Sup­plies re­moved right be­fore storm

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NEWS - BLOOMBERG NEWS

The Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency’s ware­house on Puerto Rico was full of sup­plies for an event just like Hur­ri­cane Maria: a quar­ter-mil­lion meals, 190,000 gal­lons of wa­ter, 4,422 cots and 13,272 tarps.

But a new re­port says FEMA of­fi­cials re­moved most of those sup­plies just days be­fore Maria hit, send­ing them to the U.S. Vir­gin Is­lands, which had just been struck by Hur­ri­cane Irma. By Sept. 15, FEMA had taken out 90 per­cent of the bot­tled wa­ter, 61 per­cent of the meals and 100 per­cent of the tarps and cots from its ware­house.

Five days later, Maria struck Puerto Rico, clos­ing its ports and pre­vent­ing FEMA from ship­ping sup­plies back to the is­land.

That find­ing is tucked among the de­tails con­tained in the “Af­ter-Ac­tion Re­port” re­leased by the agency Thurs­day night.

The re­port ex­am­ines the mis­takes FEMA made be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter last year’s his­toric storms, and makes rec­om­men­da­tions for pre­vent­ing a re­peat of those mis­takes. Many of the mis­steps re­late to the agency’s fail­ure to an­tic­i­pate the sever­ity of last year’s hur­ri­canes.

The re­port rec­om­mends that FEMA in­crease the amount of sup­plies it stocks out­side the con­ti­nen­tal U.S., as well as de­vel­op­ing “a more com­pre­hen­sive un­der­stand­ing of lo­cal, re­gional and na­tional sup­ply chains.”

A spokesman for FEMA, Jenny Burke, said the agency has since vastly in­creased its sup­ply of ma­te­ri­als on Puerto Rico. That in­cludes 35 times as much bot­tled wa­ter, 43 times as many tarps and 16 times as many meals as were stocked on the is­land at the start of last year’s hur­ri­cane sea­son.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.