Chaffetz Demands Information from FEMA over Failed Flood Recovery Efforts

Published: Feb 23, 2017

Letter requests information related to death of flood survivor due to apparent faulty MHU

WASHINGTON – Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requesting documents regarding flood recovery efforts and a death resulting from a possible faulty Mobile Home Unit (MHU).

Recently, committee staff returned to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to continue oversight of the recovery efforts. After meeting with government officials, survivors, and businesses, staff discovered various problems with FEMA’s handling of recovery efforts.

Excerpts from the letter:

“During the initial visit, committee staff found that three weeks after the flood, only one survivor was living in an MHU, despite FEMA having over 110 MHUs sitting on a local lot and 1,300 in their national inventory. …

“Committee staff also identified issues related to deployed and occupied MHUs. In one instance, according to an autopsy report, an elderly man was discovered deceased in an overheated MHU.

“When local authorities inspected the MHU, they discovered temperatures over 137.9 degrees Fahrenheit with the air conditioning and heating control unit reading 50 degrees Fahrenheit. …

“In addition to this tragic incident, committee staff learned of other problems relating to the deployment of the units, including one instance in which FEMA delivered an MHU to a deceased individual. In another example, FEMA delivered an MHU to the wrong address, only to drop it in a ditch when the agency finally delivered it to the correct address six months after the flood. …”

Full text of the letter can be viewed here.

Background:

Committee staff visited Baton Rouge shortly after the August 2016 flood. In September 2016, the Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets held a hearing on recovery efforts, which highlighted the extraordinary efforts of private citizens in the immediate rescue and charitable efforts, the cost and pace of the deployment of MHUs, and the implementation of the Shelter at Home program.

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