FEMA Spent $75M On A Half-Empty Cruise Ship After Hurricane Maria

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FEMA spent $75 million to rent half-empty cruise line that used less than half of the onboard housing capacity to shelter the survivors.

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It’s been a year since Puerto Rico was struck by the devastating Hurricane Maria. After being hit by the by Category 4 hurricane, many people on the Caribbean island are still living in dire conditions without any water and electricity.

To make matters worse, FEMA spent a magnanimous amount of money to rent a cruise ship to lodge federal aid workers. There’s just one problem, this ship was never more than half-full. 

The federal government signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Carnival Corporation to take their help for housing federal aid workers and first responders on the company's cruise ship. Over the first four months of relief efforts, FEMA paid Carnival $75 million to rent the cruise from mid-October to early February. At the time, the agency reportedly disbursed less than $70 million to Puerto Ricans storm survivors for rebuilding their homes.

So the cruise ended getting more money and it hosted less than half the federal workers mentioned in the agreement.

“Only later in March — about a month and a half after the Carnival agreement expired — did FEMA dollars disbursed to residents catch up with the contract,” documents obtained by Miami-based radio station show.

This deal is just one of the examples that goes to show how millions of dollars spent for hurricane relief efforts don’t actually reach the intended people in due time and with consistency.

FEMA spending more than half a million on the  Panama-based cruise line known as “floating hotel” that didn’t even provide consistent floating shelter to federal workers, comes at a time when a new report estimates that almost 5000 citizens died as a result of the hurricane.

Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters

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