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What Happened to the Katrina Supplies?

Posted by blazzin on July 22, 2008

According to Cnn.com

“Federal officials vastly overestimated the value of hurricane relief supplies given away earlier this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency reported Monday.

Debra Reed lived in a tent after Katrina and says she needed the supplies given away by FEMA.

Debra Reed lived in a tent after Katrina and says she needed the supplies given away by FEMA.

The General Services Administration, which manages federal property, over-counted cases of toilet paper, plastic sporks and other cutlery, by mistakenly counting a single item as being worth as much as multiple items contained in a package of goods.

The original GSA estimate of $85 million should have been $18.5 million, according to figures released by GSA and FEMA.

The household goods were supposed to go to people whose homes were destroyed by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. But the items were stored in warehouses in Louisiana, and then Fort Worth, Texas. A recent CNN investigative story exposed that those materials never made it to storm victims.

GSA officials were asked recently to reassess the total cost of donated items in what the agency called a routine audit.

“In doing so, it was determined that some of the unit costs were ‘eaches’ and others were ‘for-case’ lots. The final adjustments reveal there was a significant overstatement in the total asset valuation,” GSA officials reported to FEMA, which released the findings Monday.

For example, each spork was assigned the value of an entire case, inflating the original estimated value of the supplies a thousandfold to $36 million from $36,000. Packs of toilet paper originally estimated to be worth $1.5 million dropped to about $18,000, and plastic cutlery kits, from $6.3 million to about $25,000.

“The actual total value of the surplus property was determined to be approximately $18.5 [million], and this figure was validated by both FEMA and the GSA Office of Personal Property Management,” FEMA told CNN in an e-mail.

GSA spokeswoman Viki Reath said Monday she would investigate whether it is unusual for the agency to make such a large accounting mistake.

The agency told CNN in February that the value of the FEMA items was about $85 million.

Source .. Cnn

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