Overcast 33° Good Afternoon
Overcast 33° Good Afternoon

Will FEMA never learn from experience?

People clean up debris from a destroyed home

People clean up debris from a destroyed home on Shore Road in Lindenhurst on Nov. 4, 2012 in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The litany of post-Sandy compensation problems seems endless. Did we learn nothing from the aftermath of Katrina?

A federal watchdog found more than 29,000 Sandy victims awarded $250 million by the Federal Emergency Management Agency might have gotten duplicate private insurance payouts for the same losses, which is against federal law. Among the unsurprising things exposed here: Some people will cheat; some people legitimately don't know the law; and FEMA, by relying on victims' self-reporting, can't catch either.

Also, it turns out FEMA is woefully behind in reviewing flood insurance claims thought to be underpaid because of such factors as faulty engineering reports. This despite the agency's explicit promise of a streamlined process when it started the work in May. Now, twice as many adjusters are working seven days a week to speed things up.

FEMA must learn from experience once and for all, so we stop following natural disasters with man-made ones.