With so much devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey the past weeks and the massive relief efforts mounted by the government, the resources of the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA) is already depleted. The projection is the funds of FEMA will run out by as early as Friday. The pressure is now on Congress to find new capital as another disaster storm Irma threatens to ravage Florida.
As of 10 am on Tuesday, the Disaster Relief Fund of FEMA had only $1.01 billion on hand. It pays for the disaster response and recovery activity. From the said remaining amount, just $541 million was “immediately available” for response and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Harvey. The information says a report by The Independent comes from a spokeswoman for FEMA who asked not to be named.
The $1.01 billion on Tuesday morning is less than half of the $2.14 billion still available on Thursday morning which translates to a spend rate of $9.3 million every hour, or about a huge amount of $155,000 a minute.
The trouble is the agency is expected to run out of funds just as category 5 hurricane Irma might hit the coast of Florida over the weekend.
Congress is being asked to urgently take action. The Trump administration has asked Congress for a fresh injection of almost $8 billion in additional funds. The House will go to a vote today on funding for Harvey. The Senate is also expected to act this week and will consider whether to add a suspension of the federal debt limit to the measure. The legislation is then expected to go back to the House.
For now, FEMA is limiting its spending to what it refers to as “immediate needs” including “life-saving, life-sustaining response efforts” for Harvey and Irma. The agency can also consider pulling money out of other projects. The problem is the country is not even at peak hurricane season yet.