FEMA’s Disasters

Washington Post reporters spent 2021 traversing the corners of the country most ravaged by natural disasters to find out if the government really has people’s backs in the long-term. The reporters conducted 300 interviews and several databases, filed dozens of records requests, and analyzed thousands of pages of individual Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) case records and other documents. What they found was that FEMA was regularly not providing help when it was needed for survivors of disasters. They chronicled the agency denying help to Black families living on land passed down since a generation after slavery, abandoning poor families without assistance for transitioning out of FEMA trailer parks as they shut down, and denying aid to 90% of disaster survivors, often for minor errors in their paperwork. This reporting led to major process changes at FEMA to directly address these issues, and bipartisan legislation currently working its way through Congress.