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State politicians frustrated at FEMA's slow flood response

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BATON ROUGE - As state politicians countinue to fight for funding, many are saying they're dissatisfied with the time it's taking FEMA to get resources to families.

"This isn't the first time we've had a disaster," Congressman Garret Graves told News Two's Brett Buffington. "It's not the first disaster we've had in Louisiana. They need to have better systems in place to more efficiently get people answers."

Graves says he's frustrated because thousand of people have been asking questions, and they are going unanswered.

"The fact that they can come out in two weeks and blame this entire flood on climate change," Graves explained, "yet can't give us answers on if someone is eligible for financial assistance, can't cut them a check on flood insurance, and other things? Absolutely unacceptable.

Newly released numbers show a clear sign of shockingly slow federal response. FEMA's holding site in North Baton Rouge is storing 198 modular housing units, which started rolling in nearly 3 weeks ago. As of Wednesday, 893 applicants have been approved for the homes, but only 12 are being used.

"They're apparently spendin gup to $20 thousand per trailer just to ship it down from North Carolina," Graves said. "There are trailer dealers here in Louisiana, travel trailers and other trailers. There are more efficient ways to do this."

Graves also suggested any money wasted now would only hurt the Baton Rouge area in the future, saying "the cost of inaction is not free."

Graves, along with the Louisiana Delegation, is pressuring for policy that would put long-term federal funding in place to stop the worst flooding disaster in our nation's history from getting even worse.

"If congress does not step in," Graves said, "if the White House does not step in, you are going to see mas foreclosure and bankruptcies, mortgages backed by the federal government, Fannie May, Freddie Mack, FHA, VA, and others. This is going to be a federal liability one way or another."

Graves added mass bankrupcies would trickle down to falling property values. He says that could mean trouble for some of Baton Rouge's biggest assets, like education and law enforcement.

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