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Hurricane Isaac aftermath: Will FEMA have enough money? (+video)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could have to ask Congress for more money once hurricane Isaac cleanup costs become clear. Approval is likely, but not a given anymore.

Hurricane Isaac lingers, leaves soggy mess
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The US spent $141 billion for cleanup and recovery after hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

How much will hurricane Isaac cost?

While it is too early to know the answer, experts say it would not be surprising if the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) needs to ask Congress for more money once it assesses the damage from the storm.

“It would not surprise me at all,” says Albert Ashwood, former president of the National Emergency Management Association and the emergency management director of Oklahoma. “The potential is there – I know I talked to the Emergency Director of Arkansas, and they are very concerned about flooding.”

The total funding needs will depend on the amount of damage to public infrastructure. “The cost estimates come after the storm passes and officials can get people safely back to their homes,” says David Maurstad, a former FEMA regional administrator. “That’s a couple of weeks down the road.”

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says the agency is in good shape for the initial response to Isaac. “We are very healthy with those funds going into this storm,” said Mr. Fugate on CNN on Wednesday morning. “Unlike last year we had a lot of problems with that money, Congress and the president agreed to fully fund these accounts so going into this storm we’re in good shape for response.”

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