- Delivering Truth Around the World
Custom Search

Anger as Hurricane Sandy victims have to pay back emergency aid with interest

David Millward, US Correspondent

Smaller Font Larger Font RSS 2.0

May 1, 2015

Thousands of families whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy are being ordered to repay some of the compensation they received from the government.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is not only demanding interest on what it says were overpayments, but Washington is ready to call in debt collectors to recoup the cash.

That is not the only blow faced by families whose lives were devastated by the October 2012 hurricane which claimed 117 lives in the US and caused an estimated $50 billion (£32.5 billion) damage.

FEMA has, under pressure from senators, started investigating allegations that engineers’ reports into the damage suffered by home owners were deliberately doctored to deny victims insurance payouts.

It is a fresh blow to an agency whose reputation was severely tarnished by its response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“When we first started digging we just didn’t believe what our constituents were telling us,” said Jason Tuber, a senior aide to Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who has taken up the cudgels on behalf of the victims.

“I didn’t believe they could be screwing things up so badly."

But it turned out that things were even worse than thought.

“I have been working in government for 10 years and this is the most egregious thing we have come across.”