TIME MAGAZINE REVEALS: New Orleans, It's Worse Than You Think
Sun Nov 20 2005 09:01:52 ET
$62.3 Billion in Federal Hurricane Relief Funds Mostly Unspent - More Than $37.5 Billion Still Sitting in FEMA's Account, Waiting For a Purpose, TIME Reports
Federal Emergency Management Agency 'Awash in Money,' As Agency Announces End of Emergency Housing Program Dec. 1
Only 60,000 People Staying Overnight These Days in New Orleans
Still Finding Bodies in New Orleans -- 30 in Past Month
New York - They're still finding bodies 13 weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit-30 in the past month-raising the death toll to 1,053 in Louisiana, TIME's Cathy Booth-Thomas reports from New Orleans. The looters are still working too, brazenly taking their haul in daylight. But at night darkness falls, and it's quiet. It's spooky out there. There's no life, says cardiologist Pat Breaux, who lives near Pontchartrain with only a handful of neighbors. The destruction, says Breaux, head of the Orleans Parish Medical Society, depresses people. Suicides are up citywide, he say, although no one has a handle on the exact number. Murders, on the other hand, have dropped to almost none.
Delays and squabbles in the recovery efforts mean that Congress's $62.3 billion largesse has mostly gone unspent. More than half-$37.5 billion-is sitting in FEMA's account, waiting for a purpose. Under fire for being slow to respond, the Bush Administration had rushed two emergency supplemental bills to Congress with little thought about how the money would be spent and how fast. Now FEMA is awash in money, says a Democratic appropriations aide. Of the nearly $25 billion assigned to projects, checks totaling only about $6.2 billion have been cashed. As a result, a third supplemental-funding bill sent to Congress suggests taking back $2.3 billion in aid. Mayor Ray Nagin attempted to shore up support for the city's recovery before Congress last week, but he came home with little new. The comment of a G.O.P. aide was typical: We want to see them helping themselves before they ask us for help, TIME reports.