FEMA auctioned off disaster-response trailers days before Harvey’s landfall


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) auctioned off more than 100 disaster-response trailers at discounted prices just days before Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, The Associated Press reported on Saturday.

The 2017 model trailers were reportedly being sold either without problems, or with only minor damage, such as with missing furniture or flat tires.

More than 300 of the trailers have been auctioned off since the beginning of the year.

{mosads}“The ones you will hear about being auctioned are the used models that we’ve determined it’s not cost-effective to refurbish. We’re very rigid and strict about what we’ll refurbish and it’s got to be something that quite frankly any one of us would be comfortable living in and willing to put our families into,” said Michael Byrne, the agency’s federal disaster recovery coordinator for Harvey, according to AP.

FEMA is running dangerously low on the trailers, which provide housing to disaster victims, AP reported. The agency has a standing fleet of just 1,700 units, and has put out bids for 4,500 more.

Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, called the auctions an “unfortunate decision” in a statement to the AP.

“There’s a vast chasm between what they can supply and what is actually needed,” Redlener said.

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