LRA Leads State Charge to Direct FEMA Supplies to Louisiana Nonprofit Organizations
Requests that Unused FEMA Goods in Federal Possession Be Returned to Louisiana to Aid Hurricane Victims
BATON ROUGE, La. (June 12, 2008) – The Louisiana Recovery Authority will lead all state efforts to put FEMA goods in the hands of nonprofit organizations assisting victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to ensure that such goods do not go unused in the future, the state announced Thursday.
Further, the state requests that any of these goods that were intended to help disaster victims in Louisiana but were marked as surplus and remain unused be returned to Louisiana.
Media reports this week revealed that $85 million worth of FEMA supplies meant for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita sat unused in a warehouse in Texas and were ultimately marked as surplus goods and given to other states. Many of these items are believed to be household goods that could help residents moving out of FEMA trailers re-establish their homes.
Many of the items were given to other states, but some were marked as surplus and given to federal agencies.
“I spoke to FEMA leadership again today and we are working to route as many supplies as possible to our state. These supplies that the federal government has could benefit victims of the hurricanes should be returned to Louisiana,” said Paul Rainwater, LRA Executive Director. “We cannot afford to let this type of failure in coordination happen again, and moving forward we will increase the coordination between the levels of government and nonprofit organizations to put these kinds of resources to better use.”
The state’s new protocol for handling such FEMA supplies will be:
- OVERSIGHT: The LRA will have oversight of ensuring that federal supplies that are either in FEMA’s possession today or were given to the U.S. General Services Administration for excess purposes meant for victims of Katrina and Rita are dispersed to agencies and nonprofit organizations assisting these people. The LRA will be the lead agency in working with GSA or FEMA when property becomes available that could assist disaster victims with their recovery.
- COORDINATION: The LRA will select a nonprofit organization to formally survey groups working with victims of the hurricanes about their needs for physical supplies. In July, the state will submit this list of unmet resources to FEMA and GSA.
- TRAINING: To ensure that nonprofit organizations and volunteer agencies working with hurricane victims can access federal supplies in the future, the LRA will work with federal and state agencies to coordinate outreach sessions statewide to educate nonprofits about how to access these supplies in the future.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, claiming 1,464 lives, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.