President Obama has received generally high marks for his response, as has New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but in areas hardest hit by Sandy, the thicket of rules and regulations governing relief efforts are, once again, turning the afflicted against the agency. On election day, Long Island drive-time radio hosts “Chaz and AJ” laid into FEMA spokesman Rita Egan for the agency’s lumbering response in Connecticut and New York, starting their interview with a rather blunt question: Isn’t FEMA embarrassed by its response to the crisis?
And it’s not hard to find other disillusioned Sandy victims. The Newark Star-Ledger wasn’t worried about Sandy’s victims being mistakenly overpaid, but wondered if they would get any financial relief: “Homeowners looking to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance to rebuild their homes are learning they won’t get the immediate aid they expected. And maybe no aid at all.” As another storm bared down on New York, local media in New York jumped on reports that some FEMA relief offices had closed “due to weather,” leaving local residents who rely on the agency’s food distribution centers out of luck. Others slammed FEMA’s clumsy response to ongoing fuel shortages.