FEMA pulls disaster funds from the South to help the East Coast

Tropical Storm LeeThe Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that it will be freezing some of the disaster aid for the Southern U.S. in order to focus more resources on the East Coast to help the recovery effort in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Many Southern states are still struggling to recover from disastrous events earlier in the year. As Tropical Storm Lee surges through these states, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is looking for answers. Ahead of the storm, Nixon has issued a letter to FEMA challenging the agency to justify its move to freeze aid to Southern states.

Earlier this year, several catastrophic storms wrought havoc in Missouri and its surrounding states. The devastation of these events is most apparent in Joplin, Missouri, which was struck by an F-5 tornado late April. A sizeable portion of the small town was left in ruins and is now considered a representation for much of the year’s natural disasters.  Insurance companies have been laboring to restore some semblance of normalcy to many states impacted by recent storms, but Tropical Storm Lee’s coming does not bode well for an industry running short on capital.

Lee has already caused widespread flooding throughout much of the south and will continue to do so as it travels further inland. The storm is expected to pass through Missouri, adding to the state’s already costly problems. FEMA had initially planned to funnel funds into Southern states to help with recovery, but the agency decided to focus its efforts on the East Coast after the passing of Hurricane Irene. To date, the agency’s disaster fund has less than $1 billion, much of which is being withheld in the event of future disasters.

FEMA has yet to respond to Governor Nixon’s demands for answers. Officials say that a response will be issued in a timely manner.

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