Katrina, Sandy, Harvey and…
Hurricane Harvey, and now Irma and what may follow, remind us of the integral role in recovery that the federal government plays, primarily through disaster relief funding and its administration. With Katrina there was negative critique of both the federal government’s initial response to the disaster and the subsequent lack of accountability for how aid dollars were spent by recipients in the aftermath. Regarding the latter it’s been suggested that Katrina aid dollars were free-flowing as an over-compensation for the federal government’s initial mishandling of the disaster.
With Sandy, in what seems to have been a counter-over-compensation, access to federal aid dollars was mired in excessive process resulting in long delays in receiving aid and in some cases unfulfilled assistance; at least here in NJ. No taxpayer wants to see public monies wasted, but experientially, the Sandy process for many compounded post-storm pain rather than helping to relieve it.
Our country is now faced with the need to respond to multiple, major natural disasters. Let’s hope the administration of federal disaster relief aid finds that sweet-spot; swift administration with the required amount of recipient accountability; somewhere between the Katrina and Sandy experiences.
— Robert Long
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