Russ Buettner, Heidi Evans, Robert Gearty, Brian Kates, Greg B. Smith and Richard T. Pienciak of the Daily News in New York used FEMA data to show that the federal government's $21.4 billion program to help New York recover from the 9/11 terrorist attacks was dreadfully flawed. "New Yorkers by the tens of thousands received free air conditioners, air purifiers and other clean-air devices in such an illogical pattern that the toxic plume from the smoldering World Trade Center would have had to travel like a wild tornado, arbitrarily touching down here and there throughout the city." The size and scope of abuse in the FEMA-funded program dwarfs any fraud and misuse allegations that have surfaced in disaster aid programs for hurricanes in Florida, wildfires in California and floods in Detroit. The paper found that air conditioners and the other devices were awarded to people living in buildings with central air, in buildings where the windows did not open and in locales where scientific evidence showed there was no environmental impact.
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