Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Report: Big-box stores beat FEMA in disaster relief

“Communities seeking relief after natural disasters are more likely to find it in the aisles of their local Wal-Mart than in the federal government, according to a report issued last week.”

“Private organizations such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and other so-called “big box” stores provided more supplies and relief than the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the days immediately after Hurricane Katrina, George Mason University’s Mercatus Center said in a report released March 20. Local store managers took advantage of their autonomy and moved quickly to reopen after the storm and distribute supplies — sometimes for free, and often without the permission of superiors. One Wal-Mart employee in Kenner, La., broke through a warehouse door with a forklift to get water for a nearby retirement home, the report said.”

“But at the bureaucratically stymied FEMA, supply purchases and shipments were tied up in red tape, and offers of help from other parties were turned down for fear of liability issues.”

“But at the bureaucratically stymied FEMA, supply purchases and shipments were tied up in red tape, and offers of help from other parties were turned down for fear of liability issues.”

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