FEMA Tiptoes Away From EKY

Photo by Justin Hicks Woman looks through mounds of paperwork

In late April, Kentucky journalist Justin Hicks released two news pieces weeks in the making. Many eastern Kentucky flood survivors logged into the FEMA Portal to find their appeal closed with no decision. His investigation began with a simple question: is there a deadline for FEMA appeals? 

Hicks spent weeks interviewing eastern Kentucky flood survivors, speaking with recovery organizations across the country who work with FEMA, and examining FEMA regulations. What he found: FEMA often exits communities without publicizing deadlines. Hicks writes that FEMA said “they rely on the media to spread press releases about FEMA processes” but no press releases were issued.

Further, when Disaster Resource Project Director Whitney Bailey spoke about the deadline on WYMT and published an op-ed in The Herald-Leader a FEMA spokesperson contacted both media sources and asked them to retract the piece. 

Angeleigh Dorsey, Executive Director, said, "This is heartbreaking and entirely avoidable. Sadly, this will not be eastern Kentucky's last natural disaster. Disaster relief and recovery necessitate transparency and accountability. Eastern Kentuckians deserve better."

To read or listen to Hicks' stories please click the links below or scan the QR codes.

QR codes

Photo Credit: Justin Hicks.

Last updated on .

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