Trump’s FEMA Shorted Puerto Rico Food Aid by 99.9% As American Citizens Starved
Chilling Insight Into How Trump Dysfunction Can Cost Lives
Puerto Rico is still suffering the effects of Hurricane Maria — which made landfall on the island on September 20, 2017 — in ways unimaginable for citizens of the world’s second wealthiest nation. While the continental states impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are likewise struggling in their respective recoveries, the situation on the ground in Puerto Rico is so dire and accurate information so hard to ascertain that media outlets have taken their fight to the courts to demand statistical updates on casualties caused by the storm and its aftermath. And a recent report on just how poorly the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has operated under President Donald Trump is beginning to show exactly why the territory is borderline apocalyptic.
FEMA tapped Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur with no experience in large-scale disaster relief and at least five canceled government contracts in her past. FEMA awarded her $156 million for the job, and Ms. Brown, who is the sole owner and employee of her company, Tribute Contracting LLC, set out to find some help.
The report states that Brown, in turn, procured the services of an 11-person wedding catering company in Atlanta to cook up 30 million meals to deliver to Puerto Rico.
Sham Contract Was ‘A Logistical Nightmare’ For Puerto Rico
When a self-employed career-contract-bidder and a local wedding event staff are tasked with feeding a storm-ravaged island of over 3.5 million people, what can possibly go wrong?
Apparently, everything. The Times notes:
By the time 18.5 million meals were due, Tribute had delivered only 50,000. And FEMA inspectors discovered a problem: The food had been packaged separately from the pouches used to heat them. FEMA’s solicitation required “self-heating meals.”
“Do not ship another meal. Your contract is terminated,” Carolyn Ward, the FEMA contracting officer who handled Tribute’s agreement, wrote to Ms. Brown in an email dated Oct. 19 that Ms. Brown provided to The New York Times. “This is a logistical nightmare.”
It’s more than a “logistical nightmare”, Ms. Ward. It’s a human tragedy caused by complete and total incompetence.
Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
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Ed Hanratty is a Reverb Press contributor and freelance political journalist. A lifelong New Jerseyan, he prides himself on having just enough Garden State sarcasm and skepticism to keep his bleeding heart in check. Keep up with Ed’s work and random ramblings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the links below…but not Snapchat — that’s where he’s decided to draw the social media line. (For Now)