floridian Senators added that, according to FEMA, even with a supplemental aid package for Hurricane Harvey, national emergency funding is likely to be tapped out before the end of the month.
The US Department of Homeland Security’s subsidiary agency saw funding plummet by $2.14 billion last week to just $1.01 billion as of Tuesday. These figures were first reported by Bloomberg and confirmed by NBC News.
The Budget Control Act 2011 created an allowable adjustment specifically to cover disaster relief. The Congressional Research Service reveals the limit on adjustments to caps is based on average funding provided for disaster relief over the previous ten years. If Congress spends less than that average on disaster relief in a given fiscal year, the caps can be further adjusted upward by the unspent amount in the following year.
However, given there has been a rise in the number of extreme weather events in recent years, federal spending on disaster relief has increased substantially.
FEMA’s relief funds cover emergency shelters, search and rescue operations and also provide individual assistance to those affected post-disaster, providing money for food, gas and other essentials.
For a checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips and weather alerts from the National Weather Service, you can download the FEMA mobile app. Additionally, visit www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov for severe weather and hurricane preparedness information resources.