FEMA gave away supplies donated for Katrina victims


KATY RECKDAHL
The Houston Chroncile
June 22, 2008

In March, the Federal Emergency Management Agency gave away $85 million of donated items and household supplies originally intended for Katrina victims.

The Louisiana agency that deals with government surplus was offered the goods but turned them down.

“Somewhere in this big bureaucracy, links weren’t made,” said Adam Sharp, spokesman for Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., whose office is scrambling to track FEMA’s discards and possibly reroute them to UNITY of Greater New Orleans, which desperately needs goods for formerly homeless people it has placed in apartments.

“If the supplies just have been moved from one warehouse to another, we hope to get some of them moved back to FEMA so that they can be reoffered to Louisiana and given to UNITY,” he said.

For about two years, the goods were stored in one of FEMA’s main emergency-supply warehouses, a 280,000-square-foot building in Fort Worth, according to FEMA’s acting press secretary, James McIntyre. When the owner decided to demolish that warehouse earlier this year, FEMA staff went through and tagged unnecessary items.

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