Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Call From FEMA


FEMA Claim Number On Wrecked Home, Pearlington, MS.

"This is an automated message from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, please stay on the line to listen to this important announcement. This call is to confirm that FEMA has reviewed your application, and determined that your damaged property resides within one of the hardest hit areas. As a result, an inspection of your property will not be necessary. You should expect to receive a letter in the mail which will provide your application status within the next few weeks. If your phone number or mailing address changes please be sure to immediately update your information online at www.fema.gov or by calling us at 800-621-FEMA. Thank you for listening, this has been an automated courtesy response from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Goodbye."

The rumor is that FEMA is so overwhelmed with the number of claims that they have given up on inspections altogether, and are now resorting to satellite photos to determine aid distribution. The eyes in the sky. Manna from heaven.

On the plus side for FEMA, they don't have to actually meet any of the homeless survivors that now view them as fondly as moonshiners view revenuers.

9 comments:

j. said...

My mom recently got a call from FEMA telling her that she qualifies for a "travel camper" that she can put on her property, which will allow her to finally move out of her friend's house, two months after the storm. They may be calling your mom to tell her the same thing. Honestly, though, at least for the time being, your mom may be better off where she is now.

Steve said...

Clayton,
So is your Momma goin back, or is she gonna stay in North Carolina? I've got friends from N.O. now in iowa that have decided to stay put for the next ten years or so; their situation is a heckuva lot better off than it was in in Nola. Just wondering what your Mom thought about moving back.

missbhavens said...

My honey got one of those automated calls, which kind of freaked me out because although his house shares a zip code with the Lower 9th, it sits on the other side of the river and only sustained bad roof damage. Now, it would be terrific if FEMA helped him fix his roof, but I found it so alarming that they were willing to hand over a chunk of change equal to the $$ given to someone who lost their home altogether, based solely on a zip code (not even a fly-by!). Not exactly the most efficient way to distribute funds. I wasn't surprised, but still.

Finally, just the other day, a live FEMA person physically inspected his house, and my I feel a lot better about the whole thing.

Kate said...

One of my friends got a similiar call from their insurance company. Because their house was in Mid-City, they got a blanket amount based on the assumed damage with no need for an inspection. Another friend had parked her car in the neutral ground and it got trashed and her insurance company just sent her a check based on the satellite image. It was an old truck, so she didn't get much, but at least she didn't have to go through a big hassle to get it.

None of my friends have been able to go back yet either. Rents have gone up like crazy in the city since there are so few undamaged apartments. The profiteering is sick, but it fits into the overall pattern these days. Sad sad sad. I have friends in Texas, New Mexico, here in Illinois, and in Louisiana, just away from New Orleans. It's tragic.

Schroeder said...

"This is an automated message from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, please stay on the line to listen to this important announcement. So, you're screwed ey? We're working as hard as we can giving out juicy contracts to our friends and finding places to eat lunch. If we hear any news, we'll be sure to give you a call. Until then, we wish you the best of luck."

The Creative Death said...

How exactly do they intend to 'mail you a letter' if there is no fucking house to mail it to? Seriously...thats just idiotic.

Josh Norman said...

It is hard to hate on FEMA.
I have written several stories for my paper on them and talked to dozens of reps and officials, and, for me, it is hard to get away from the fact that they are just people trying as hard as they can.
Truth be told, as hard as they try, it cannot be good enough.
The biggest thing to hate here is the bureaucratic machine, and for that, there is no center or head of focal point at which to place blame.
I wish I could hate them. When I applied for assistance to help me move my shit from my condemned apartment complex, I got that message. That was over a month ago, and I've gone out of pocket now to help myself in my "recovery." I do not expect any help from them, and those that have done the best recovering here in Mississippi after the storm also have decided to not wait for them.
Of course, those of us who don't wait are largely fortunate enough to have the means, however modest, to not wait.
But, I have met many who are poorer than dirt and are just doing what they can.
Point is, I don't know what to do. I just feel like it is a little too easy to point at FEMA and say, "Hey, look at those fuckups! Must be the republican's fault. Must be the fault of patronage. Must be the fault of laziness, incompetency, arrogance."
It's just not though. It's just not that simple.
Every aid agency fucks up. (I love cursing. If you don't, feel free to delete this or ask me to edit it.)
If it weren't for FEMA we'd either have the self-righteousness of the Salvation Army and other faith-based relief groups or the cooky and untrustworthy Red Cross to rely on.
And I guess I don't know what else to say.
www.dancingwithkatrina.blogspot.com

thatfarmgirl said...

We have no one to rely on but ourselves. That is why I always say if you CAN help, you SHOULD help. One person at a time, we can all make a difference. Thank goodness for the churches and the Salvation Army and the little community-based drives, etc., because those are the people who've made the biggest difference here.

Cher57 said...

HE AIN'T HEAVY HE'S MY BROTHER..LEAN ON ME..UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL..WE MUST HELP EACH OTHER GET THROUGH THIS.SOMETHINGS ARE GETTING BETTER HERE BUT A NUMBER OF THINGS ARE NOT,AND NEVER WILL.THE 9TH WARD AND THE LOWER 9TH WARD WILL NEVER BE THE SAME WHICH COULD BE A GOOD THING FOR THE PEOPLE.IT IS OUR CHANCE TO START OVER AS A MUCH BETTER PLACE FOR ALL THE PEOPLE.