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Watchdog Slams FEMA for Puerto Rico Hurricane Response

  • Agency faulted for lack of preparedness and adequate staff
  • Report says identify-theft scheme flourished in wake of storms
A vehicle drives through streets filled with floodwater near destroyed homes from Hurricane Maria in Barrio Obrero in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sept. 25, 2017.

A vehicle drives through streets filled with floodwater near destroyed homes from Hurricane Maria in Barrio Obrero in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sept. 25, 2017.

Photographer: Alex Wroblewski/Bloomberg
Updated on

The federal government’s chief watchdog slammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to the hurricane that killed thousands of people in Puerto Rico last year, saying it was unprepared and failed to deploy enough qualified staff.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office’s report issued Tuesday said FEMA struggled with a record year for disasters on the mainland and Puerto Rico. Overall, the agency failed to adequately house disaster victims, distribute financial assistance in a timely fashion or do enough to prevent fraud.